OTM #41: Hero

The other day, I had to show some of my artwork for a writing project. I’m usually not one to flex that I draw, particularly due to the fact that I don’t like special attention. But that day, a classmate told me my work looks like it was inspired by Bryan Lee O’Malley, author of the “Scott Pilgrim” series. O’Malley has been an art hero of mine since I was fourteen — my heart practically burst out of my chest upon hearing the compliment. Alongside the recent release of the “Scott Pilgrim” anime, I’ve been drawing huge inspiration from the series’ art style. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to step away from yourself and realize that your heroes have indeed contributed to your growth. That’s the coolest feeling ever!!!

OTM #40: Spectator

I’m not a cat mother, I’m a cat aunt. I love my nephew dearly. We spend quality time together often, but it seems he’s been getting more and more attached lately. When my roommate (the actual cat mother) leaves for class, he will come running into my room desperate for attention. A lot of times he’ll crawl up on my lap, purring loud while I work, occasionally pawing at my typing hands as if I’ve made up a game for him to play. But my new favorite maneuver is his talent of jumping to the top of my chair; he bounces with the ferocity of a cartoon pogo stick. Afterwards, he’ll sit on the backside of the chair and stare at the back of my head. Sometimes he sets his hands on my shoulders, too, as if he’s giving me a massage and encouraging my hard work. Most of the time it hinders my work more than it helps me, but I’ll never complain about a cute cat disrupting my day. Have a great week and a great upcoming break!

OTM #39: Comfort Zone

Sometimes it’s good to go outside your comfort zone. Take me, for example, self-proclaimed nerd and introvert — the last place I would expect to see myself is Rick’s, but there I was, dancing alongside my friends. The first five to ten minutes there were uncomfortable (see my above artistic rendition), but the minute I let go of the idea that people were looking at me, I started to have fun. I started to care less, giving into the early-2010s-pop remixes monopolizing my senses. Sometimes you just have to give into the music; life is too short and stressful as is. This is not my endorsement of Rick’s, as my opinion is still mixed, but it is to say this: at the very least, maybe consider dancing in your room with your headphones. There’s an inherently silly and unserious feeling to it, but that’s what makes it fun. Perhaps it’s “healing your inner child,” or whatever those self-help guides online say.

OTM #38: Lucky

Do you ever have those nights where you sleep so hard that you wake up covered in sweat? Disoriented, blinking nonstop, feeling gross? Yeah, me too. I think I must have had some crazy dream I don’t remember. Either way, I slept in way past my alarm, which is extremely unusual for me. I guess it’s that time of year; I’m trying to be forgiving of myself, it happens. But to my lucky surprise, when I checked my phone, my first class of the day happened to be cancelled! I no longer had to worry about scrambling to get there, instead taking my time getting ready and getting ahead in my workload for the week. The stars were aligned (although perhaps not for my professor, who cancelled class on account of getting sick). Sometimes we screw up and get lucky — this is one of the many beautiful mysteries of life I choose not to question. Instead, I’m just happy I’m chilling out today. Enjoy the week, thanks for reading!

OTM #37: Diner

During fall break, I went home to see my family as I usually do. It was super relaxing and peaceful, and great to see everyone again. In a cartoonishly funny coincidence, though, I got invited to the same diner three days in a row. It’s one of my boyfriend and I’s favorites, and every time I go there I get the same thing – I can’t help it, the spinach and feta omelette is so good! Funny enough, the server was also the same each day. I was certain she’d recognize me, embarrassed about how silly I looked. On day two, I was saved; she either didn’t recognize me or chose not to acknowledge my repetitive eating habits. But day three, she brought it up. Even though she was sweet and happy about it, I felt like I was in a second-hand embarrassment scene in a sitcom. Right after calling me out for coming again, she asked for my order, and I avoided eye contact as I ordered the same thing for the third day in a row. Embarrassing. But so good. It was worth it.

OTM #36: Reflection

My favorite class at the moment requires great amounts of personal reflection — sometimes more than I am comfortable with, in fact. Our essay prompts ask us to think of big “why” questions and reflect on what matters to us, something that is really exciting to me (but also sometimes scary). For the final draft of my most recent essay, I had to dig into my teenage experience on the harsh acne medication, Accutane, and I found it was hard to truly uncover those memories in a normal setting.

So, I created a “torture chamber” for myself: lights shut off, noise-cancelling headphones on with a selection of music I liked in high school. Instantly, I was able to transport myself into the body of my younger self, who was deeply insecure about her acne. I’ve grown a lot since that point, of course, but sometimes art requires us to enter these negative headspaces to draw out meaning, and I’ve always found that to be oddly fun. What is my joy without the past Katelyn’s suffering, you know? On that note, I hope all of you UMich students (myself included) have a lovely fall break free of suffering! Thanks for reading.