This week has been a real face melter. The amount of exhaustion and overall feeling of being depleted had really gotten the best of me this week.
I’m sure everyone struggles with this notion of a “well-balanced life”. A stupid thing to complain about and a great example of “first world problems”. But trying to have a healthy diet, keeping in touch with friends, exercising regularly, time to rest and of course, time for my personal illustration pursuit has all felt incredibly overwhelming. Most nights I’ve been clocking in about 6-7 hours sleep with little to no downtime throughout the day. By the end of the week, I feel like a complete zombie.
What added to this feeling of burnout was a failed piece I was working on. Having tunnel vision, I tried to burrow down and just get to work. In the name of productivity, I didn’t put too much thought into the piece I was doing. After conducting some research, I realised that the piece was basically making fun of someone who had a mental disability. After spending about 4 hours on the piece, I felt like a complete idiot. I felt like such an insensitive and ignorant piece of shit. When opening up to friends, they told me not to be so harsh on myself, and it was just a mistake. When thinking about the next piece, I felt like I was scraping the barrel for any ideas. I felt completely burnt out and disappointed by this feeling of trying and things not going as planned.
While being incredibly exhausted my original intention was to take a week off to get my head together. Though this stupid militancy in my head forced me to keep pushing and to keep swinging. The next piece I worked on far exceeded my personal expectations and overall was completely happy with how the piece turned out:
I intentionally went to create a piece that I was quite comfortable doing yet added a touch of risk and experimentation. I think one of the most rewarding aspects of creating is being surprised by what comes out on the page yourself. It can be easy to over plan at times and feel like your just going through the motions. Though when you experiment in the right places and take risks, the feeling is so incredibly rewarding.
In short what I’m trying to summarise is I was so incredibly close to giving up. I thought and felt like I had nothing left, and my insecurities were telling me that I was “done”. If I hadn’t pushed myself just a little bit further, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have created this piece that gave me such a high feeling of satisfaction.
Admittedly when writing this the amount of exhaustion, I’m still feeling is immense. With so much to do and after having such a high feeling of fatigue can feel really defeating. It most likely comes with the curse of ambition. You have a million and one things you want to get done yet you feel like you have absolutely no time to do them.
As far as right now I wish I had some inspirational line about pushing through and some hack about how you can fight your way through it. But I don’t. I honestly have no idea. To be perfectly honest I have no idea how I can continuously keep pushing on with this frantic routine of cramming so much within a day and what at times feels like such little payoff. My exhaustion is getting the best of me and is telling me to stop. Time will tell if it’s a matter of giving in.