No, this isn't "the fear" you've done something cataclysmic on a night out or that feeling you could potentially die from the resulting hangover. It's not even the dread that looms like thick smoke over your Sunday evening pre-working week. This is something else. Last night, I came across a superb infographic by the guys over at Format. They posed the question, "How do today's creative professionals live?". The result, beautifully illustrated and hilariously accurate stuff from Sam Island. Perhaps, sadly, it's actually the most enjoyable scroll down a webpage I've had in a while.
Being the chap that I am, it's whimsical nature spawned quite an honest response that's, well, let's say a little more realist. (In my current circumstance that is) This piece came off something similar to this one from a while back. Infographic in mind (best keeping the tab open for reference) I started scribbling on a post-it note at 1am, then another one and another one. I got to thinking about a not so perfect day as a creative and so I condensed those thoughts into a short read.
As I traverse this day to day attempt to simply "be creative", external fears lurk. Keeping head above water, cash flow, attracting clients, meeting deadlines, creating something new, something for myself and the betterment of others. The usual. However, the fear of looking inward can be much more daunting than outward circumstance. I grab a coffee, overthink, return to my desk and reset. I refer to step 5 in Sam's depiction at this point, thinking this is the lion share of my day, trying to produce something real, although occasionally a lunch time snapchat and a break can do a world of good. Without a studio now, step 7 goes a miss. I thought some more about what I wanted to achieve this year.
Not to get heavy, but I don't want this existence to be an exercise in living. I want to exercise life, like fuck. (Think step 8 with a more experiential approach) After all, you can't take the bunch of shit you accumulate in life with you. Last year, I had a glimpse of nothing working. Of losing everything. Or what I perceived to be everything. I'd say I grew a thick skin as a result. That ineffable quality that allows you to resist anxiety and hardship. I thought about what it was that aided that arrival. How to deal with the ebb and flow of life, comfortable in the knowledge that things generally work out for the better. The first thing for me, work. (Hard as fuck) And secondly, staying present.
Insubstantial things might stitch our lives together if we allow them to. But what are we looking for? Why are we comfortable with mediocrity and unhappiness? What are we afraid of? I have my days where I strongly question the choices that brought me to this actuality. Working for yourself, others, simple gratification, the luxury of travel and nice things. It keeps you ticking over. Wouldn't it be immense to feel as though nothing were a threat? The threat of being nothing is the heaviest burden for me, and that's where staying present comes in. By that, I mean becoming familiar with the fear inside you and starting to challenge it. It's a well known practice to write down something you're scared of. When is the last time you did that? Or even inwardly asked yourself and tried to overcome it.
Some of you might be reading this and thinking it's a load of drivel and that's cool. If I read this last year, I'd probably piss myself laughing and say the writer was a twat. Actually, I'm not sure where I was going with that point. Anyway, to bring back some of the stuff I was chatting about in the beginning, I only stopped faking it last summer. Only then, when I started here did I become more open, truly open to other people and the world, quelling weakness by examining my habits, patterns, thoughts and fears. With this mindset, having a bad day isn't so bad. Did someone say PMA? Not the drug of course, the philosophy. I became more grateful for what I have in owning that risk and failure. Ultimately more confident that things will be okay. Accepting serendipitous moments with more frequency. Fortune favours the brave, after all. Cheers for reading.