Inevitably, the first thing to go when I’m stressed about money is what’s good. Thinking I need to drop into survival mode, everything that feels like it’s not essential gets stripped away. Social time with friends. Taking care of my body and mental health. Escaping into queer movies like Signature Move. Only feelings aren’t facts and what I really need to do is turn up the volume on what’s working.
As I’m learning, my creative practice thrives on stability. From a daily work schedule to quality sleep to weekly social outings, the more predictable those aspects of my life are, the easier it is for me to show up a make my art. With a solid foundation beneath me, my creative process is then able to be as messy, chaotic, and emotionally tumultuous as it needs to be. It doesn’t send me into a tailspin and I can step away from it at the end of the day to rest.
I know this and still, I watch my mind try and justify throwing what’s good to the wolves. My money fear has me convinced that this is the end of my creative practice as I know it. Things will fall apart eventually so I may as well blow them up now. It’ll save me having to painfully wait out the unavoidable. In those moments, I feel destined to be financially and creatively destitute for the rest of my life.
On top of that, I slip into a scarcity mindset that has roots in my former eating disorder. It’s a space where what’s good is only ever a reward. Because there’s not enough of what’s good to be doled out on the daily. What’s more, I fear that giving myself access to too much of what’s good will make me complacent. It’ll sap my motivation and fulfill my prophecy that financial and creative failure is imminent.
Unlike before all the personal development work that I’ve done, I can now talk myself away from the ledge. I remind myself that it’s essential to start from full. That the more stability I can maintain, the more likely it is that I’ll get through this dip in one piece. I also remind myself that I already know what will happen if I give into those stresses and fears. At this point, I’ve upended myself enough times to avoid that option altogether.
The alternative, then, is to turn up the volume on what’s good. It’s to keep doing what I know is working and it’s to keep having faith that it’s enough. The creative path is inevitably one of many unexpected detours and deadends. The practice, then, is to keep persisting. It’s to continue to show up and do our best work and take care of ourselves. Because it matters. It matters that we keep creating while prioritizing being well too.
So, how do you turn up the volume on what’s good in your life?