Week Two: The Good, the Bad and the Avoidance

I lost 5.4 pounds between the start of DrawDown and this Saturday’s “official” weigh in. As I hinted last week, it’s not like the mythic days of pre-cancerous old, when I would magically drop the equivalent of a cocker spaniel. Still, I’m excited.

That said, I have to come clean about something decidedly less good-newsy. I didn’t go to the gym this week. Not twice, as was my goal. Not even once. 😐

Hey… I thought about going to the gym… sort of. I mean, I took workout clothes to my studio, which is near the gym. Unfortunately, I left them folded on a shelf, where they presumably sit at this very moment.

While out with a big group of people on Friday night, I did announce my intention to start lifting. That’s something, right? Public shame is a powerful motivator (as I have found on those days when I didn’t feel like posting a drawing). Perhaps therein lies my salvation. I am setting the same goal for this week— work out at the gym twice— and one of my friends from the aforementioned group has promised to check up on me.

So what did I do that WAS good? Am I already off the wagon on an eleven-day-old project? Well first off, I made drawings. And I posted drawings. W00t.

Secondly, I’m doing pretty well with the non-gym aspects of being healthy. I packed balanced lunches and walked several dozen miles and congratulated myself when congratulations were due. And that’s what this is really about: drawing my life up in a way that’s actually, you know, sustainable. Earlier this week, I was describing the DrawDown Project to one of my fellow graduate students, and she said, “So are you on a diet?” Except type doesn’t do the question justice. Imagine it with inflection along the lines of, “So, are you joining a cult?”

The answer is an emphatic no. I’m not on a diet. I’m also not joining a cult, which, let’s face it, is essentially what dieting becomes for me. Diet Del quickly devolves into a calorie counting, secret eating, self-loathing shell of humanity. All I think about is food. I crouch rat-like in kitchen corners furtively nibbling saltines because the cupboards of a cult dieter are otherwise scoured free. Afterward, I beat my mental self bloody for the lack of self-control that added 150 calories to my precious daily count.

When middle-of-the-night cracker attacks are not enough, I lose it completely and binge: candy wrappers and pizza boxes litter my apartment like confetti; butter lurks on my breath. And don’t get me started on the food fantasies. My head is an x-rated space where melted cheese is concerned anyway, but on a diet? Hey, you think you’ve got it bad with your crush on that guy/girl/beast from Game of Thrones? Pfft, trust me, not a one is sexier than a bubbling pot of Gruyère. Oh baby. Yes! Nobody does it for me like you.

Woo… gotta pull back from the dark place! The point is, DrawDown is about coming back to myself in a range of ways. If this project manifests in richer artmaking, wonderful. If it shows up as genuine self-acceptance, peachy. If I lose the muffin top, well that’s just (pardon the euphemism) gravy. The habits I’m trying to instill should do all of those things. However, only time will tell.

Week One: Thyroidpocalypse Now

Okay, okay, it’s only been five days, but I declare victory! Or… well… at least kudos. Can you declare kudos?


Haha, you can now!

Kudos to all of us for making it through the first round. Five drawings (or four from your perspective since I haven’t posted #5 yet)… big whoop, right? Right, actually. It was harder than you might think. It is my intention for most DrawDown pieces to take anywhere from a few minutes to four hours. After all, it’s not supposed to be about perfect finish, and I have many other demands on my time. I know this. I KNOW IT. Yet, along comes drawing #1, and the perfection gnome in my head locks the polish controls to full ON. Since #2, 3 and 4 were supposed to be reference drawings in line with #1, I put the big finish on them too. It’s fine, but I’m excited to move on to more spontaneous experiments.

Posting has its own challenges. It’s always hard to put your work out there, but this… ugh. A reanimated knot gummy worms wriggles and flips in my belly every time I press the “Publish” button. Then there’s the heaping helping of second guessing complete with a steaming side of “let’s change our identity and move to Scotland or Borneo or anyplace, really, where no one associates us with images on that site.” I’m stumbling  along despite the self-doubt, and for that, at least, I pat myself soundly upon the back.

And speaking of pats on the back, one final announcement: as of yesterday, the scale clocked in at 219. It’s the first time I’ve seen the underside of 220 in… well… a goodly long time. Having such concentrated initial weight reduction is sinfully satisfying. I remember this from my wayward dieting youth: you know, the glorious era when skipping the pickles meant a ten pound drop. I thought such ego-boosting power losses were gone forever from my post-thyroidpocalypse world. Is my cocktail of synthetic metabolism finally working correctly or is it just dumb luck? Either way, take it as a win and look to the week ahead, right? I joined a gym, so my goal between now and Saturday, January 25 is to work out at least twice. That may not seem like much, but baby steps. Anyway, its going to be a challenge with my long, long, longity-long studio days. However, if I can find a half hour to blurb in front of Eminem videos (which I absolutely didn’t do this morning 😳 ), I can spend equal time with some flippin’ leg presses, right?

Friday, January 17, 2014



Charcoal and White Chalk on Paper
18″ x 24″

As an aside, I would like to note how stupidly difficult it is to draw your own back. Seriously… try it. It involves multiple mirrors, salty vocabulary, caffeine injected straight to the vein and a monkey on a trampoline with a video camera.

It occurs to me now that some of my memories of the process miiiiggghtt be colored by the caffeine intake. Multiple mirrors? That’s crazy talk!

The Starting Line

DrawDown officially starts today, January 15, 2014! In a few hours, I will make my first drawing, and all you who count yourselves brave of eyeball can view it a day later. Before you do, be sure to check out the project information via the links in the side menu. Cool kids start with the DrawDown Inspiration page.

Although I’m excited to be starting, there is a part of me that can’t help asking, “Why the garbanzo beans are you starting in the middle of the month and, worse, on freakin’ Wednesday?!?” Grand undertakings should launch neatly on a fresh month and week. At least, that’s what elves and Jedi and fluffy kitty cats intended for the universe. The problem is, I’m ready now: SO ready, I don’t want to wait for some ordained pairing of day and date. Thus, I’m ignoring obsessiveness (for once) and moving forward. My more fundamentalist brain cells may commit ritual suicide, but I comfort the remainder of my gray matter with a compromise. I will begin the project with four basic full body drawings: three-quarter view, profile, back and front. Voila! I establish starting-point reference images AND secure a Sunday launch for the bulk of the project. Muhahahahahaha!

I have some good, sane qualities too… really….