By Tannis Kelm
“I just wanna live while I’m alive.” Bon Jovi
Life is so delicate and fragile and sometimes, no matter what you do, it is cut short by disease or tragedy. I never try to tell someone how to live. It is up to every individual to do that for themselves, but I’ve been really low and these are bits of wisdom that I have picked up along the way. These may not fit for you, so I’ll say pay attention to your surroundings and write down the things you feel and are going through. When you go back through them, notice your thought patterns and triggers. This will help if you decide you need a change.
1. Stop worrying about how others perceive you, have your own beliefs and, above all, believe in yourself. You can’t make everyone happy; you can only really do that for yourself. Believing in something gives you self-confidence and you can gain positive reinforcement from those who feel the same about something. Find a hobby, turn it into an art.
2. Use the pain. It’s alright to feel pain and be sensitive to changes in your environment. When you feel pain and confusion, it’s the best time to practice your art. Don’t be critical and stop if you aren’t happy with what you produce. You need to practice. There is nothing wrong with failing. No one is automatically good and talent only carries you so far. If you don’t have the supplies, come up with something else. No one ever got the right kind of recognition by doing exactly what someone else was doing.
3. Don’t stop once you’ve started, but if you find that is a thing you tend to do, lucky you! There are unfinished pieces all over the place that can be worked on. Art is a delicate balance though, so know when to stop. Obsessively changing the thing to be exactly the same thing a month later is a lack of confidence. Don’t ask for advice if you were never going to take it, know what you want and go for it, and believe in what you are doing so you can back it up when you are up against opposition. Work ethic is a necessary skill that needs to be developed; once you have finished work, you will have something to be proud of and it becomes less of a chore.
4. You need nutrition and exercise. As an adult, eating healthy is easier when someone is there to prepare it for you but you have to learn how to prepare food yourself. This is probably a contributing factor when you have a hard time remembering things or if you frequently feel sick and throw up. If you don’t have energy to get up and out, it may be because you don’t eat properly and you need to drink water.
5. Television. There are a lot of quality shows, video games and movies to watch. It is a great way to relax but don’t get sucked in thinking it needs you. Life or the simulation of it, your choice.
6. Change is a constant in life and you have to adjust and be flexible. If you are someplace that makes you uncomfortable or makes it hard to relax, find someplace else. Where you rest your head makes a huge difference for peace of mind and once you don’t have to worry about it anymore, you’ll find inspiration without having to look for it.
7. I am sorry if you were convinced that prescription medication was the only thing that would make you better. I’m sure there are some cases where everything else has not worked but I feel that prescriptions are handed out too readily, I’ve always had a hard time trying to reason with anyone who takes a great deal of substances. You have to be 100 per cent truthful with your doctors about your recreational drug and alcohol use as well so they can work with you to find your proper balance. Not sleeping for a couple days will cause hallucinations and panic attacks. Once you know what a substance does to you, control your dose, whether it is over the counter or under the table.
8. Finally, take advantage of resources you have been provided. We live in a country where there are free programs to help with upgrading skills for a better job, grants for artists or studios that provide materials, as well as help for dealing with mental illness. A lot of people elsewhere have absolutely nothing. Feel fortunate about that and try to reach out. Volunteering is a great way to enjoy something that interests you for free; it always makes me feel better to help out to make something a success. It makes me feel wonderful to make someone else’s day less of a burden or at the very least cheer them up.
I can’t say any of this will help but I do know life is too short for regrets. So, get out there and live, it’s no worse than dying and you’ll get to meet extraordinary people while seeing the most wonderful things along the way.
Tannis Kelm is a singer/songwriter who performs under the name Hors. Find her on Facebook, Twitter , Sound Cloud, Tumblr, or her Gold Chair Sessions videos on YouTube. Tune in to CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. for her show, Listening Pleasures.