Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The longest post ever...

I have half a mind to keep my mini tree up for the entire month of January. Just for a bright bit of cheer.
This is the first time this has happened as long as I've been keeping this blog running. I had started this update some month back and abandoned it, not choosing to update this for quite a long time. As things moved onwards, I wanted to make one last post before 2021 came in.

I left the first draft part, because it is exactly what was on my mind then, and I can finally finish my thoughts, in this forward time traveling sort of moment. 

July 5th, 2020

The other evening, as I sat awake around 2am, had finished up some late night work, and went into the living room to sit and think. I started to play some Fire Emblem Heroes on my phone, but really was just going through the motions, so I switched over to checking the socials,... Twitter, then Instagram, meandering over to Facebook... but after a few bland minutes of just staring at the blue glow, I just turned the screen off.

Sitting there in partial darkness, with just the porch light filtering in through the edges of the blinds nearby, my mind started to wander and think. 

I thought about the previous post about where we would go, moving forward. Emotionally. Physically. 

Over the last few weeks, we've all seen the ups and downs of what is happening these days. Covid19 isn't going away. Now, I know that there are a fair amount of people that will read this post, and decry "fake news", or feel that I am being overly cautious, or maybe even playing the part of a doomsday enthusiast.

The numbers, the data, all of the information you could need is out there via the CDC. The fact that people have died from this, period, is all the reason that matters. Even unto the ones that have "recovered", I feel that's in part, a not completely truthful assertion. The long term effects of this disease, are only in the last few weeks showing just how damaging and unpredictable this is becoming.

But none of the above is directly about what I am here to write about today.

Most people reading my blog, are people that either are or know artists/vendors that create things that they may sell online, but more frequently, rely on the access and sales they get from doing various shows.

It occurred to me that, as more and more shows begin to fall by the wayside this year, there are still a few stalwarts that look to be standing, or hoping, that things will "go back to normal". Thankfully, if that is the word that can be used, others have either relented and focused on shows moving to 2021, or they have taken the stance of a longer waiting game.

The fact is, everything is uncertain. Nothing is normal. I don't believe it will go back to whatever we deemed normal before...
The clouds over the highway as I made my way to Columbia, Missouri.
December 30th, 2020

It's about 12:30 AM as I start back in on this. To say this has been a strange year, would be an understatement. I halfway expected an alien invasion from outer space, or for Sasquatch to be discovered. It would not have been out of place. It would have been so on brand for 2020.

I can go on about so much that has happened this year, but it's almost too much to cover.

So for now, to keep this post simple, here is a short list of some of what I went through:

  1. Was hired as an overnight security guard the first day the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art closed it's doors to the public, quit the day before they readmitted the staff and started small opening times to the public.
  2. In working at the Nelson, I saw more art history than most people may ever see, a lot that has never been shown to the public, and some that will debut in years to come.
  3. I worked there the weekend of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in downtown KC. I went through some things that not only changed how I felt about KCMOPD and the Nelson, but also myself.
  4. I won my first design industry award ever. For a freelance design project for Infinity Foils. It is still a bit weird, but I am happy. The last time I won an award was seriously at a high school art show.
  5. I started up doing therapy with a renewed vigor and hope to face up to so many things that I have as walls and challenges in front of me. 
  6. I started a Hero's Journal, which was one of my two favorite gifts this holiday, and I'll be reviewing it soon. I truly believe it's been a help to me that I never in a million years would have done on my own.
  7. Hallmark, let more people go, in the wake of Covid coming through. I as a contractor, recently had to go and empty out my desk, to work permanently from home. It was a surreal bit of time to be in there packing up again, and seeing all of the empty cubicles. I hope for my friends that are left there, that it holds as it is, if not grows once again in the near future.
  8. I started an online weekly show with a friend of mine, that we've now done for 20 weeks. It has been cathartic, fun, and helped me get over live feed performance.
  9. After years of holding out, I started up an Etsy store, which will hopefully help me out in this coming year, as art shows and conventions still seem dodgy at best for happening. 
  10. Many scary and personal close calls happened as well, almost losing my two cats, losing other pets that lived at my parents' house, and losing some friends and acquaintances to Covid this year, really hit home.
  11. Supporting more independent artists and small businesses this year than I have in the past.
  12. A lot of highs and lows when it came to daily life. Thankfully, depression has become far more manageable, but other shadows of the mind still wander around.
But along with that, because of the rise of more time spent texting, working online, and seeing more social media posts, following more people on instagram, I saw so much more come across. 
The very quiet halls.
It's been so hard to put into words so much of this, and especially when as introverted as I am, to not be always able to reach out to people I cared about and be there for them when the time mattered.
Four of the reasons I am grateful to be home.
I don't know what to expect of this next year. I don't do resolutions. I don't really adhere to the idea that things suddenly change just because a man made calendar flips over or ends.
The second set of illustrations I put up on Etsy.
That's not how life works. But the symbolism and anecdotal aspects of that, are firmly implanted in who we are.

I've had a lot of time to spend looking back on things, not only because of therapy sessions, or because freelance and contract work is dead at the moment for me. In part, I end up looking for things that are comfort zones for me. Regrettably, one of the things has been a new rediscovery of my desire for late night college level food...
No seriously, am I the only one craving a seven layer burrito right now?
Not a great way to crash into 2021. 

Until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

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