On election day, I fell asleep by midnight out of exhaustion. Physical tiredness from a long day of work and teaching, and anxiety from constantly refreshing election results on my phone, feeling everything from this campaign, and my memories of the Indian election in 2014. I fell asleep hoping that I would wake up to better news. That this would not be like every other instance of the world moving so far right this year.
Drawing and writing are my way of processing the world around me. On Wednesday morning, I felt paralyzed, unable to make, write or draw. I felt afraid to leave my apartment. I felt my brown-ness and my woman-ness more than ever. I spent the day talking to students, colleagues, friends, trying to comfort each other with hugs and words. Feeling, is overwhelming sometimes; I broke down at the end of the day.
Nothing ever comes from complacency and inaction though. I have realized recently, that my physical voice and my ability to make are inextricably connected. If I didn't start making something soon, I would wallow in silence and anger. Baltimore was protesting on Thursday, I was determined to participate, surround myself with many voices, and draw.
By the time we made our way from North Charles street to Inner Harbor, I'd filled up a notebook. Drawing while walking the length of the protest, under street lamps, helicopter spotlights, flashing police lights, surrounded by chanting voices, was strangely helpful. I ran into a friend, who had posted this 15 part Instagram post online earlier in the day. She asked me how I was dealing with making as a way to respond. We spoke about needing to not wait for the perfect combination of words or lines to materialize, not trying to be clever. Giving ourselves permission to find a way by drawing, rather than viewing it as a destination.
Drawing is re-living something. How do we find a way to draw, without normalizing all the things that need to be resisted in the first place?