A-to-Z Challenge, Day 3: Changelingcore and Chaotic Academia

Today I was back at work and feeling kind of uncomfortable about it, honestly – I mean, I just tested positive on Thursday and I’m already back?  But I called our nursing department on Friday morning, told them the entire timeline – onset of symptoms, when I tested, etc. – and they said that so long as my symptoms were improving, I was set to be able to return today.  Given that my symptoms never progressed beyond more than a common cold, and that I feel basically at my typical baseline today, I guess that means I’m… good?  I feel fine, I’m double-masked, liberally hand-sanitizing, taking my lunch break outdoors, and following all the protocols and then some.  It just feels, I don’t know.  Strange.

Today I’m having a real tough time choosing between two aesthetics, to the point where I feel like I might try to combine them (especially since, in my head – and honestly, in my experiences – the two often go together).

Today’s aesthetics are: Changelingcore and Chaotic Academia

From the Wiki entry for Changelingcore:

Changelingcore is an aesthetic that borrows ideas from Goblincore, holding the same idea of mischief, as well as loving the parts of nature that are shunned by others. The aesthetic also holds onto a degree of melancholy, tying back into its original creation for and by the Neurodivergent community and the stigma/misunderstanding that often comes with it.

Chaotic Academia:

Chaotic Academia is an aesthetic that involves haphazard routines, messy habits, unusual or banned literature, and studying with a passion. This subtype of Academia promotes the acceptance of messy or seemingly uncomposed traits some students may have.

There are a few inherent similarities about these two aesthetics – a few overlapping motifs, and the overall vibe of being something other, living in chaos, bucking accepted or expected standards (for the more “physical” motifs, I suggest checking out the wiki). I – in my work, in my personal life, in my own lived academic experience – cannot separate the idea of neurodivergence from my experience of either academia or life in general.  I am neurodivergent (most likely ADHD working in tandem with my anxiety, though autism has been suggested – at this stage of my life knowing would be nice, but not motivating enough for me to jump through all the hoops with my insurance), my wife, my son, and several friends are neurodivergent, all my students are neurodivergent.  Neurodivergence is an integral part of my life, and so is academia, and the cross-section of the two feels like a very comfortable, very familiar space in which to play.

I’m seeing a floor, or a bed – a girl lying across the canvas on the diagonal, one hand draped over her eyes, casting them in shadow but not obscuring them entirely.  Her hair is tied back, but poorly, clearly having been slept in for several nights without being re-done, and her clothing is mismatched – a faded band shirt and a button up flannel, and either novelty booty shorts or Hello Kitty pajama bottoms.  She is barefoot, the soles of her feet dirty and calloused.  The hand draped across her face is either close enough to her mouth that she can bite her nails, or she is also biting the nails of her other hand.  She has band-aids wrapped around several fingers, as well as her forearm and the bridge of her nose.  It is clear she hasn’t slept, though she doesn’t seem distressed, just sleepy.  Opened across her lap is a thick book with a notebook balanced atop it; on top of that is a pencil case, some stray pencils and highlighters spilling out into the gully between the pages and onto the floor.  Next to her is a growing colony of empty coffee cups, water bottles – several of which are crammed with cigarette butts – and a fan of vinyl albums that have clearly been careless tossed aside in the search of the perfect soundtrack (the corner of the turntable, a robin’s egg blue, at the periphery of the scene). The room is ringed in fairy lights, twinkling in an eerie ethereal luminance (a warm red/pink, or a cool blue? Don’t know yet). There is a feeling of uncanniness, of unreality about the scene, but in a manner of a dream — peaceful, not disturbing.

I’m really interested in drawing lots of details and ephemera, so ideas like this appeal in the moment, though I don’t know how I’ll fee about the necessary effort in the coming months. Still, this is on the table now, and I’m not pulling it back now.

Hope you all are doing well. I think this is the first year I’ve done this when I have been on time with all my entries thus far — yeah, I’m celebrating that milestone three whole days in, woo. I am a trash fire, guys. Usually. I’m weirdly doing pretty well so far this year.

I’m still puttering away on two other drawings and trying to get my poetry notebook off the ground, so hopefully my energy comes back soon.


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