Surviving

Admittedly I get sick more frequently when I live in Mexico City DF. It’s part of being here and being such a sensitive soul. JAJA. Yes I said sensitive soul. It’s all connected. The pollution, the crowded spaces, the endless walking and exploration. I stay up later working and I am generally in motion more frequently. So when I got migraines a week ago it was no surprise that migraines lead to sore throat and sore throat lead to stomach…and so on. Gratefully medical attention is free and medicines are nominal in cost by comparison to the USA. Even with health insurance from the State of California as a teacher my co pays alone would of surpassed what I paid in total. Not to mention I was paying $360 a month as a part time teacher to have insurance. So there is no comparison and no doubt I received quality care here. The problem is how it slows my process down. So this past two weeks I have been slowly completing pieces and working on the business side of things which generally gets neglected.

I posted that I was seeking an exhibition space to do a pop-up show here in Mexico City for my birthday. It’s symbolic for me on so many levels. Obviously a birthday is marking time and I wanted to create meaning for me from that date. 48. Eek. I was for sure going to die young and with a prettier body, but alas fate had other things in mind. Celebration is always in order, but I need a date to work towards the half way point of my pending exhibition at Artspace Mexico. I needed some line I could not cross with just enough pressure to keep me focussed. It’s harder to stay focussed here than it was in that sleepy seaside town in California. There is so much to do and see. Many interesting people. Having a date keeps things real and the gallery hasn’t provided that, so I must create a false sense of urgency. The result of putting it out there was a friend who curates a cabaret space in el centro met with me to discuss a potential opportunity. Now I am producing pieces to meet that deadline next Wednesday. My hopes are four 24″x36″ framed pieces and 4-6 smaller framed pieces. I am well on the way with slight hiccups.

Something about sickness also creates doubts in one’s mind. I have to get the fears out onto digital paper. Maybe you can relate? Questions like; “Did I make a mistake moving here?”, “How did I ever think I could support myself as an artist?”, “Is prostitution a reasonable route to generate income?” I am only half kidding on the last one. Generally at least 2-3 times a day and certainly 2-3 times a night while I am sleeping do these and many other doubts creep into my mind. I have come to accept the background dialogue and can breathe my way through it. When I am sick it’s like the dialogue and my symptoms are in harmony. “You sir are failing!” and so on…and on. How do I combat this?

Action. It’s the only thing I know to get out of my head. I have to take action. I will start sketching. I can work on the piece in front of me. I can start doing research for the series of historical gay icons. I can call a friend and go get a drink. I can get my shoes on and start walking the streets with my camera. I can go to the steam room and sweat my ass off. What I cannot do…is sit still and watch the flickering tv set. Something about seeing other peoples’ drama play out on screen does not comfort me. I end up feeling less than. I compare myself to their clothes, their lifestyles, their relationships, and more. I can’t but fall short. My life does not look like a 48 year olds typical life. I don’t have tons of clothes or things. I carried everything I had here in 12 suitcases. 10 of those suitcases were art supplies and art. I don’t go on lavish vacations. I go to small remote beaches and pueblas that are cheap and filled with culture. I eat street foods and go to free concerts under the metro station. I share my little things with my friends. I invest in spanish classes so I can feel like I understand what is happening around me a bit more. My life is a gift for sure, but I can’t take a moment of it for granted.

How am I surviving my anxiety filled nature? I am creating art. I am living art. I am putting one step in front of the next and proving my fears wrong. False. Evidence. Appears. Real. There is plenty of the fake news to go around.

10 things I did this week to be a more successful artist

  1. Asked for help
  2. Showed up to business meetings to insure future sales
  3. Processed files for print editions of photographs
  4. Set up relationship with the press and clarified processes with gallery
  5. Started a new painting with goal of completing within the week.
  6. Went to the doctor and stopped ignoring my health and got the medicine I needed
  7. Developed my marketing and social media
  8. Reworked my website to get closer to representing my work and personality
  9. Ate three meals a day
  10. Turned off my cell phone while working.

I was getting depressed thinking I had accomplished nothing this week- then I wrote down all the things I did and put together a sale sheet for all the paintings and photos I have done since I arrived here. Probably the most prolific I have been ever. My sales are not reflecting it at the moment, but I feel good things will come.

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