I Drew A Thing

“be easy

take your time.

you are coming

home.

to yourself.”

– The becoming | Wing

As my family had all gone back to work/ school, I spent most of the day at home alone with my furry rock/ antidote/ dog. Just us. This was pure heaven, because it meant that at random points throughout the day I could just drop to the floor and be buried under a furry mass of overexcited labrador. It also meant I could just curl up on the sofa with him and let him sleep on me while I read my book. We listened to music, and he laid in the middle of the kitchen floor and wagged his tail while I sang at him as I slowly and shakily unloaded the dishwasher (because I didn’t want my parents to hit the ceiling with outrage when they got home and it wasn’t empty… because my brother – who doesn’t have anything that will never be fixed – couldn’t possibly do a chore).

I felt like doing something a little relaxing and creative after that (plus I was too out of breath to function), and I had been meaning to draw one of my mum’s childhood friends a picture for his 50th birthday (which was last month, but I wasn’t able to find time to draw), so I got my sketching pencils out of my wardrobe, grabbed some printer paper (it was all I had), and sat in the kitchen with the photo I wanted to draw on my phone screen. Drawing with my non-dominant (left) hand was a challenge only for a few seconds this time. An hour and a half later, I was left with something that would once have taken me 20 minutes with my right hand (that was my rule, I never drew for more than 20 minutes whether I finished a sketch or not), but I was actually pretty surprised by myself. I had surpassed my own expectations.

Then out of guilt, I sat on my bed and sorted out all the junk on ‘the other bedside table’ because my mum pointed out to me on the phone that she would get all upset if I didn’t and  I knew she didn’t need any stress after a day at work. I redirected my mail from university halls to here because I’d been meaning to do that for a while… And then as I sat down to sort out some uni stuff, the picture I had drawn caught my eye again. And don’t hate me or anything for saying this, but I felt a little good about what I had produced. For once, I felt I was good at something, that I hadn’t screwed something up. It was nowhere near the standard I could once produce, but I was satisfied with it enough to post it to the people who featured in it (one of whom is a TV/ film producer and author… so no pressure!) They can probably afford to have a much bigger, better sketch drawn by a professional artist, but since I was a young teenager I’ve always given drawings as gifts, and it was more the thought behind it that I felt counted. Anyway, the whole thing reminded me why I had loved to draw.

“You could have charged good money for that!” My mum said (this has given me an idea of how to independently raise the money needed to buy a puppy).

“Brilliant. You don’t have to tell me who it is, there’s no question.” The man I call Dad said (it was nowhere near brilliant, but his approval of me means way more than it should do, even though I no longer even attempt to seek it, so his words essentially sent my mood into the stratosphere, and made my cheeks flush hot with embarrassment because his praise was significantly misplaced).

I didn’t really know how to react. I’m not really very good with compliments, mostly because I never feel I deserve them. I’m my own worst critic. But I remembered then, I remembered why drawing always used to be my escape – because I could erase any mistakes, I could control what appeared on the paper. And I wasn’t bad at it. The plain piece of paper was a world I could control. I could shut myself off into my own world and lose myself in the relaxation of drawing. There are no bullies on the paper, no criticism other than that I generate for myself, no shouting, no inability is evident when I look back at the sketches I used to produce… Drawing makes me feel good about myself, which I know is selfish and probably misplaced of me, but it was so refreshing. And so weird. I could never be proud of myself, but for a couple of hours, I wasn’t ashamed. 

Realising that my left hand has the potential to at some point do what my right one used to in my early teenage years, has really motivated me to keep at it. I plan to draw as often as I can, maybe not every day, but certainly at least once a week – practicing should develop the skill I wish to rebuild. A couple of people offered a bigger fee than I was expecting for me to draw them some stuff, after I broke my own rule a couple of months ago (on the day I taught myself to draw with my left hand) and posted the one and only picture of one of my drawings I will ever post (half complete, still sketchy and improperly shaded) to social media in a moment of being drunk on the happiness of achieving something (mostly to prove wrong the significant number of people who are my ‘friends’ on social media, that told me I’d never be able to draw well with my left hand).

There was only one person with whom to celebrate the achievement, and he had four legs, floppy ears, huge canine teeth, and a wagging tail. Then I settled again, read my book, and managed to avoid screwing up for the next few hours because my family were somewhat distracted by the drawing.

Today I did’t fall short. I stayed out of the way and I am still in a separate room from the rest of my family typing this post, attempting to finish the article I’m trying to write now that I’ve started saying yes to stuff, thinking about an amazing family on the other side of the ocean, preparing to dive back into my book (after finding my dog and having a long cuddle) and still not acknowledging the things that can’t be fixed. I feel alone, but that’s why I’m blogging, and why I need to find my dog (oh wait he must be able to hear my thoughts, he’s just found me and demanded a hug. I love. This dog. So much.)

Today I felt more at home in myself than I have since I was in a boat/ a twelve year old jogging around our neighbourhood with my dog (etc.). I am slightly less ashamed of myself and I hope it sticks because I like it here and I don’t want to go back to where things have been going.

Good job I redirected my mail.

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