Welp… I think it’s about time for a little honesty and vulnerability here. In that vein I can admit that my creative life has been riddled with bouts of depression. Often diluted with chemicals and escapism in its many forms. This after all is the only life I’ve ever known, and the only life I’ve ever seen creatives I’ve looked up to live. A constant battle between being genius and being defeated by life’s adversities. It would seem that sometimes the turmoil within has a greater impact than the external, and the artists life is often spent looking inward.
The life of a creative is a tough one after all. Often thankless, and the lows seem to outweigh the highs. I think the saying is art immitates life. Well in this case the creatives life more often parallels the life of the “common man.” Rightfully so since most creatives are essentially common men/women that somehow find it within themselves to convey a vision and pursue a dream. It’s that pursuit that makes them uncommon. The anomalies, the people who chose to sacrifice and endure in an already difficult existence.
It’s not that the creative is more or less depressed. It’s that being a creative almost requires some intense reflecting and introversion. That combination can force you to face the darkness within. That darkness the rest of us numb ourselves to with various distractions. The artists, musicians, and writers (and any other creatives I forgot to mention) are in a way reporters of the intangible. Of emotion and other abstract and subtle concepts that are part of the human condition. The parts we run from, in alot of cases the creative has to face. On a canvas, a recording, or however they choose to create. In those mediums we sometimes face our demons.
Beauty is often created when those demons rear their heads, but the damage can be irreparable. A rapper named El-P had an album called Fantastic Damage released years ago. It’s hard to find it on some platforms, but I recommend you give it a listen. To me it’s kind of a story of triumph. Like we all endure life and all that comes with it. We are all products of some “fantastic damage,” but we persevere. Inspite of the scars & memories that burden us. Those same experiences helped mold us into the people we are. Does that mean we need to just accept the way things are and deal with them how our predecessors always have? I say no.
The old way or the way my idols seemed to deal with it all was not the way I think we should do it today. To internalize all the hurt and pain only to lash out is not the move. Whether that be creatively or in a destructive manner isn’t the way anymore. It’s time for a new way. A more productive one that let’s us grow as people. People who can still face it all and let it mold us. Yet also letting ourselves heal. Legacies of pain make for great stories but leave a path of “fantastic damage” in their wake. A path so many have followed to no avail. I dont have the solutions, but I know there’s got to be a better way.