It’s a jungle out there.

tribesmall

A tribe is different from family. If you’re a little odd around the edges, your family learns how to deal with it because the chemicals and codes your biology share tells them that your survival is important. Your tribe is made up of people who share your specific flavour of freaky. These people see what you try to hide and they don’t flinch. They chose to keep you around. They could leave… but they don’t. That means something. It’s so comforting and life affirming to feel someone celebrate your joys with you and understand why you get emotional about what matters to you. I highly recommend it. Frees up a lot of time spent explaining yourself.

I learned the following when I started finding my tribe: Firstly, they tend to move in groups, whether it’s an action cricket team or a book club, they’ve probably started assembling already. All you have to do is what you already like doing, they like that too, so they’ll be there. You’ll know when you meet kin because they speak your language. (My tribe, for example, speaks a mix of profanity, cynicism and sarcasm.) So most importantly, just be yourself hey. If you pretend to be someone else you will attract someone else’s tribe, and trust me, trying to fit in with the wrong tribe is the loneliest feeling I’ve known. It can drive you crazy, take you to some real dark places and convince you of strange things like “YOU’RE the weird one”. But once you have just one more member of your tribe the relief of being able to just do you is very liberating. It really does “take a village” and with the right support and some true understanding you can start living among your natives instead of struggling to survive among strangers. Suddenly, even negotiating with an entirely alien tribe (like in my case, people who “don’t read”…I can’t even…) becomes a cinch, because you’re not insecure about being so very obviously different. Not fitting in doesn’t mean you’re gonna feel alone forever, but not being yourself will most definitely make you feel lonely.

Play hard.

leisure small

 

Said Jack Nicholson.

Hope you had a lekker, leisurely, long weekend! Sundays can be a bit of a downer, but if you’re in tears by sunset – maybe it isn’t Monday’s fault? Maybe your life sucks… Changing my day job and doing something I love (even when it’s REALLY hard work) turned my Sundays around entirely. Anxiety can steal half of your weekend, and if you’re not careful, you might start to think that’s normal. Like it’s not bad enough they get the rest of your week for cheap! Reclaim your weekend! Rest and recreation is good for you, trust me.

Of puppy meat sandwiches and prose.

mercilessly

Following your “most intense obsessions mercilessly” sounds cooler to me anyway. But then again, I just want desperately to draw every hour of every day. If your passion is perfecting the puppy meat and pickles sandwich, I would beg you to reevaluate. Or at least to keep your studies philosophical.

Kafka is a well known writer who started out writing short stories in his spare time and for “the rest of his life, he complained about the little time he had to devote to what he came to regard as his calling.” I can totally relate to that.

I don’t know ANY.

happy artists

But, “Dissatisfaction is a symbol of ambition” (Mad Men, Season 5) So the cliche of the perpetually tortured artist isn’t necessarily a symptom but a function of creativity. You get better when you’re unhappy, and if you’re not happy then you get even “more better” (as my two favourite students would say).

Happy days.

happy daze

 

I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up lately, confusing brutality with beauty. But the real beauty is that sometimes happiness happens to you, whether you went looking for it or not. Charlie Chaplin said: “Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind into indifference.” And I admit, I was a junkie. It’s too easy to believe that things will never get better and it’s safer just to stay sad, but Charlie also says: “Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles.” When the heavy feeling suddenly passes it’s kinda difficult to remember what was really holding you down. Just trust me, wait it out.