Being a working musician or artist is a rough life. I mean, any life is a rough life, I guess. Mostly, anyway. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT THERE, IT'S A FUCKING NIGHTMARE HELLSCAPE. It's hard to make your art and go to work and take care of yourself in any meaningful way. I mean, I’m sure she has her own challenges, but I keep seeing this meme going around and it makes me want to full-on maul the person who posts it:
Like, ok, sure, Pam. Sure. I have as many hours in a day as Beyonce. Fine. But I feel like maybe Beyonce doesn’t have to make her own coffee or make her own breakfast or clean her own dishes or call fucking Spectrum to deal with some shit on her bill that she didn’t agree to, she probably doesn’t have to go register her fucking car, I mean does Beyonce even drive herself anywhere? I bet she has a driver. FUCK I bet she has a fucking HELICOPTER or she’s goddam using Star Trek beaming technology we don’t even have yet, she’s BeyFUCKINGonce for fuck’s sake, she has all the cutting edge travel technology. I’ll tell you what she does not have: my 1999 Toyota Corolla with a smooshed in hood and a tendency to stall out if its having a bad day. She doesn’t have to do her own taxes, she doesn’t have to go buy diapers for her adorable perfect babies, she doesn’t have to take her shoes to the cobbler to get the heels fixed, she doesn’t have to fucking go to CVS for white wine and tampons, she doesn’t have to grocery shop, build the couch she just bought from Ikea, or take out the fucking recycling. She can focus all goddam day on her fucking craft, she’s got every single support she needs to be perfect, and she doesn’t let us down: she’s perfect. I respect that. She uses her privileges to give us the product we desire from her. But don’t fucking patronize me and tell me that me and Beyonce are on equal fucking footing when it comes to achievements. Fuck you right in the brain hole, you dink.
So fuck that meme, but also I digress. My point is this: having an artistic passion is not an easy life, and it can really take its toll on you. Artists are surrounded by drugs, alcohol and a higher than normal availability of noncommittal sexual partners, and on top of that most of that shit comes around in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping. Look, I’m not some dullard monster, life is to be lived, and if doing cocaine in a bathroom after a kickass rock show and then sucking a nice velvety-looking dick that’s attached to someone you don’t hate yet or maybe who you hate so much that you want to make them have a really gross orgasm just to humiliate them NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT THAT’S ABOUT is what is looking good to you at the time, I say go for it. Everyone should be a slut sometimes, it’s good for your mental health. But also take care of yourself. Yes, you can do both, they are not mutually exclusive. I know things.
Anyway, so I just see stuff, and I see artists not taking care of themselves, and I just...want you guys to take care of yourselves ok. Chances are you won't have access to Keith Richards' detox staff when you're a bajillion years old, so you have to start now. So here's some shit you can do, dear artist friends (and, frankly, everyone) that is easy, cheap or free, and can help us all be WELL while also being super fucking punk rock. OK.
1. Drink a glass of water. Y'all don't drink enough water. Some of you basically never drink water, don't lie to me. No, beer/soda/seltzer is not the same fucking thing. Just walk over to the sink right now and put some water in the nearest receptacle and drink it. Great, now do that every day.
2. Spend some tie alone OR spend some time with friends/family. Chances are you primarily do one or the other - you're alone all the time or you're surrounded by people. Break it up. Take half an hour to be alone, or swing by a friend's house or your mom's house or whatever and say hello.
3. Take a five minute walk. Most of us don't exercise either, but I will tell you right now that back when I started to see her, my therapist was like, look bitch, I'm not gonna treat you unless you get your shit together and exercise regularly. So I begrudgingly took up an exercise program and it sucked for a long time but now it's the fucking best. Can't live without it now. Sweat out all that beer and give yourself an endorphin high, guys, even if it's just a walk around the block. Start somewhere!
4. Eat something that is still in the same condition it was in when it came out of the ground or off of a tree/bush/other plant. In other words: salad. An apple. A carrot. Something that is both a plant and raw and untouched, just once a day. Or, shit, how about once a week? You know why, I don't need to explain it.
5. Wear condoms and/or insist that the person with whom you’re sleeping wears condoms or otherwise protects themselves and you from sexually transmitted infections. If you have an STI, tell the person you’re about to fuck. Giving people herpes because you’re selfish or ashamed of yourself is a dark, heavy karma that you don’t need hanging around your neck. But also, like, maybe think about the other person in the context of being a human goddam being too with a life that doesn't revolve around you. You'd think it would go without saying, but also, like, go to the clinic and FIND OUT if you have any STIs first. That's the first step.
6. Delete the facebook app from your phone. This has helped me IMMENSELY. I'm less stressed out, I feel like I have more time, and I'm not constantly just randomly scrolling through the never ending parade of unbridled mediocrity that makes up the majority of Facebook posts. Facebook only on the computer. What a joy to be free!!
7. Take vitamin D. Winters are hard, and it's entirely likely that you are vitamin D deficient, particularly if you are a night owl and don't go out much during the day. Vitamin D is safe, and has an actual, remarkable effect on depression. It's also cheap. Get some.
8. Feeling like a hero? Take B vitamins too. B complex helps you feel less tired, especially if you don't eat many veggies. But you gotta go to like, Lois' Natural Market or Whole Foods for them, don't get shitty B vitamins from the drug store. They're also cheap, tho.
9. It took me SO LONG TO FIGURE THIS ONE OUT. Be uncool for a few minutes, and don’t give yourself a hard time about it. Let yourself be vulnerable. A lot of artists are really self conscious because we have a very finely tuned sense of what is cool and interesting. We want to BE cool and interesting, and when we're caught up in that, we come off as narcissistic and rude, and nobody who isn't off-balance themselves wants to have anything to do with that. So give it a rest for a few minutes and stop thinking about it. Let it all hang out, untuck your shit, be whatever. Wear your sweatpants personality with pride. Not giving a shit is perennially cool, but you have to not be TRYING not to give a shit. It's complicated. Try it tho.
10. Smile or just generally be nice. Have you heard? Being nice is fucking COOL. Don't you love it when people are nice to you? Here's the big secret, being nice to other people even when they're not that nice to you feels SO GOOD. Because being nice to people is a gift and it takes almost zero effort, and your world will be a little more positive, you big Negative Nancy.
11. Make eye contact with someone who interests you. Ugh, this is another one. I mean, I'm out to pasture now, I love to give dating advice from my perch up in the Celibate Crone Tree of Solitude now, but I really didn't realize back when I was younger and people still thought of me as a viable partner that ignoring people you find interesting is NOT how you do it. Expecting people to come to you never works. You have to go out and approach them or at the very least indicate that you're interested and give them an opening. So if you're a tortured artist and a sad lonely sack, then fucking troll the waters until you see someone who you find interesting, and fucking let them know. DON'T BE WEIRD ABOUT IT, you creep, I mean just like, wave, or say hi or just catch their eye and smile. Don't be like me, let yourself be seen and found.
12. Pick a person you love and tell them you love them. I'm sure you have at least one person you love. Well fucking TELL THEM, already. Get it out there! And if you don't have anyone you love, then look in the fucking mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself. Enough with this self-loathing. Oh, believe me, I get it, but it's not good. Use your words, for yourself or someone else.
13. Say thank you to people. Say it too much, in fact. Because nobody has to do shit for you, you aren't owed anything. Remember to acknowledge all of the help we all get every day of our lives.
14. Bodyglide, yo. Seriously, as a lady with ample thighs, summer cannot happen without fucking Bodyglide. Get some for your fat ass and stop letting your butt cheeks chafe each other while you're sweating through your jeans on stage.
15. Alka Seltzer! I'm not sure why Alka Seltzer fell out of fashion, but it is the greatest and only hangover cure. You get to drink a whole glass of water, plus you get headache meds AND you settle your stomach which is probably on fire from having to digest the fucking Popeyes you ate at like 3am or whatever. It's a miracle elixir and wouldn't you know it, it comes in these tiny little single serving packets that are perfect for shoving into the console of your van or keeping in your pocket for when you wake up on your buddy's kitchen floor.
16. Offer your hand to someone, or offer them a hug. It’s ok if it’s weird, that’ll happen. Touching people is a significant, intense exchange of energy. And you can say a lot through a hand hold, a hug or just putting a hand on a friend's shoulder. Plus, many of us do not get touched enough in nonsexual ways. Friendly, nonthreatening, platonic touch is not considered normal, and that is such a bummer. So let's normalize it. But get consent first if you don't know the person very well. And back off if the person is like "I don't like this." Keep in mind they may be communicating "I don't like this" by freezing up or pulling away and not by using words. Pay attention.
17. And on that note: tell a person you’re attracted to that you like or admire something about them that doesn’t have anything to do with their body or appearance. Unless it’s to tell them that you like their style because they look real friggin’ sharp or whatever. Complimenting someone’s sense of style is not the same as saying “you look so good in that skirt.” Know the difference, and execute accordingly.
Ok, now that you're armed and ready for the weekend, get suited up and grab tickets to Sea Level's release show or Hannah Daman's release show or go see Kafari at Sun Tiki or Crunchcoat at Apohadion or Spillers at Geno's or enjoy NITECAP! or the Queer Dance Party. Or fuck my suggestions entirely and go check out the calendar for all the shit that's good and, honestly, not so good. OK good luck out there, y'all and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES!