For all that the brown boy and I are friends with each other, we fight enough. Here’s a hurriedly drawn page from one of 2018’s journals, when I was trying to figure out our new toaster…and he said something especially mean.
As I said the other day, all through 2017 I was drawing out my stress. One day, after an incredibly difficult meeting I came back to my desk, and took a few minutes to quietly straighten myself out.
- 01: Soo: Thankful I can draw
- 02: Soo: Ah…Instagram…
- 03: Instagram post
- 04: Soo: Quickly finish this then go home for the next meeting
- 05: Soo: Ma? Umm..hmmm
- 06: Soo: I’m OK, I’m at work. Such a bad –
- 07: Ma: Oh you’re at work? I saw your post on Instagram – I thought something was wrong with Orin! Bye!
It was early 2017 when I first started to use my drawing to deal with work stress.
I was still grumpily trying to understand what my role as a Design Manager should be, and the anteater, as usual, gave his sage advice:
Sometimes all you need is a different perspective on life, like The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman.
And I also finished reading M Train by Patti Smith around that time.
While all this helps momentarily, there’s actually larger causes for work stresses which need to be carefully resolved. But of course, I didn’t know that then…
The last two years have been incredible years of growing for me in my professional life. Challenging work, difficult situations, and always the need to build trust from bottom up.
These are some of the earliest drawings from those days:
What kept me going was the long game, and guiding myself with
Progress, not perfection
which I learnt from this 99u talk by Effie Brown.
I also draw myself out of stress, since drawing is nearly therapy for me. The 2017 and 2018 sketchbooks are filled with “stressy” drawings – as my friend Uli would say – like this one:
After a while though I got used to it, and learnt how to survive difficult days
Though our man, the brown boy, did have the last word:
“Ultimately, it’s all about having a good time. Later on if you feel you haven’t enjoyed yourself it’s not worth it.”