1. will you draw me/ my family/ my dog?
the hard (for me), really uncomfortable answer is probably not. i really want to be able to. i have accepted commissions in the past. (that feels like a very lofty thing to say. i have never accepted money for a drawing except a series of yoga drawings i did, but we'll get there.) but the truth is: it doesn't speak to me. i draw when i feel like drawing. i draw when something funny or weird or sentimental happens; i draw when our faces look a certain way, when life looks a certain way, when it seems impossible to not encapsulate an experience or person into a drawing.
i can't just summon that. i really can't. it takes me usually less around 1-2 minutes to do a drawing. i don't think about it. just like my piles of words, it just sort of falls out of me.
when people ask me to draw them, i feel sweaty and anxious. i start thinking about people's perception instead of just doing. i draw the picture 3000 times. it is the antithesis of the process i cherish. sometimes it looks good. sometimes it doesn't. but either way, it's not right for me. it's not how i like to work. and the truth of the matter is, most people kind of end up looking the same. unless you have funny hair or a mustache or a real zany pair of glasses or some other signature feature, everyone just kind of ends up looking like... me. a round ball with a round ball of hair on my head.
the exception: my awesome friend, laurie, who owns a yoga studio and also hosts 200 hour yoga teacher trainings, hired me to do illustrations of the different yoga poses for her training manual. weirdly, i LOVED this. it was zero pressure to recreate a certain person's essence, but instead gave me a really cool challenge in drawing different people in different shapes plus a bunch of freedom to create weird hairstyles/ body types/ outfits. as it turns out, i have an affinity for sweatbands, top knots, and big booties.
so i'm not saying it's impossible that i want to draw something for you, just highly unlikely. and i feel really sorry about that, but it's just how it goes.
2. are you okay?
these are pretty much the only 2 questions i actually get asked.
YES, I AM OKAY.
i write a lot of words that make it sound like i'm not okay. okay is a very low level expectation for existence in my opinion. i assume it means: i am going to keep living and not entirely lose my shit.
so yes, i'm okay. a lot of the time i'm way better than okay. a lot of the time i'm worse. i live big. i live emotionally. i feel everything x 1000, and the truth of the matter is, i tend to write when i'm unhappy or troubled and i don't when i'm fine. so what you're seeing is my least resplendent self.
but i have a handle on it all. i am not going to go off the deep end. i am not going to hurt myself. ever. when i need help, i will ask. really.
3. i don't know you, but i really relate to you. can i ask you something/ can we have coffee/ will you sign my cast?
okay, no one's ever actually asked me to sign their cast, but i really wish they would. i don't think i'm famous, but maybe i wish i were, because it does seem like a really important honor.
otherwise, yes. i am 100% as transparent as i seem. i want to talk to you. i don't always respond quickly because sometimes it's all boobs and poop and tears over here, but making connections is basically my top life priority. i don't think you're weird for stalking me on instagram. i probably stalk you too. i don't think your question is weird, because i've probably had the same question. i don't think it's weird to want to engage with another person for any reason. whatever reason. because connecting to other humans is basically the only thing keeping me going. it's what life IS.
you can email me at: email@example.com, and i will do my best to respond quickly.
or see my face (or mostly my baby's face) IRL at @bethalli on instagram.
if you are reading this and i've never met you, send me a message. please. i swear it's super important to me, and you are super important to me. i mean that in the least cheesy way possible.
4. why don't you use capital letters?
i think somewhere in high school, during the onset of what ended up to be a (so far) lifetime of moody blues, i got really into poetry, specifically e.e. cummings and his staccato of nonsensical, heart-fluttering, totally beautiful words. given that he doesn't use capitals either, i am 90% sure that that's where this came from (the other 10% likely just being laziness?).
i know it's sooooo inspired and original, but i've been doing it so long now that it's just how words look right to me.
5. do people really ask you these questions?
not really. i've mostly made up a FAQs page to make myself feel important. people DO ask me super regularly if i'll draw them. otherwise the questions people usually ask me are more like, will you watch my baby?, do you wear anything other than leggings?, and when can i see melby?
but bear with me, because it makes me feel good to think i need a FAQs page.