First Thing's Last: What To Do About (Something)
- Drink water! Replace your soda with flavored water! Drink water, even in the winter, when all you want is coffee or cocoa! FUCK, DRINK WATER WITH YOUR COFFEE, GET EUROPEAN ABOUT IT, YO. Organ damage the least of your worries; as a creative person you need to stave off the effects of chronic dehydration - things like fatigue, sleepiness, brain fog, or even lack of appetite, which brings us to:
- EAT FOOD. Eat good food. Eat lots of good, fatty, protein-rich food. Don't have bread and pasta and beer, have meat and veg and fresh fruit. Bacon is scientifically better for your brain than starbux, sorry. Make sure you're eating at least a little bit of each thing (so that brick of cheese depression dinner, maybe not), and that you have a daily walking routine of 20 minutes in a go, and 5 to 10 smaller walking and stretching breaks every hour of sitting time. Your brain needs oxygen and circulation as well as fuel, yo.
- Go to the doctor. Go to the body doctor, the eye or mouth doctor, the head or hoo-haa doctor. Go even when you can't afford it, you can seriously pay that shit off like 50 bucks a month they don't care, fuck insurance, go to the doctor. Go to all the doctors, even if you don't think you need to, because chances are you do actually need to and that's the only reason you've been putting it off. They won't break your kneecaps about the money, I promise. Just go.
- Move out of that bad situation. You know exactly what I'm talking about. Find a friend willing to leave their shitty situation, and split the rent on a new place. Don't wait for it to get 'bad enough' to be proactive; it is MUCH easier to leave a shitty situation if you aren't in a panic about it, and you deserve to return home to some semblance of respite and recovery, and not more stress.
Currently the only excuse I have for slow or absent updates is mere health - I've had a handful of un-diagnosed chronic illnesses most of my life, and now that I'm past the angsty vigor of my twenties those problems have come back around to hit pretty hard. My family never made annual over the poverty line, nor stayed in place for very long, nor addressed any on the laundry-list of mental and emotional retardations from which they suffered; so it was a perilous (if not interesting) childhood I got to survive, with preventable or treatable diseases allowed to run their course unchecked, because reasons.
So now I'm poor AND crippled. The good news is, being physically incapacitated is a great excuse to be sitting down all the time to draw. The bad news is, with pain and fatigue comes a similar brain failure, a watering-down of creativity and drive and focus, a total eclipse of the art.
There are other excuses, of course; general homelessness and unemployment, moving across the country to escape both; living in a motel for half a year, that sort of thing. Mostly stuff that a living wage and employee benefits could fix, but hey, I'm on the older seesaw plank of millennialism, I've been bitching about this sorta thing since the 90s.
This isn't a begging post, nor a pity post. Just a sharing one. Even if all I had to say was, look, I met this BANGIN old nerd on Gaia and flew six hours to spend a weekend with her for an 18-hour acid trip and a date to the aquarium? Still an excuse. Life happens. Sometimes life happens and it's GREAT, and sometimes life happens and it's really, really BAD.
But I've also spent most of my sitting-down time on things that aren't art, and that's not an excuse. Just a confession. I've binged Netflix and took to new video games and read some books and wrote some fanfiction; I've drawn completely self-indulgent pieces and whittled away the evenings talking to friends that now live hundreds of miles away. I've gone down the wikipedia rabbithole and spent most of this summer nose-deep in comics and manga; I've consumed far more media than I've created, and there's really no excuse for that.
I think I'm just scared. I think old age caught up to me and now I'm actually scared to make mistakes or try new things or risk being seen as anything other than positive. I'm afraid that my self-image has calcified in all the victories I've so far been able to achieve, and, because failure used to mean literal starvation, homelessness or general loss of safety/health, the work used to be so much easier.
It's easy to go to a dayjob and collect a paycheck. It's easy to keep a steady circle of friendships with people who make you feel almost exclusively good about yourself. It's easy to be in a relationship wherein you just want the other person to feel good about themselves. Sickness, pain, economic peril, okay - those things aren't easy, and need attending to, and are perfectly good excuses for giving up on some of your dreams, even temporarily, but Netflix? Tumblr? That fiction series you've read twice already? That BOGFUCK of a webcomic that updates every day and you're only just started on last July's backlog?
What's difficult, is giving up all the things that exclusively make you feel good - hobbies, indulgences, entertainments, relationships - for something that only risks that happiness - hard work, little to no reward, critical examinations from strangers, mistakes and failures.
It's difficult, and you're going to make excuses.
But there are 24 hours in a day. 8 for sleep, 8 for work, 4 for travel and maintenance, and four - four measly hours each day - where you should sit down and Do The Work. Cut it in half to two hours a day, and that's still more than no hours a day. Don't even get me started on weekends, or whatever your equivalent days-off are.
Scale them work hours down to part-time, rough it in a cheap neighborhood, hey presto SO MUCH time now freed for you to do that art thang.
I am going to do the thing. I am going to do the art thing. Get hype. Get so hype, and do the thing.
But also drink water and take care of your corpus and balance some sociability into your mental health routine, ok?