Blurry pen drawing of sun, peace signs, and a mourning dove


April 8, 2020

Since the pandemic began, the director where I work has been talking more about the mental health benefits of drawing—not professional-quality drawing, but simply picking up a pen or pencil and distracting yourself by putting that utensil to whatever paper you have on hand and creating something.

Just this morning it occurred to me that I used to doodle quite a bit—without, I feel compelled to note, analysis or shame. Little animals and peace signs and a goofy cartoon character here and there.

I don’t remember actively stopping this little habit of mine, and have no idea how long it has been since I stopped. It must have happened sometime after college. I only noticed when I was recently rearranging furniture and found some of my old journals. It surprised me to see those familiar images from my youth. How could I have forgotten this?

I thought about the person who would have drawn such images—peace signs and mourning doves. I thought of her as if she were someone else. I figured I would have liked this person—that we’d probably be friends.

Of course, I didn’t consciously think these things. More like, I felt them. Warmth and admiration for that burgeoning young woman who doodled with humor and abandon. A person, apparently, I no longer knew.

If we were to merge, that past me with the present me, I wonder, what would we doodle now?

Goofy line drawing of cartoon character with toothy smile, mismatched eyes, bare feet, and a spinny hat