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  • Writer's pictureTsunami Hee Ja

Just Breathe

Good times!

Change of season brings with it the slightly warmer weather I have been dreaming about, but alas, with it comes pollen - pollen everywhere. Regular hay fever sufferers will understand my woes, because they too are afflicted with breathing difficulties at this time of year. For my part, I struggle with perpetually constricted airways, which I manage with medication, but this month the ol' lungs are getting an extra brutal work out.

Because stress! There's been a lot on lately, and while I know I'm not the only crazy-busy artist out there burning the proverbial candle at both ends, I can definitely attest to this being one of the most demanding stretches of my personal career, not least of all because the family/home front has been just as demanding. Thankfully the madness is winding down now, and I'm looking at a more sensible work/life schedule at last (but wow, for a while there it was pretty nuts). Adelaide's first Papercuts Comic Festival has come to a close, and was a truly excellent experience. I enjoyed meeting a bunch of new artists, as well as some old acquaintances previously only spoken to via social media. My "Talking Pictures" performance went well from all reports, but I can tell you - the anxiety struggle leading up to it was very real.

Combined with my unreliable airways, the event might have made for the perfect Tsunami-assassin, leaving me face down on the stage and gasping for air in front of a live audience. Thankfully the "high-functioning" part of my neuroses kicked in and I calmed down considerably as soon as I started reading. I've certainly talked in front of my share of crowds, though never with giant projections of my artwork flashing behind me on a screen for public scrutiny! It was a moment I'll certainly not forget in a hurry.

The work of the other participating artists was exceptional. As usual I was completely intimidated by the talent of my peers, both on the Saturday night, and then while wandering around and perusing their market stall wares. All of them seem to be unfailingly lovely people - and super cool too, so therefore extremely intimidating because I'm about as edgy as a ping pong ball. All in all it was an amazing weekend, but as my comic suggests, I have gone through it with less breath in my lungs than I might like. Thank goodness for my happy little shakers (Ventolin and Seretide), my super supportive husband, and a handful of excellent friends who showed up to watch me flail awkwardly.

Thanks so much to everybody who came along to support me, and to everyone who stopped to buy my work or offer encouragement over the weekend. Believe it or not, you all make breathing that little bit easier.

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