Portraits

Show me through the longest way home

Mao Asada (浅田真央) is a former Japanese figure skater much loved and admired for her dedication in what she does, despite being in a system where many worthwhile things couldn’t fit into. Many people have noted how Mao’s artistic maturity in the later part of her career didn’t translate well into results at competitions within the judging system then.

At times, I wonder what drove her to keep skating competitively. Did she feel like she couldn’t live without the thing she’d been doing for almost all her life? I remember in one of her radio interviews, Mao mentioned she had no idea what she wants to do with her time during her off-year after the 2014 Sochi Olympics. I often wonder the same thing about why I keep drawing after all these years. Does the years spent focusing on one single thing make one have no idea how else to spend time, to live?

Perhaps this is what “emptying yourself” mean; to just do your own things until there’s nothing left to give, to fully live the only way you know how until you find something else.

To gather enough courage to say, “I’ve done all I could, I’ve no regret.”

To put those many years of hard work and passion to rest.

To cultivate a love for something else, to work on it as earnestly.

Thank you for everything, Mao.