Written: February 2024

The NHS website lists one of the symptoms of autism as ‘having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities.’ However, I believe that the CDC’s wording better fits my experience - they define the same symptom as ‘[having] obsessive interests.’ My ‘obsessive interest’ is fish.

Fish are marveled at in aquariums, their pure existence brings absolute happiness. That’s part of the reason I make work about marine life: I enjoy exploring those emotions. Sometimes life is hard, and I struggle a lot with my mental health, so why not obsessively draw fish and have some fun. At its core, my work is also about childhood - more specifically, about how easily I felt completely entranced or engaged back then.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve lost a lot of that: I enjoy things, but never that much. Nothing feels new any more and I’m scared of the future. While I am obsessed with fish, I’m also obsessed with finding those moments where I do feel like a kid, completely captivated and amazed by something.

For the past year, it has been marine life that brings me this- maybe it will change, but in a potentially hedonistic manner, I’m not sure that I will ever stop chasing a future where I can feel engaged and happy (the majority of the time) again.

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