Making yourself take another step every day is harder some days than others.
But the goal is always to be a better YOU today than you were yesterday.
That’s what I’ve been working on recently.
With the website done, and a number of projects in the barrel I want to work on, it’s a fine line of trying to walk a path that allows me time to do all of that while still maintaining the responsibilities I have outside that framework. It’s a high-wire act sometimes. It’s damn near impossible at others. But as long as I keep trying and keep doing my best, I feel it’s worth it.
So lately, I’ve been trying to take the extra step to make sure that when I’m doing something or working on some project or making myself participate in some kind of social activity(which is often harder done than said), that I’m doing what I can to make people happy along the way while I work on my own happiness and my own mental state.
Even this blog, technically in its infancy, is like that. Recording my thoughts here, I know those of you reading…. there are not yet many of you. But, that doesn’t mean there won’t be eventually and some may go back and read old posts. So I want these posts to be as much a chronicle of HOW I’m doing as WHAT I’m doing.
I feel like understanding the mental state of an artist can be a unique window into their work. I’m sure that I’m not alone and that is far from a unique perspective, but this is my contribution to that.
So last week, when I participated in a travelling dice box where people trade dice in a circle, I made sure to include some of my hand painted sets that are so well received and enjoyed by members of that community. When someone I follow on social media who is rather a prominent figure in the “geek community” came down sick, I did a portrait of one of her RPG characters and tweeted it to her to cheer her up a bit as part of my practice and warm up while I was getting my art legs back under me.
I tell you this not to brag about good deeds, but to record for myself how I felt after doing those things. It was nice to see the next person who got the box thrilled to pull one of my sets. And it was heartwarming to see that under the weather figure appreciate the work I did and feel a touch better because of it. It made me feel good, feel better, to do those things. And feeling good about yourself is an important part of self care.
I know very well, that even as an artist, I cannot live my life to simply please other people. That way lies madness and further, deeper depression. Especially if it goes badly. But I can pay it forward. Because the person I sent that portrait to has provided me with hours of laughs and entertainment. And the people I sent those dice to have been so amazing as a community and made me so welcome. So why wouldn’t I want to pay their generosity and kindness forward? Or back?
There’s a wonderful Bo Burnham song that he did for his special Make Happy that has always resonated very deeply with me since I saw it because it’s SO true as an artist, and especially as an artist who has some troubles with their mental health. I don’t know if Bo is diagnosed with anything specific, but in the closing song of the Make Happy special, called “Can’t Handle This(Kanye Rant)” he talks about some very relevant things. I’ve put the video below.
Laugh with it. Listen to the lyrics. Especially toward the end.