So typical Al, I claimed in January that I would write a post per week… I look back at my last post and it’s dated 21 February. Oh well.
I actually have a good excuse for this absence from my illustrated diary: I did a major commission for L’Officiel Singapore and Louis Vuitton back in March (I know, right?? Sometimes I still can’t believe it… Maybe I should just write a post here to fix it black on white, what do you think?) and things have been pretty hectic ever since.
You know, at a certain point I started to feel like a super hero: I was feeling so cool, able to juggle my 10 hours/day job with posting on Instagram every day (which means an illustration done every night), preparations for the live sketching events to come, drawing commissions and my personal life. I was receiving at least one new request every day for my illustration services. I had lost a few kilos and I liked what I saw in the mirror. I was feeling awesome, unstoppable.
Basically I was living my life 100% like *insert sunglasses emoji*
And yesterday, right in the middle of a huge live sketching engagement for Piaget (yes THAT Piaget, the brand of the watches full of diamonds that I could never afford even if I sold a kidney) I crashed.
I woke up with some pain in my belly but I went to work anyway. By 11 AM I was on my way to the doctor with a colleague who was trying to help me walk and holding me up every time a colic was arriving and I was screaming (literally) for the pain.
I will spare graphic details, but I decided there and then that I would never give birth without a total anaesthesia, if labour is even half the pain I was experiencing in that moment.
Long story short, I spent the day in bed trying to cope with the pain and of course last night I missed one of the Piaget events, leaving them in the emergency to find a replacement for their event last minute.
And you can’t believe how mortified and guilty I felt about it. I felt sorry for them, because I put them in a difficult situation and I felt sorry for myself, because I worked so hard to finally get this type of commissions and now that I had it I was jeopardising it.
But more surprisingly, I simply couldn’t believe it: how could I do it? How could this happen to the girl who always delivers and never gets sick? How could I dump an engagement last minute like this?
I woke up this morning so depressed about this whole thing that I had to pause for a minute and think about it: why am I feeling so bad? Why could I just not accept that, for as bad as the consequences were, it was totally normal to fall sick? Why could I just not stop beating myself up and accept that sometimes it can happen to screw up because of events that we simply cannot control?
I realised I just couldn’t stand the fact that I am human and, as such, that I have flaws. That sometimes I can get sick too and sometimes I just can’t get done all the 3768 things I plan in my impossible agenda. That I can try to control my life as much as I want but I will still be subject to unplanned and sudden events
I realised that as a human this was the obvious consequence for how I treated my body in the last couple of months: the weight loss wasn’t due to a healthy diet, but to stress and skipped meals because of the rush. Pushing myself to post on Instagram daily meant that I was never going to bed before 1 AM every night. And I was so sure I was managing my personal life so well despite being so busy, but the last two times I talked with my boyfriend we had a fight so probably I wasn’t that good at it either.
I live in a city that celebrates hard work and never giving up as some of its highest values. The pace and the pressure are insane, but everything is so well organised that you really start believing you can actually do it and have it all. That you can actually be that hero that manages to get everything done and never disappoints anyone.
Transports are super efficient and cheap to support your crazy running around, food is available 24/7 everywhere so your meal won’t take you more than 20 minutes and will require zero efforts, any type of service is ready on demand and just an app away.
Everything in this city is constantly whispering in your ear “Don’t you just want to grab all the opportunities coming at you? Accept one more offer, do one more late night, show how good you are”.
But I am human, I am no hero.
My psychologist has been telling me for months: you have to treat yourself with compassion and kindness. It’s useless to beat yourself up if you’re not perfect because nobody is and you shouldn’t try to be.
I guess I’ve always kind of ignored her on this point, because that would mean I’d have to stop for a while or let go a little. And I didn’t want to.
I learned a very important lesson today.
Not only to take better care of myself, but mainly to stop pretending perfection and stop punishing myself if I can’t reach it. Perfection doesn’t happen? So be it: I need to understand that dwelling on what I wasn’t able to achieve yesterday is not going to bring me any further tomorrow.
Because for as much as you try to be perfect and control everything and anyone around you something out of the plan can happen and WILL happen. Better start learning to deal with it now.
And now I am going to get ready for the third Piaget event… You see, in the end the consequences weren’t that horrible 😉