empathy

13 Life Saving Things I Learned From Artists

Animated art by Kajetan Obarski aka Kiszkiloszki

Animated art by Kajetan Obarski aka Kiszkiloszki

1. Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid, via Banksy

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If you’re working in the creative industry you know for sure this is true. You also know it’s true when you’re sipping caffeine at 6 AM before that huge exam or scribbling at your cover letter after two weeks of procrastination. Panic is the greatest muse out there, they say. And inspiration will find you working. There you have it.

2. There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends, via Sylvia Plath

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Sometimes I wish this wasn’t true. It will always leave plenty of room for embarassment and weird looks known just between you two, but in the end, Sylvia was right: those who puke together will stick together.

3. Always Make Six Impossible Wishes Before Breakfast, via Lewis Carroll

From Alice In Wonderland, Dir. Tim Burton

From Alice In Wonderland, Dir. Tim Burton

The author of Alice In Wonderland would always think of at least six impossible things before breakfast. With this personal mantra in hand, magic things would happen, because that’s the law of attraction for those who dare to dream. I started making this exercise two years ago and you are not crazy to believe some of the things I asked for happened. Maybe therapists should introduce this in their routines with patients. Because it’s working so good, goddamnit.

4. People put so much effort into starting a relationship and so little effort into ending one, via Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic, Rest Energy

Marina Abramovic, Rest Energy

I couldn’t agree more. I mean, look at us. We meet people. We get involved, we fall in love. Then we fall out or apart and carry on looking for something or someone else. Sometimes by free will, some other times as requested by events. And the worst part is, we don’t ever get better. We are scarred, from every romantic mishap or life punch. We get all dramatic and shit because we are afraid to get close to anyone, and anyone is not getting any closer either, so we end up playing a major difficulty missed connections themed ancient computer game.

5. There is a light that never goes out, via Morissey

morissey

This is the song that changed my life forever. I tattooed it on my right forearm, but besides being a song I really dig, it’s a personal mantra to keep on breathing. I know six people with the same words engraved.

6. We are relative, via Anais Nin

Anais Nin, experimental video artwork by Kenneth Anger

Anais Nin, experimental video artwork by Kenneth Anger

We have no actual past or present. They both take hold of our future without us being able to control it much. Everything we’ve been, everyone we loved eventually meets everything and everyone we are. We are places, cities, galaxies that change all the time and yet remain the same, in a circle, for better or for worse. And that is our greatest, most empowering gift.

We are the lightning in April cold rain and the starry chandeliers of countryside forgotten fields in July nights. We are storms in our tea cups and blizzards to other lifelines. Or like Anais Nin put it, “we do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present”. We are time travellers of our own map. Forwards, backwards, forgetting to look at the whole, at the big picture. Because when we do, if we do, we realize it’s the most empowering thing. And then we’re free.

7. Forget how much it hurts, and try again, via Morley

morley 2

A wiser person once told me that without the capacity to forget, we could never actually move on. I guess we lose that capacity with age, no? But do we get into a sort of forgetting/forgiving Alzheimer or is it just nature’s way of allowing us to survive?

8. Power is being told you’re not loved and not being destroyed by it, via Madonna

madonna

That should be checked as universal mantraI learned that disappointment can turn you into a walking disaster, to the point you let it all pass through you and decide to take to your heart only the good stuff from it. I learned that even though you cannot trust people you should never give up on trusting yourself. And you have that power, in you. We all do.

9. It’s not my responsibility to be beautiful, via Warsan Shire

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I was labeled in school as the ugly duckling and for about 12 years, I continued to be one. Like many other girls out there, I have been uncomfortable with my bra size until I was 21. I am flawed.

I have uneasy cheekbones, almost invisible breasts, and crooked teeth. My nose looks larger than when I was a teenager and my hips have widened. My neck is not very long and my hands are veiny. I have dermographism so each scratch or bump I take will show up like braille or like liquorice on my skin. My legs are not so long and my naturally waving hair never seemed to manage to resist the weather. So what? I am whole. These are all mine and no one else has them. I revel at them now and I’ll probably revel more in my thirties. Everyone else is free to revel at themselves. This is the only monument you get. And it’s free!

10. Let love in, via Nick Cave

cave

That is one of the hardest things to do in this life. Especially if you’re coming from a not so emotionally friendly abusive past. But it’s also one of the few things worth fighting for. With life, with yourself, mostly with yourself, because that’s where the inner child lies and when they demand for our attention we should get down and listen to them, they know better what’s missing.

11. Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror, via Rainer Maria Rilke

Illustration by Andrew Ohlmann

Illustration by Andrew Ohlmann

This is one of the most powerful lessons out there. It has to do with being aware of the ever changing currencies of the world around one’s heart and with the understanding that avoidance and fury will eventually, naturally erupt into pain, if not lived through or expressed. There was a time when I have been thinking about quitting life for months, and I must say it’s still a pretty damn huge struggle. I struggle with it every day. It’s so not time efficient and, you see, the thing is, I do want to live. I do want to make the best of my stay here. So I told myself this: You must live to tell. You must speak out your gut, drill in the land of your memory, dig out the stories in your inner landscape. You ought to dive fast through the depths of your despair and float vividly like branches in running water. This is your gift. It shall not be wasted. It cannot be shut down. Your gift is a living thing, so write it. And let it live. 

12. Nothing will save you except writing, via Charles Bukowski

bukowski

While the world has found the right names for all chronic mental diseases, I believe poetry is also a brain dysfunction, yet the only one that owns itself the mastery for the cure. Isn’t it lovely to say, “He/She suffers of Poetry?”.

A wise man once said nothing.

Charles Bukowski said “Nothing can save you, except writing“.

Diesel said, BE STUPID.

And I once said: “Stupid takes it all. So go out, live loud and WRITE”

Ioana Cristina Casapu likes Brian Eno, airports and never says no to a good old Gin&Tonic. 

Read all her stories and poetry here.