I have lost count of the number of times I have moved. The number of times I have packed up my life in an assortment of boxes, pins and trash bags (yeah, I'll admit it's happened). The times those boxes have been loaded and unloaded, piled up and slowly gone through, one by one. The lingering smattering of boxes that never seem to get unpacked, no matter how much I mean to, or how much time has passed. Moving.
My wife and I have also made the drive between New Hampshire and south western Pennsylvania countless times. We have it down to a familiar trek; a journey we may not necessarily greet like a friend, but like a well-known frenemy who has some beautiful scenery and some uncomfortable truths tucked into their hills and curves. There are many pro-Trump and MAGA signs between here and New Hampshire. Lots of truck stops. Run down towns. Endless miles of corn fields, stunning overlooks, a gorgeous sunset, a whole beautiful range of wind turbines. It's a mixed bag of a drive that we know well.
It's usually a 10 hour trip, plus 30 minutes or so for pee breaks and gas. But, with the car loaded with our pup and one cat, plus a u-haul with 2 more cats, lugging our truck... the 10 hour trip stretched to 14 and a half. It was a long, long day.
And that's kinda how I feel about where we have settled for the time being (however long that is - at this point we aren't really sure). I feel very lucky to be living in a lovely old house with some fun projects for us to complete to make it feel more like home. And because this lovely house also has a big yard, my wife and I also spent a week working together to put in a vegetable garden. It's so nice, with three large raised beds, and a little chicken wire fence to keep out the resident bunnies. I get to feed my spirit each day gardening.
But, this lovely old house and big yard happen to be in an anything-but-lovely neighborhood, and it's an adjustment for me.
So I have been taking my time, settling into the house, making little bits and pieces feel like mine, and exploring this place in a new way. I'm trying to make friends with this environment, in a way I never did before. We've found a beautiful walking/biking trail to take our dog Jojo to. And, we discovered a beautiful local greenhouse with very affordable plants. There's a grocery store that carries our favorite deli meat and organic apples. It's the small things that add up to home, and I'm working on finding them.
With all the settling, exploring, house projects and gardening, I don't really know how I found the time to get back to my #100daysofqueerwomenandfemmes project, but I did. But, it was with some caveats.
I have been loving this project so much. Getting back to the work, and re-discovering that joy & that love reminded me why I want to take my time with it. I don't want to be rushed or panicked that I have to complete an illustration every single day, because that might lead to illustrations I'm not totally proud of. Ultimately, I want to love the work, and I want to dedicate the time each portrait or phrase requires. Some days I might not have enough time to take an illustration from start to finish. Some days I might be more in the mood to do line drawings.
So, I gave myself permission to create 100 total illustrations for the project, even if they don't work out to be one a day, or if some of them take three days, or maybe I am really in an illustrating mood and I get 2 done at once (hey, it could happen!!) I decided to continue using my #100daysofqueerwomenandfemmes tag but, tweaking the rules a bit made the project more manageable and fun, and we could all use a little more of that, right?
So, here's to 100 illustrations celebrating queer femmes, including this queer femme, who is so grateful for everyone who takes the time to participate in my project and support my work <3 I couldn't do it without you.
Callie Garp has a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Tufts University. Keep up with Callie here.