WOW!!! HAVE THINGS RECENTLY GOTTEN HEAVY AROUND HERE OR WHAT?
ALL THE WORLD'S WEIGHT
Depending on how close you live to a densely populated area, life may be varying degrees of "normal" for you right now. As for me, your humble narrator who lives right in the center of densely populated San Francisco, things have gotten a little heavy recently, and they may very well be this way for some time.
Many of you know I work in elementary age after school programs within the public school district. The Thursday before last, we found out that the SFUSD would be out for three weeks instead of the normal one week for spring break. I've heard from some districts that some schools may be two months or more. People were told that if they didn't have to go out for work, buy food, or other essential activities, then PLEASE STAY HOME. Our SF public libraries have become make shift child care centers for those who don't have that luxury, but since I suffer from asthma and have had respiratory issues since childhood, I am probably more in the "at risk"group than the "young and healthy" group. So since Friday evening of last week, I for the most part have been staying at home and practicing social distancing. Not that I am totally house bound, I made it out to the market the other day and today finds me cat sitting for some dear friends (in fact I have a cat half asleep and purring on my left arm as I type this first draft) but for the most part, I am staying at home and keeping to myself.
Oh, how I miss these furry purring machines. There is a warm sense of calm that comes from a purring cat in your lap. In the upcoming weeks and possibly months, isn't that what we are all gonna need? Not necessarily a cat or dog (for those of us who are allergic), but things to help us stay calm, things to help keep our spirits up. We all will need things that will give us hope, because the situation here will probably get worse before it gets better.
RAIN RAIN GO AWAY
A lot of the people I know are already stuck at home. Honestly, if you aren't confined now, you possibly will be very soon and for some of us, it has already been up to a week of isolation. Now, the introvert in me figures this is really no big deal. Even with the next few weeks full of free time, I've got more creative projects to complete than free time to finish them all.
(and not to mention magic cards or video games which I'm trying to put off as long as possible) I expect that a few of you a have a Project list or To Do list as well. But, another part of me craves the social interaction and affirmation of when I am at school with all of the kids or hanging out with my adult friends. So instead of continuing to complain about my Claypool concerts being postponed, I decided to put my time and energy into something more positive and productive.
FEELING SOME FEELINGS YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE
I received a sticker shipment in the mail the other day and it made me really happy. Since I was seven years old, I have loved stickers. My father owned a bicycle shop as I was growing up. I customized my bike's first BMX number plate with a fox sticker centered in the middle of my lucky # 7. On weekends, my siblings and I would work all day just for the opportunity to pick out a sticker from the store's sticker cabinet so i could add it to my number plate. As I got a little older, I learned that working for actual money could get me even more stickers as well as other such things for my effort. Stickers were little pieces of art and logo that i could place (almost) anywhere i chose.
But as I said, I got stickers in the mail the other day and they made me happy, like really, really happy. This got me to thinking and then a bit later on, the tears came. As I have said in my previous blog post, I have decided that if something moves me to tears, then I need to share it with people. I recently got into making and selling stickers because of some friends at work that had made a few custom stickers from a website.
With all of the the new digital art I have been creating, uploading my drawings was easy. The stickers were made and shipped to me in less than a week. I got a great response and have seen them all over my friend's laptops and water bottles.
My new realization was that things are gonna get real dark and lonely soon and I wanted the people that I love to know that despite the distancing social or otherwise, that I still valued them and they were still currently in my thoughts. So I began writing cards and stuffing envelopes with stickers to send in the mail. I raided my contacts list and started reaching out for addresses. Surprise to them or not, I wanted to share little bits of colored vinyl joy with the people I know and love.
I CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO DIE
That being said, I don't always know who reads these and who appreciates the things I do and say from a distance, so I then decided that whoever reads this blog post and wants to be included and would like some FREE STICKERS from me then just reach out or DM me or PM me or somehow
get me your address and as long as i can, i will send out free stickers to my friends and loved ones. If you have bought stickers from me in the past, I will happily send you more. If you would like to support me by purchasing ToddoT stuff, things are still available on my Etsy site and your continued support is always greatly appreciated. https://www.etsy.com/shop/toddotArt
I know that at the moment, sending these stickers out to friends who are going through a collective tough time, outweighs any dreams of making any money back that I spent on creating them. I just remember the happy feeling of getting something colorful in the mail from a loved one and I would like to do this for others during this tough time while we are all at home climbing the walls.
I WAS UP ABOVE IT, BUT NOW I'M DOWN IN IT
The original title for this article was going to be, "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends" but I realized that I didn't want to make the message about needing help. Right now, I want to be the one helping and setting the example by lightening emotional burdens by passing along some color and good cheer in the form of cards and stickers. I recently learned about Spoon Theory and I want to give you some of my spoons, while I've still got some to spare, before they become scarce. That is part of my goal and mission of my art. And i urge you to sit down and give someone a call or write someone a note or put a card in the mail or somehow let someone know that you care. In these upcoming weeks and possibly months, a lot of us will be struggling at home with these feelings of loneliness and disconnectedness. Many of us don't have someone at home that we can hug when we need one. I think back to exactly one year ago, I was with Val in the upper Haight painting our Golden Gate Bridge mural. It was beautiful to be out in the rain and sunshine, painting all day and meeting people and talking while sharing smiles and color and laughs and love. That was one of the greatest moments of my life. And that is what i am missing right now, the sunshine and those human connections.
I know I could really use a big hug right now too. How about you?
So, over the next few days and weeks I will be doing my very best to send out stickers to both suspecting and unsuspecting peoples. The CDC says it is extremely unlikely to catch the virus by mail, so i think this is a safe activity. Like i said, if you want some stickers, just let me know and i will do my best to get them in the mail for you. And i realize that just sending stickers out isn't gonna feed anyone or get their medication secured, but it is something small to brighten someone's day that I can do from my bedroom. If I can help keep your darkness at bay just for a little bit longer then it is worth my time and energy and attention.
“I have found that it is the small everyday deed of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." ~ Gandalf (J. R. R. Tolkein ~ The Hobbit)”
I encourage you to go through your friends and loved ones list and make a phone call or write a letter or make a note or a card and let someone know that you are thinking about them despite our social distancing, we all need to be reminded that:
WE ARE ALL LOVED AND VALUED
AND WE ARE NOT ALONE, NOT FORGOTTEN,
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
I love you all.
Thanks for following along.
Spread the light,
Love is our tribe,
Feel free to comment or share. Is this a good idea? Am I just being dumb? Am I missing something? Would you like me to send you some stickers too? Let me know what you think.
I will be at home for a while...