02 December, 2019

update; this space, this place

Truly, life is passing at an unexpected rate these days.

This mantra is getting pretty old, but time does feel like it's flying faster than it used to. Maybe it's because I do more things now. Maybe it's because I am, overall, much happier than I used to be. Maybe it's because I'm getting older.

I am in a slow process of looking at this blog and reevaluating what I want for it. For a short period of time, I considered abandoning it altogether - I am growing past the need for intense online documentation, especially in a space that is only kind of in front of people. I don't see the need to separate my honest thoughts and/or struggles from people in my life anymore and often post the things I used to post here onto my regular social media.
I had been putting off going through my old content to organize tags and things like that, considering how much of what's here is low key triggering. There are photos of people who are no longer in my life, or welcomed back. This blog has spanned a huge chunk of my conscious memories, which is one of the reasons why I have decided to continue keeping it.
It's odd to consider that I would keep something for the exact same reason I would have abandoned it in the past. I really am growing.

Over the next few weeks I'll be planning what kind of content I'd like to keep posting here, in 2020. I'd have had this blog for 8 years next year, which is more than I've ever even lived in one place. I would like to keep things in my life in a way that I've never done before.

The old tag system was inefficient, and a bit silly. I redid it once but it was even more inefficient and sillier than the first. I don't think I ever thought I would manage to keep this around for so long. I spent a lot of time starting and abandoning new ways of recording my life. I think I'll be starting a new system once again, but this time I'd like to be much more intentional with longevity in mind. I'd like to keep this blog for as long as I can. Perhaps if I ever move from Blogger I can just migrate all the content over to another system.

Another thing I'd like to start doing is posting long form content here about the different mental health things that I am doing. At this point, I have been in fairly consistent therapy for about 2 years, and the different things that I am learning and posting about on other social media has been useful for other people but I have only been posting them as momentary things. Social posts are timely. I'd like to archive my own journey in a way that is easier to look back on.
I enjoy the learning and unlearning process, even though it puts me through the appropriate amount of pain. I enjoy sharing my learning and unlearning process, although I'm afraid that there will be a time when I finally encounter people who will react negatively to my sharing. It would be unbelievable that I've only encountered positive feedback up until this point - if it weren't true. Which it is. For the amount of fear I had about sharing, this has been a spectacular success. Surely it wouldn't be this way outside my regular bubble, if so many people fear it in the same way. I'm not sure. We'll approach this experiment together!

When these current editions of Articulation and Amelioration sell out I'll be putting copies online, perhaps under a password. I'm still very weary of the idea of spreading this work. Eventually I would like to get some help to get them translated and self publish hardcover copies. I'm also thinking about a third, since I've worked on myself so dramatically over the past year, but it's something that's still in it's infancy and there's a pressure about it that I can't really work through yet. Maybe the wounds I'd like to have in the third haven't really healed over yet. I'm not sure, but I'll work it out.

It's a good way to summarize my year, really. I'm not sure, but I'll work it out.

I know this has failed in the past, but I will post more. Thank you for watching this space. More to come! (always)

03 May, 2019

update; a month of zines, art and questioning identity

May is Zine Season! I will be at the MCA Zine Fair on the 5th (that's this Sunday, the one after me posting this) and Otherworlds Zine Fair on the 26th.

April practically flew out of my head. It's intense how fast time feels when you have something to do all the time. In preparation for the month of zines coming up, I had a schedule that I left behind pretty fast. Not because it was unrealistic, but rather because I wrote up the schedule and then the side projects unrelated to what I had written changed and became more complicated and I had to shift the whole schedule back.
But I'm back on track.

I have 3 new zines to show everyone this Sunday! 2 of them are part twos in 2 different series and the other is a new mini. I haven't made minis in a while and it almost felt weird to leave something at 8 pages.

I've also been playing and prepping for a bunch of dnd, which I can now validly say I adore. I don't exactly play by the official rules and... it's essentially turning dramatically into a homebrew at this point. I should start on making maps and whatnot but it's almost more fun to just play it out in theoretical space.
I feel quite lucky that I can just cold call a bunch of acquaintances off the internet and we can gather and play a tabletop game all willy nilly like that. I also feel lucky that they'll pretty much let me run the game however I like (maybe they're all too polite to tell me not to do that) because there's always been a lot of traditional high fantasy things that I've disliked.

As the campaigns run I might throw some of my write ups here as we go. Unsure. I'll think about it.

A few weeks ago I had a big week of doubting myself and my identity. It's been a long time since I was so unsure of who I was.
Over the last few years I've joined (but rarely participated in) queer groups with shared interests. It was a comfort for me to be aware of and have enough of a connection with people who were like and unlike me, with at least shared opinions and a sense of kindness. I've been aware of the discussion around gender and identity being different in these groups than "outside" in the world. I understand that in a space where new terminology comes through, things are talked about differently.
It's strange to think that I've pretty much been surrounded by these kinds of conversations, but never had the conversation myself. I've been talking about it now with people and I honestly think it was just because I didn't have the time - I was busy sorting out what was going on with my mental health.

Working out why I was putting out fires took up a large part of my last few years as an adult. My teen years were all just focused on putting the fires out for long enough to get to my adult years. And now, the focus has shifted again since I've got the time and brain space to actually look at myself as a person, apart from the trauma, and ask who I actually am.

But all this is just a long winded way to say that I did several days of googling gender terminology and came across the word agender. And then after a lot more days of panicking and reading and google deep diving, I realised that I am agender.
I have spent several years marking myself as gender unspecified all over the internet, not really thinking about why I started. I gained secret pleasure from being referred to as male and neutral pronouns, but female pronouns don't bother me either. Having my femininity defended by partners of the past when I describe myself as appearing masculine on any given day has been annoying and resulted in the topic being changed very quickly. I have always looked at my body as something I live in sort of without permission - this is just the vessel for my brain and my thoughts and my depression and anxiety. This vessel... doesn't feel like a gender. It just feels like a body and happens to belong to me.
Mainstream conversations have tricked me into thinking that gender dysmorphia is almost always paired with a feeling of "wrong body", body dysmorphia, or a need to transition. And that simply isn't the case. The fact of the matter is that I was assigned female at birth, and I disagree with the assignment.

It's strange to think that I have felt this way my whole life and for at least a significant part of it, this term has existed for me to use to describe it but it took an existential crisis for me to actually find it.
It felt like a really big revelation when it happened, but I think, ultimately, it doesn't change much for me, and really just gives me another word to more easily describe my experiences more authentically.

I have felt more like myself now than ever before. I hope it's not extended mania. We'll see.

Write soon,

23 March, 2019

draw; a brief zine summary

Last year I made a whole bunch of zines. I had made a handful in previous years, but I truly went ham on the zine making front in 2018, Year of the Zine. Here's a little something about some that are my faves of the lot.

Macy the Grey(hound)
When I first looked into getting a dog, greyhounds were so far away from my radar. But I did a bunch of googling, joined a bunch of Facebook groups, and ended up deciding to get a greyhound and haven't looked back since. Macy has been amazing! We get asked a lot of the same questions everywhere we go. I hadn't made a zine for probably about a year or so when I made this one. We love a good FAQ!

All the mini Macy zines are sold, but I've got a handful of A5 ones left that come with Macy stickers.

Sad Cooking: Vol 1
Sad Cooking is supposed to be a series of zines that's sold out at the moment (I'm thinking of reprinting for this year's set of zine fairs). The first one (currently the only one I've put together - no. 2 is in the making) is a bunch of recipes I gravitate towards when I'm depressed and living alone. There's also a page on how to make rice on the stove, and my other favourite basic the Humble Vermicelli.

I really like cooking but it's hard to find that balance of cooking for the right amount of time and also the right amount of energy when you're depressed. I don't want to read through fourteen paragraphs about someone's glorious day out at the park which inspired the mac and cheese I'm about to attempt. I just want the recipe and then variations on what I can do with it. I just want to know how long it'll take to make. I'm depressed. I don't have time for this.
So I went through a bunch of recipes I had saved and had written for myself for when I couldn't get around to making proper meals. I've structured it according to how long each recipe takes (sometimes when things are too much, I just want to make food for 2 hours and not think about anything. Sometimes I'm sad and mad and hangry and want food in under 20 min), followed by what equipment you need (washing dishes could be very low on my priority list at times), the instructions, and variations on the recipe (eg. what you could add to the dish, how I normally eat it etc).

Volume 2 will be vegetarian/vegan meals.

What's the Point aka. Selfie Zine
One time some people told me I should sell that drawing on the left but I wasn't confident enough to sell a drawing of my own selfie as a print. So I made a compromise with myself and also a zine instead. This is probably one of the first zines I made, and still some of the highest quality selfies I've ever drawn, for class and otherwise.

This is probably my favourite thing I've made in the past few years. I've talked about it a lot on various media, so I'll keep this one nice and short. Articulation was written in the middle of an intense self reflective time, and after I had been to therapy continuously for about 4 months. I had started to share my thoughts on mental health and my own journey online a year prior and was overwhelmed by how positive everyone's responses were to what I had considered to be things that I had worked out about myself that weren't either positive or negative.

It carries a content warning for various intense emotions, and it is important to me that people don't read it until they're ready to confront themselves on thoughts about mental health (either good or bad). I've often described it as entirely representative of myself as an artist, but truthfully, it's like looking at a report card about myself and my journey. All the things in this zine are about the past, and about how I could and would like to move forward, but they aren't representative of myself in the future and there is a sense of letting go because of that.

I'll be making a sequel to this, soon.

Talk soon,

25 February, 2019

update; a whole year

Can you believe I posted just one time all of last year? What a ride. It's almost been a year. Let's talk about it.

Turns out being productive while working full time doesn't include my blog somehow. I feel like that needs to change. All the other things I was doing took over in priority since I was making a varying amount of money from almost everything else - the site fell off my radar for a while. It's strange to think that I barely even wrote in my journal, or planned that many things outside my job, my mum, my dog and my relationship.
2019 is supposed to be a whole new start, and what a start it's been! Half of the things that took up 80% of my time I don't have anymore. Needing change after getting into a routine is ridiculously hard to do, especially if the routine works. Recognising my own needs to keep changing and keep moving forward has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make as a real life adult. Recognising that I get to make these decisions for myself has also been another wild step.

Strange to think that I am, mentally speaking, in very much the same place as I was a year ago and better, even. I'm still in therapy, I'm still living in the same apartment, I have my site and my portfolio (which is now more interesting than ever), I'm sewing and trying to organise D&D and working and looking for work. Stranger still to think that even though things are moving forward and I stagnated for a few months in the middle, I'm still getting better and keeping on keeping on. I forgot what it was like to keep walking forward for a while.

I'm going to be making more zines in the coming months. I might post some comparison pages between planning and final images for Articulation in a bit. Out of everything I've made, this has had the biggest impact on myself and on the people around me. I have met people in the past year through this zine who have looked at themselves and their place in the world in a whole new way that I didn't expect other people around me ever to do. It's been grand. There's a second one in the making but we'll see how that goes.
Talking about mental health and my own journey in not dying has been really, unbelievably satisfying. I didn't think I could do this at any point in the past. Therapy has taught me a lot, and I've learned a lot about how I have dealt with my brain in the past. I don't really need those habits and thoughts anymore and would like to grow into better habits, which is on my list of goals to do this year.

Here are some other things I'm aiming to do this year:
  • Learn how to drive
  • Get back to going to the gym, writing my blog, film photography
  • Get Etsy properly going
  • Some zine fairs (Otherworlds? MCA?)
  • Turn @somethinganniething into something content driven
  • Set up clothes Instagram
In 2018 I finished my yearly goals list in September, which was surprising since I didn't expect the simple action of writing something down to make such a big effect on whether or not I could do something. It does. Write things down if you want to do the things. 

I'll be blogging more this year, as outlined in my goals haha. I'll be getting back into a lot of things that I lost in the midst of chasing a routine. I will no doubt be blogging a lot more written content this year. There's a lot to talk about. Things are different, and will no doubt get better.

I'll be here,

14 March, 2018

update; productivity, curtains, interviews

So far, in the past 2 months, I've been remarkably productive.

The jetlag productivity has faded off. The first internship has finished. Somehow I'm still making things and doing things? Honestly it's just as surprising for me as it is for you.

I like it here. It's been so long since I've felt at home. My mother and I have decided to stay here longer than originally planned since we're feeling more at home. Our balcony is slowly turning into a little forest and it's really lovely.

I'm going back into therapy, thanks to the appropriate amount of peer and self pressure. I have a routine, thanks to Macy. I have a regular GP, plans for the day, week, month and year. I have made a number of zines, I have plans to make more, and plans to sell them in different formats. I made a portfolio, I'm writing a manifest, I'm working and looking for work. I've bought a sewing machine, I'm writing and editing content every day, I brush my teeth every day. I've bought a replacement Mini Diana, we're finally getting curtains, and I've made it through the longest period of time I've had to live with my mother since I was 9.
There's an amazing sense of calm that washes over me every now and then, and even though my resting heart rate probably gives away my obsessive tendencies and anxiety, I am, comparatively, much more relaxed than I used to be. I don't expect to ever get rid of that part of me, but I can live with this kind of improvement.

I've finally gotten around to making a homepage, which means some of the links on this blog might not work anymore. Maybe you've already seen it, since it's the link that used to take you straight to here. Maybe no one reads my blogs anymore. Who knows? Either way, www.annieandthemotions.com is now in business as I originally intended, so long ago.
The links take you to my Etsy, my current portfolio (which links to my portfolio on The Loop but I'm still figuring out the link - more things on that page as soon as my mother leaves lmao), my blog (here), my showreel on Vimeo and a document link to my current resume.

Which means I'm getting new cards done soon. My old one is hilariously outdated in terms of how important I thought I was going to be. Stay humble everybody.

I've been doing a lot of interviews and, almost always, everyone always starts with the worst interview question to answer -- the dreaded So, Tell Me a Little Bit About Yourself. It took me about a good 6 or 7 times fumbling that question in the dark like a teen with a new body part until I've finally figured out an answer that a) I like and b) doesn't feel like pandering. The list of variable answers looks like this for me right now:
  • general aesthetic
  • illustration/animation - an explanation
  • travels
  • languages, culture
  • value alignments
  • career goals

Somehow, it feels a little more natural to tell a story as the beginning of the answer. I suppose it doesn't work quite like this for every professional position acquisition but to just say "Hi I'm Annie I'm good at storytelling" could definitely be improved by a story. 
So I tell a story. 

I've started getting really into Dungeons & Dragons. It's amazing and I love it a lot. After a very simple campaign as introduction I've started listening to The Adventure Zone finally, after a very long time of wanting to but not bothering to learn how to play in order to listen. On the scale of listening or watching something very funny on your own I think this is absolutely amazing since I've honestly had to pause the podcast to finish laughing at one thing, out loud. Can you imagine? It's real great. 

My bare boned character at the moment is a rogue named Grandma Cheesecake. More to come. 

Soon, soon, 

30 December, 2017

draw; a @somethinganniething annual summary

Hi friends. As always, it's been longer than I care to feel guilty for since the last time I posted here. I had a lot of goals at the beginning of the year that didn't end up happening this particular year, because I underestimated the energy level it would take to do all the travel I had to do.

One of those goals was to do a finished art piece every day, which is how @somethinganniething was born. It eventually turned into more of a sketchbook situation, where I was to post at least daily for at least a year. I hit that goal, but even a drawing a day was a lot more work than I had originally thought it would be. I'm occasionally unhappy with a post, but I think it was a really good habit to get into to draw and be accountable for that minimal amount of drawing every day no matter what time zone or country I happened to be in.

On that note, this comeback post will be about the drawing habits I've developed, the usual subjects I ended up choosing, and about the fact that, even though this turned into something that I did not intend to do at the beginning of setting these goals, I am proud and won't shy from celebrating that I've continued a whole year's of daily drawings. I don't think I was even drawing daily when I was in university.

Overall I think I've always drawn in very many ways with very many things. In 2017 I let myself get back into things that I didn't let myself enjoy during university for various reasons, and specifically getting back into anime has effected how I look at what I consider to be a finished piece of art. Even something that isn't so finished has had one or two iterations before I post, which I wasn't doing when I was at school.

I think for a lot of years while I was studying I had forgotten that it was kind of never my intention to specialise in drawing animation. This isn't to say I didn't like it, because I became quite obsessive with the craft quite quickly, but I never had any intention to step out of one environment to step straight into something else that was practically the same environment. It'd take a lot more explanation to clarify that point but that's where I'm leaving it.
Animation helped me find a lot of myself but also lost me in an obsessive wave of content creation. I quite clearly lost who I was in favour of blending into a group that I held with high regard - and maybe that's what I needed at the time. Maybe that's what everyone in the group needed at the time. I realised strangely recently that I really don't need that anymore, and that I can proceed on my own towards something even if I'm not sure what it is, or am creatively alone.

Luckily, @somethinganniething never became a daily journal. I was afraid at one point that it might, and that I would only be able to refer to it as strictly personal reflection. There are posts where I'm definitely sad, but not enough of them as a whole to say that the account is only about that.
That being said, much of it is observational drawing. The top 6 subject matters of the year were (unranked): hands & body parts, Macy (@macythegreyt), places I've been & seen, selfies, @nguyensatran, and other travellers. Let's talk about that.

I drew a lot of myself in 2017, which isn't really news at all. I like drawing myself, because I'm allowed to make myself as ugly as I like. To step back into drawing a relatively realistic style was real strange after so many years of minimal line usage and cutting back on detail.
I remember taking the illustration media elective for the first time and remembering that I didn't have to work on projects all the time. What a rush, honestly.

On an absolute basic level, looking at this many variations of my own self portraits gives me a vague sense of how I see myself.
I'm considering only posting self portraits to @somethinganniething next year. I've got a day to decide.

I'm mildly infatuated with hands, and have been for a long while. The most common comment I get with my hand zines and stickers is how remarkably hard they are to draw, which I don't find at all. I'm pretty sure the fascination started with when I watched a lot of anime, which overemphasises hand positions (an understatement, honestly). I practiced drawing hands and eyes more than anything else, which is why I'm a fraction better at those two body parts. Nothing else quite fits right.

In 2017 my body part fascination extended to my own point of view. I drew a lot of my own body from where I could see it, realising that no one else saw me this way. I have never had issue with how I looked, and while I know I have a level of weight privilege a lot of it I think also comes down to not really having friends in my earlier teenage years to give me any pressure to look a certain way. Somehow the part of me that, at first couldn't, and then wouldn't dress like everyone else was never ridiculed, so it never went away.

I went to a lot of places this year. Here are some of them. Some of these are also drawings of places I never had time to draw in person from when I was in Europe. I no longer think that drawing from photos is bad. Why did I have that association? What a weird thing to think.

I have a massive back log of photographs from the past couple of years of things I've already drawn but would like to draw again. Honestly, I need to clean out my phone photos. There's over 12000 in there, at least half of which are just multiple photos of the same thing to get the best one. Why am I like this?
Soon I will do a zine about all the places I've seen.

One of the most wonderful things about public transport is getting to see what kind of other people exist simultaneously with me in this space, I think. On the rare occasion I do inevitably get harassed it dampers the thought, but I am in general quite fascinated with regular people traveling. Sometimes I draw them because I like the way they look, or stand, or frown.
Since starting a regular commute I do my best to catch the exact train that's between wild amounts of people so I can sit down to draw the people sharing my carriage. The morning commute is really surreal sometimes.

Other things in this collection are people on planes, people in museums, and people shopping.

I don't want to get grossly cute. I really don't.

If anything it's a little unavoidable to be drawn when dating someone who draws. Nguyen Sa likes to be drawn but isn't the most comfortable posing, which is absolutely understandable and why he's looking away or down in most of these. I feel like I've drawn him quite successfully maybe two or three times so far, but that's in comparison to how I feel about my self portraits which is a pretty unfair comparison simply because I've been drawing myself for many more years.

Is it a wonder that I like Nguyen Sa's hands? And his hair? And the swirl he has on the side of his face? Probably not. Let's move on before this gets sappy.

And now it's definitely time to get sappy. Drawing Macy gives me life. I'm still trying to figure out how exactly all her parts could even possibly fit together. How does she turn herself into a donut? She's so long.

Am I obsessed with my dog? Yes, absolutely. Anyone who has ever met a greyhound (unsurprisingly not many have) will know what I'm talking about when I saw that they're all absolute sweethearts. So much of my life has changed since adopting her, and I have absolutely no regrets.
She's so long. I'll probably draw her tonight. How do you even draw dogs? Macy's like if an alien heard a description of a dog and tried to draw it. I often forget what regular dogs look like. I flip out when I see small dogs now because I understand them even less.

I made a zine about Macy. I'm selling it on Etsy, you should check it out
. It even comes with stickers.

This will probably be my past post of the year. If you've actually read up until this point, I just want to say thank you. I know that I can be erratic at the best of times, but that's been improving significantly since I've stopped traveling for the moment.
It's a relief, honestly. I'm looking forward to not being able to travel for a bit. It's a self imposed ban (my mother wants to go to Cape Town and all of Japan next year), but it's much needed rest.

Now all I gotta do is incorporate post here back into my schedule! One of which I now have!

Other things I also would like to do in 2018:

  • Get into The Etsy
  • Market stalls, with and without other people
  • Preferably a part time job w/ a freelancing situation on the side somehow
  • Get back into hand binding books
  • Make shirts, totes
  • Basically make a lot of stuff now that I have stuff to make them with
  • Figure it out, acknowledge it, move it on
  • Figure out that exhibition situation
  • Get on the sewing business

May 2018 be the year I start posting work that is a lot more refined and finished. May it be the year I get the travel rest I need to find a job I enjoy. May I finally clean my office. Wishing everyone a wonderful start to what needs to be an excellent year - the world could use one right now.

See you next year,