I’m a huge nerd. I grew up watching a lot of fantastical and post-apocalyptic anime, and I’m a former literary history student with a fondness for medieval poetry. Having spent enough time with Chaucer, Boccaccio, Satoshi Kon, and Hideaki Anno—most of whom tend to leave their audiences hanging or uncomfortable—I learned to appreciate stories with ambiguous endings. I’ve carried this same sentiment into my sketchbooks.
These days, I frame my life less as a sensible narrative with a rise and fall, and more as a series of small, densely packed moments that leave sweet and sour aftertastes. These moments are the ones I choose to draw in my sketchbooks, usually several months after they’ve actually occurred. The unimportant things, I forget. What’s left for me to draw is what matters: moments of wisdom, aged by feelings that have grown more complex and multi-dimensional over time.
Here are a few moments that have stuck with me:
When I first moved to San Francisco, I started dating someone—less because it made sense to date him in particular, and more because I was enamored with the idea of christening my new city with a new relationship: new city, new boy, new me! Predictably, things didn’t work out, because that’s what happens when you rush into things for the wrong reasons.
Over a year after dumping me, however, he asked me out to boba. Somehow, we ended up seeing each other again. And again, predictably, things didn’t work out. Apparently, I saw things differently the second time around. I rarely drink alcohol, but that doesn’t stop me from attributing my poor life decisions to boys touting sweet beverages.
I met one of my best friends, Cory, over two years ago. Since meeting him, I’ve probably drawn him about ten times. A savvy reporter with a sharp tongue but a heart of gold, Cory has provided me with many invaluable nuggets of wisdom. One of the most memorable nuggets was a sobering reminder that I tend to assume the best in people too quickly.
In some cases, this just means that someone who I thought had excellent taste in clothes, music, books, or food actually doesn’t. In more serious cases, this means that I have a difficult time distinguishing charm from crazy. In any case, and particularly the latter, I keep this axiom close to my heart.
In 8th grade, I met a girl named Mira who is now one of my oldest and closest friends. Mira is much more charismatic and social than I am. During our younger years, I always thought were two sides of one coin: she was the outgoing and social one; I was the quiet and taciturn one.
However, a few years ago, she told me that she’s actually a total introvert. I realized two things: First, that our introversion was probably what brought us together in the first place. Second, that I had completely misunderstood one of my best friends. But that’s water under the bridge at this point. Lately, we’ve started characterizing ourselves as shiba inus, who aren’t exactly the cuddliest of dogs. But they’re not jerks, they’re just independent. Just like me and Mira.
At the end of the day, I use these moments to remind myself that I can always adapt when life doesn’t work out exactly as I expect. And if all else fails, finding humor in turbulent moments is the quickest solution for a bad day.
Read more from our What's in my Moleskine series here.