Life as we know it has come to a screeching halt. I am living in New York City with my family. We did not run to the Hamptons or Upstate, NY. We stayed put in New York City so as not to potentially spread anything I was working at a job that I absolutely loved with people I adored. Then the pandemic struck and my husband was deployed to care for covid-19n patients in the hospital. I had to take leave from a job in tech sales that I recently got. Suddenly I found myself a stay at home mom doing things that I abhorred: cooking, cleaning and laundry. But under the given circumstances, I found caring for my children and being a mother was different and I found joy in the very things that I thought I hated. At the end of the day I was tired, but a good tired. The saying: "The obstacle is the way" is very true in my case: My children are the very thing that help sustain me mentally and physically. It's not been very easy but at the moment I've found peace. We planted seeds a few months back and now we have a full fledged veggie and garnish garden. It's very helpful to have some greens that we can pluck and eat. Two cut scallions in water sprouting new growth on top! (I saw this on Twitter) We have arugula. (Perhaps too much arugula). The taste of fresh arugula is potently spicy and so alive. Cilantro! We usually use a lot of cilantro but haven't used much of it yet. And hopefully some tomatoes. Pray for them. We also planted strawberries as well but those never came in. My husband requested some Thyme and Rosemary. I freaked out a bit because I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with anything. I texted my cousin, Tonya in West Virginia who is very handy and wise: We can grow some of our own food and I sewed some masks (despite some obstacles, one of them being that I don't really sew. I take great pleasure in knowing we can do these things, with our hands. We can create and we can cultivate our own gardens and therefore our lives. Be Well, Natalie ❤
Last week as I was walking down the street headed to work, this thought dropped into my head:
The universe wants you to succeed.The Universe (and Natalie Kim)
Not to put pressure on you but it’s actually your job to achieve your wildest dreams. Why? Because when you are happy and fulfill your dreams it causes a ripple effect that affects people in a positive sense.
The big big dreams. The mindblowing and unbelievable ones that seem impossible. The ones that some people might laugh at (drop them).
Go for it.
As I’m leaving my apartment to take my daughter to school and I pick up my book bag packed with my work materials (laptop, notebooks, pens, etc.), I see my black 8.5″ x 11″ sketchpad and wince knowing that the extra weight will hurt my back.
I am not a lower back pain person but because I carry too much, I’ve caused my back to smart a little bit.
I know my notebook is the match that will break this camel’s back. And yet, and yet…it’s got to come along.
My days are filled with obligations, rushing around and a lot of long stints of staring at a computer screen. If I want to keep up the drawing habit and drawing my cartoons, then the sketchbook must come. Yes, I could get a smaller size but honestly I don’t enjoy drawing in a smaller sketch pad. I’m used to the 8.5″x 11″ size.
I will make the time to draw and make sure to inconvenience myself a bit to make drawing more convenient.
Why do we sometimes avoid the very thing that feeds our soul?
Whenever I draw and share a cartoon I feel great. My anxiety goes away and if it brightens someone’s day, that makes me even happier.
I know that drawing is an act that makes me spiritually, physically and mentally happier so what is the thing that holds me back?
I do have responsibilities: kids, work. Sometimes those responsibilities make their positions know as soon I open my eyes up until my head hits the pillow.
However, I also know that the mind can play tricks on me when I’m interested in pursuing something that means a lot to me. Suddenly time shrinks and I CANNOT make space to create cartoons.
I recently heard a podcast called The Eventual Millionaire by Jamie Masters. She interviews many entrepreneurs who are successful in varying degrees. One interview really stuck out for me and I felt it would be valuable to share with you here.
Robin Sharma found that the people who got the best results in their life did the following:
They were in the 5AM Club. While the rest of the world was sleeping and hitting snooze, 5AM Clubbers did the following:
1. Woke up at 5:00a
2. Did 20 minutes of exercise that made them sweat. This changes one’s psychological state as well as their actual brain health.
3. Did 20 minutes of journaling and meditation.
4. Did 20 minutes of writing and reading.
I tried it out this week and I found out that it was really helpful.
I could easily draw a quick sketch with a pen in the morning without too much fuss. Instead of letting my day overwhelm me, I was able to easily capture a few extra pockets of time where some very good creative thinking would happen.
If you’re not scared off by the prospect of waking up at 5:00am, check out Robin’s 66 Day Challenge here!
Here are some of my thoughts of the amazing show, Fleabag created by the illustrious Phoebe Waller-Bridge
WARNING SPOILER ALERT: THIS POST IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN SEASON 1 AND 2
I thought about why Fleabag’s father, sister AND her Godmother are so hostile towards her and it’s because despite being a fuckup, she is loved, she is funny and especially because Fleabag reminds them of her dead mother.
By all accounts Fleabag’s mother was also beautiful, funny and beloved by all and it must be painful for the father to see Fleabag who reminds him of the love that he lost.
Fleabag’s resemblance to her mother is particularly disturbing to her Godmother (soon to be stepmother). Fleabag’s existence is a constant reminder to the Godmother that she will never measure up to the original mother she desperately wants to replace. The bond between Fleabag and her father irritates the future Godmother so deeply and overall, she is threatened by the unwavering love between her fiancé and his daughters.
In fact, upon further reflection – the amazing qualities of Fleabag’s mother permeate Season 2 in such a loving and gentle manner that you realize it is very possible the episode is an unspoken love letter to her mother.
The gold statue – a symbol of the mother – shows up in so many unusual ways.
The Godmother created a tiny gold (literal) bust of Fleabag’s mother with no arms or legs or head, just the body. Did she create this statue with the mother actually modeling? What drove the Godmother her to create it? To empower herself and diminish the mother’s presence in her mind? Or is the statue a tribute of love to her friend, and a token of gratitude for the new family she has acquired? While the statue is small it is made of precious material and it’s extremely valuable.
Fleabag steals it when she desperately needs financial help to keep her cafe financially afloat. Of all pieces of her Godmother’s, how could she unknowingly steal the statue of her mother?
I also thought about how the statue “saves the day” for Claire’s presentation after Fleabag accidentally destroys the impeccable glass award Claire so painstakingly chose.
And at the very end, in the dank bus stop when she loses the love of her life, she pulls the statue out and it seems to give her solace.
The statue quietly vibrates with life and her mother’s presence gives Fleabag the unconditional love she needs in a moment where she is (and we are) completely shattered.
The Significance of Fleabag’s Motherand Motherhood in General
Fleabag’s mother also quietly upends the myth of the asexual “good mother” who is dutiful and and lives for her child.
When you see paintings of mothers in the male gaze it’s usually an angelic woman “sitting with child” and fulfilling her domestic duties: giving a child a bath, breastfeeding or holding a child as if she is the Virgin Mary personified.
These images of how mothers are portrayed aren’t empowering for women who have children as these ideals subtly reinforce the sentiment that no matter how much mothers progress professionally: a “good mother” stays at home with her children and are always haplessly out of touch and ineffective.
Even comedians cartoonishly portray their own mothers in a buffoonish “mom jeans” fashion and the Fleabag series completely throws this paradigm out the window.
Fleabag’s mother (though unseen) is portrayed as beautiful, complex woman who is not defined by a vocation, her children or other external things like status or education, but by simply being authentically herself, just as Fleabag does.
That said, it is quite clear that, despite her mother living a full life on her own terms, her unconditional love for her daughter was never sacrificed. Though Fleabag’s mother affection is never explicitly shown in the series, it is unmistakable that she loved her daughter very much and vice versa.
Her mother is one of the most reliable and purest forms of love Fleabag ultimately turns to when she faced one of her most challenging moments.
Fleabag realizes that despite being devastated by the priest choosing God over her,*she* was the one that she was looking for all along.
This feeling is so beautifully highlighted by the Alabama Shakes singing: “But it feels so nice to know I’m gonna be alright.” and you know she means it as she motions to the camera she no longer needs it’s artifice to live.