It always astonishes me how, in the thick of depression, I manage to reliably show up for work. With the exception of the flu which put me out for a week, and a severely sprained ankle a few years back, I don’t think I’ve ever canceled a modeling booking – certainly not for those “I can’t get out of bed because I’m miserable” reasons. I have been tempted, mind you. As much as I love modeling, I’m still not immune to those thoughts. Sometimes, when it feels like things are falling apart and a crippling anxiety grabs a hold of me (as it is doing these past few days) I will entertain the idea of picking up the phone and canceling the day’s job. Yesterday was one of those days. But I didn’t cancel. The lovely artists at Daniel Schwartz‘s painting group were expecting me, and I didn’t want to let them down. I also wanted to maintain my ability to function. Not functioning is the precursor to breaking, and I refuse to allow myself to break. Cracking and slipping I can accept. But not breaking.
I inherited this quality from my late father. Call it a work ethic I guess. Dad never canceled work, and I do mean never. A musician who supported his family working club dates in and around New York City, he made it onto the bandstand for every gig he booked, for over four decades. No cold, toothache, stomach ailment, or family turmoil kept him away from earning his living. I still don’t know how he did it for all those years. And it looks like his granddaughter, my niece Olivia, who was only two years old when my Dad died, is showing signs of the same dependability. She is finishing up her school year with perfect attendance. What a splendid way to complete the 5th grade
So in Dan’s studio overlooking Union Square Park, we had our painting session last night, as scheduled. At the moment Dan opened the door when I arrived I knew I was in a better place than home in bed, curled up in the fetal position, wallowing in my own misery. With the group’s suggestion that I keep on my tank top and cargo pants, I posed pensively in a big comfy chair. Portable easels were unfolded, paint tubes were squeezed out, and off we went. Annie, who has painted me many times, created this piece in the three hour session. I think she did a fine job capturing my introspective state: