Here’s the promised Part II of the adventures of 2015 thus far, for those of you who were waiting with bated breath. In this episode, I’ll be explaining away my absence from blogland with a summary of some of the other side projects I’ve picked up in the past several months.
In February, the guy with whom I touch faces, my roommate, and I started a podcast called WTFolklore. I love folktales, especially the convoluted ones that operate on dream logic, and they love responding to silly things and also Dragonball Z apparently, and so a podcast was born!
We released our 15th episode on Tuesday, and it’s been going great so far! I have a ton of books to read for it, and we’ve been getting excellent suggestions from listeners for hilarious and confusing folk tales from all over the place. You can check them out on Simplecast or subscribe on iTunes!
The best part for me, aside from meeting people who are excited about fairy tales and spending one evening every week joking with two people I love, is how visually compelling they are. I’ve come across a lot of gorgeous stories that we probably can’t read on the show simply because they’re too well-constructed and we’d just enjoy them as intended. Doesn’t mean I can’t read them myself and turn them into paintings, though!
Dance Like Ever’body’s Watching
I’ve picked up American Tribal Style dance lessons for the 3rd or 4th time, but was finally able to work out a system to keep it going for more than a year now. My teacher is an incredible and inspiring dancer and my fellow students are talented, delightful women who are a joy to dance with. June 7th will be my first performance since college, and I’m terribly nervous and excited. Jaki has put together some powerful choreography for us, so hopefully it’ll be as much a treat to watch as it is to dance.
Drum Like Nobody’s Listening
I’ve also picked up drumming, because what’s another hobby? I started a few weeks ago, mostly just learning how to hit the thing correctly, and now I’m practicing some basic rhythms, much to the chagrin of my cat and roommate. Jaki also encouraged this new learning experience, and has invited me to join her group of talented drummer ladies. They’ve been at this for a while, so it will be the perfect atmosphere of intimidating talent and cheerful encouragement to propel me into Extreme Learning Mode.
Drumming has been exactly what I’ve needed lately. It’s the perfect stress relief, allowing me to shut out all the churning anxious thoughts and just focus on hitting the thing right. When I do hit it correctly, drawing the sounds out of the drum gives me the feeling of empowerment and control that I often feel is lacking from my daytime life.
If you, like me and many other creative folk out there, struggle with the twin demons of anxiety and depression, I can’t recommend hobbies like drumming and dancing enough. Find something physical that you love to do (screw the gym!), whether it’s dancing or acrobatics or rock climbing, that requires you to learn and challenge yourself. Pick up a new hobby that takes a lot of concentration and has nothing to do with whatever it is you’re trying to turn into a creative career. The release of endorphins from the physical hobby and the brain distraction provided by the concentration-intensive hobby will help almost as much as a great therapist.
I’m fighting my way back up to peak mental condition and working to strike a healthier balance between an unfulfilling day job and the work I love to do. This site will be undergoing a much-needed overhaul in the next few months, and maybe soon I’ll be doing work that is much more in line with my values and skills.
If you have any advice or personal experience with staying sane and happy while building a creative career as a side gig, please share in the comments! I’d love to hear your stories.