I'm an actor,
and a friend.
The most obvious omission?
How can I have left that one off my list? In fact, every time I've done this exercise with myself (and I've done it a lot), I've never listed "human". How does one actually forget that they are many, many things, and first and foremost, a human being?
After the 2016 election, a group of Boston artists gathered together to facilitate a conversation about how art in our city can help move us forward. Someone asked the question, what did we need as artists in order to make sure we were up for the task? One musician raised her hand, and said something along the lines of "Well, I'm an artist, but I'm actually a human first. And like all humans, I need to make sure I can take care of myself. Health insurance, food, shelter. My basic needs."
YES. How many times do I assume that identifying as an actor or writer means that the basic needs of a human being don't apply to me? That my anxiety is different, that my fear of failure is special, or that my need for rest is less than what it actually is? Why do I automatically assume that if I'm not feeling creative today that there is something wrong with my muse or worse, with myself as a person?
Is there anything worse than feeling like your problems are unique and that strategies and solutions that work for people the world over couldn't possible apply to you?
If you are experiencing a slight mid-week mania like I am, here's a short series of questions to ask yourself before you throw in the towel, set the whole thing on fire, and run away like a crazy person, screaming, "NOTHING is working today and I can't (don't want to/don't know how to) do ANYTHING!" Not that I know anything about that feeling (wink, wink).
Did you get enough sleep last night?
Are you hungry?
Are you dehydrated?
Are you lonely?
Have you packed your schedule too full?
Do you need a hot shower?
If you answer yes to any of these questions and have the power to remedy any or all of them, by all means sign off of social media and take care of yourself right now.
If you can't, for instance, take a nap at your office this very moment, give yourself a break, make sure you get to bed early tonite, and then see how the world looks in the morning. It might not look completely changed but it could end up looking brand new to you, which is the only thing that counts, if it helps you to keep going.
These questions aren't a cure-all, but they certainly help a little. And as long as we are still messy, temperamental, ambitious, loving, wild human beings nearly bursting open with all the Big Feelings our bodies, brains, and souls can hold, we could all use a little help, no?
Good news: you're human. So am I. What can we do for our human selves on this Wednesday afternoon?