A New Year, a New Warpcon. The countdown to Warpcon is usually pretty front and centre in my brain through January, but this year the time has slid right past with lots more pressing concerns swelling and occupying all the space in my brain. I think the fact that the Pre-Exams are so early has upped the pressure at work the last three weeks, plus the illness from hell which finally seems to have turned a bit of a corner.

So Warpcon is tomorrow. G. calls it his “true” New Year – as in it’s the time of year when he actually evaluates the previous 12 months and examines where he is and sets goals and stuff. I usually land into Warpcon feeling a bit frustrated as it can throw off three weeks of getting going on the resolution treadmill; it’s previously thrown my running schedule off, my art schedule off, my diet and not-drinking schedule off – you get the idea.

Well, this year my running schedule is already off thanks to hell week of pressure-doom followed by hell-week of illness, so … yay? I can definitely reset that post-Warpcon. And not-drinking is so well established it’s not even a concern. And art just never really got going this year.

Actually speaking of art, I’ve been having a thought for a drawing project that excites me.

I’ve noticed a lot of friends and acquaintances who are going to /have recently turned 40 doing 40-somethings to mark the whole thing. And I was thinking a bit about body acceptance, which is something you’ve either got to start coming to terms with by 40 or else you’ve got to just get used to living miserable. So, I’ve got a thought to do 40 self-portraits. But I’d quite like to do some body self-portraits, and maybe use some interesting light, and I’m not quite sure how I’ll get things set up because I suppose taking self-photos would be good but it’s not so easy to get the framing the way I might do it if I were just drawing. I can ask G. to take my picture but he’s a lot taller than me and the angle always comes out really “off”. I suppose I could be really specific in direction, but it’s a bit of an ask on someone else and it’s frustrating to be micromanaged in someone else’s artistic vision. I think it probably is anyway.

I’ll figure something out though because I’m kind of excited about it. And maybe there’ll be some teething problems in getting the preliminary sketches or photos or whatever I’ll need to work from, but I’m excited enough to be selfish enough to push through that and get what I want.

I’m weirdly excited about the thought of drawing my own body. Coz it’s actually really interesting now. There’s a weird dimpling on the flesh of my belly that goes beyond “normal” stretch-marks, which I’ve only ever seen one other place – the deflated-balloon belly of my sister who also carried twins. I remember when I first saw her belly post-twins (I guess they were about 8 or 9 by then?) and feeling really really horrified and sorry for her.

I judge myself and my reaction now more than anything else. But maybe we all can judge the thoughts and actions of younger more ignorant selves.

And I think my proportions and body parts are no longer where I imagine them to be, so I think it would be an interesting exercise to truly attempt to draw what I see. But not in a “tracing life” way. I’m looking for something more than that. I think I’m looking for self-appreciation.

At the start of Summer last year (maybe it wasn’t even Summer!) I posted some pictures of my overweight self in a bathing suit splashing around with my boys in a paddling pool. I really had to over-come a big chunk of inner shame and body-hate in order to post those pictures online, but now they are some of my favourite images of myself with my children. Because we were all filled with unadulterated joy, and we were playing together, and my arms were strong and able to hold them, and what a goddamn joyous luxury that is! and how dare I take it for granted! and how dare I think it less.

So I’m done with thinking myself less. But I recognise it’s not as easy as just saying it, so I’m going to put some doing behind that thought and behind that statement.

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