What I need right now. | Free People
How do you deal with stress? I am a very neurotic person who internalizes a lot of stuff.
I need a system for everything (no matter how disorganized it might seem to an outsider, it does in fact exist) and my own time table that I can work to. Time. It’s so precious and so fucking important. It’s important to make time for goal strategies, coping mechanisms… things that give me pleasure. It’s important to take time and practice gratitude for my many resources, both internal and external, but also for small pleasures. For the existence of rain and tea and old people who hold hands and waves and dogs who fart. I need to accept myself, my imperfections, and if I can, embrace my vices. I say this as a qualified stress management trainer, but more importantly as a human.
I use many techniques to blow off steam – sometimes I cry (which is a BIG deal for me, as for the first 25 years of my life, real events left me completely sober and devoid of emotion – I could only really cry in movies), sometimes I drink a glass of full-bodied red (I really believe we all need a vice, as long as it doesn’t define us), sometimes I chat to friends, sometimes I meditate… but mostly? I write.
Writing is therapeutic for me. Yet, it also feels meaningless in the absence of an audience. Writing is expression and expression is sharing, so if there is no one to share with… what’s the point? It feels weak and shallow to admit you need an audience, but so the fuck what? I met a brilliant artist years ago who littered his enormous pieces with romantic pastels and bicycles – we went to his studio to see his latest work. My friend was looking to buy so she was playing hard ball, remaining utterly stoic, and I followed her lead. We were there for about an hour ‘hmm’-ing to his paintings, and at the end he turned to us and said: look, I don’t care if you buy or not – do you like them? Do you like my work? I need to know if you do otherwise it’s meaningless and I might as well go live in a cave! I wish I could have afforded a painting, I would have bought one there and then. I understood his sentiment well. I’ve realised that actors, artists, writers… what they are really good at is observing the world. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we do not exist in a vacuum. They want to know that their observations are accurate of what they have seen, felt, heard, in themselves and others.
And it’s true with us. This is my truth. Do you see it? Does it resonate? If not, is there space for it within you? Do you accept me? To be an artist is to be human, and to be human is to be an artist – I really believe that. The best way I can think of to manage my stress is to let my art live somewhere – here. I am grateful to the others who give it room to breathe, and I am grateful to myself for the ability to write and the ability to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide.
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