034: Keep Showing Up
Even on the toughest days, it's important you show up for yourself... and others.
This week I had a really hard time “showing up”. Not just for me, but for others. And I want to walk you through my journey and thoughts this week.
I felt distant. Disconnected. I was unsatisfied with all of my work. Nothing I was doing seemed to click.
And there was that little voice inside creeping up… why bother?
I thought maybe the feeling would pass if I just got through the bad Monday and Tuesday, but before I knew it, it was Thursday and I was scheduled to do a live podcast that night. I was just not going to show up. Who would care or even notice, right?
Why did I feel this way? Why might you feel this way? And how do we break through that bad vibe when it’s happening?
For me, it was definitely a mix of bad news at work, and just bad news in general. When I turned on social media on Wednesday across my feeds I saw the the news that comic artist Carlos Pacheco had passed away at age 60.
I learned he had been dealing with some health troubles, and then he received a terrible surprise diagnosis of ALS. (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)- It took him to the other side pretty swiftly.
What happened for me was, I think I absorbed that news quickly and moved on into other busyness. But deep down? Somewhere in my soul I just felt defeated. None of that seemed fair.
And then the thoughts of “what have I have truly done” creep in. And it just felt like… I haven’t done enough. Not only is my time slowly running out, but it could fast forward to the end at any given moment.
Tomorrow is not promised, indeed.
Yeah, yeah, pretty morbid right? Sorry folks. It was also very hard to express how I was feeling verbally. At some point my wife asked me what was wrong, what was I thinking?
And something like this came out:
“I feel like I haven’t done enough. I need to do MORE. And I have this sense of dread knowing that my time is running out.”
She said I was just being irrational, and gave me a quick reality check.
Reminding me I had not only just finished a big Childrens Book project, but I’m dealing with a TON of stuff at my day job, 10+ hour days some days. We just got done running Promptober. I run this little side brand encouraging hundreds of artists all over the world.
She assured me that I’m doing plenty. I do more than anyone she’s ever known. And it’s totally okay if I sit idle for a moment.
But you know what the say about IDLE HANDS?
When I was “taking a break” or being idle, I was reading “DISCIPLINE IS DESTINY” by Ryan Holiday. How ironic is it that I relax by reading a book about discipline that makes me feel lazier or like I’m not doing enough? 😂 That’s me.
The Luckiest Man on Earth
At some point on Thursday I thought about Carlos Pacheco again. And how in one of his last posts he said he didn’t want anyone to feel sad for him. He felt so lucky that he got to live his wildest childhood dreams, being able to draw comics. What grace.
As he was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease, it made sense that he probably knew how Lou Gehrig himself dealt with it, and what Lou said in his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium.
Lou described his health issue as merely “a bad break”. And he wanted everyone who loved him to know that he personally felt like the luckiest man on earth. Because he got to do what he loved to do. watch for yourself…
In the first chapter of “Discipline is Destiny”, Ryan Holiday talks about Lou Gehrig. and how even on his toughest days, Lou showed up, for himself, and for others.
Strange coincidence? That the same week I was reading about Lou Gehrig, the disease with his name took Carlos Pacheco away.
Anytime “coincidences” like that happen, I pay attention.
My imagination doesn’t allow me to believe in coincidence.
Suddenly, when I was thinking about what faced these men, and their grace in the face of impending annihilation, my troubles seemed very small.
Only an hour before livestream time, I decided to show anyways. I’d just be real about how I was feeling. I tried my best to draw something, even though I wasn’t happy with it. (replay on youtube)
And there was no doubt, that for the past few days, I have felt like the luckiest man on earth too.
The Weekly Drawing Prompt is:
“Lady Justice Has Her Day.”
I made something new. 30 days worth of drawing prompts to help sharpen your visual storytelling and keep your pencil moving. Also includes my digital brush pack for Procreate. https://comics.gumroad.com/l/draw-every-day
I made a video to show how it works…
Stay lucky out there everyone!
☠️ Draw or Die MERCH!
✏️ DIGITAL TOOLS FOR ARTISTS: Custom Brushes, Templates & Prompts
▶️ DRAW or DIE on YOUTUBE (Tutorials & more)
Wow, posts like this have been showing up in my life over the past few weeks. I also feel like it isn’t just coincidence. This was a good one. Thanks for writing this!
I went through the same thing this week after hearing about Pacheco, Kevin O’Neill, and Kevin Conroy passing. I find myself getting down on all the things I haven’t done yet while forgetting all the great things I’ve already done and continue to do. Glad you were able to push through it. 🤘🏻