• Kortney Y. Watkins

Writers & Creatives: In This Time of Panic, You Have Permission to Self-Care

It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged for TLM; instead, I've preferred to let the genius of my colleagues shine forth, as they provide thought-provoking insights to writers, poets, and other creatives.  I prefer to stay behind the curtain, conducting cues for the company’s performance - like any good stage manager - because I am well aware that without this core role, performances will never be as great as they could be.  Here’s a quick story about being behind the scenes and why all that jazz matters.  Bear with me.

Growing up, my siblings and I were required to be active in the creative and performing arts.  In that time, we participated in many disciplines, including theatre.  It was there that I learned that being in the back of the house was just as important as being seen on stage.  I remember when, right before a performance, we kids - actors and “techies,” alike (it was a children’s theatre) - were gathered together in the green room for last minute directives, reminders, the “go team!” pep talk, and the ceremony of The Green Ribbon - a literal green ribbon covertly pinned to the team player who exhibited the ideals of theatre from the date of the last performance.  If you received the green ribbon, that was the ultimate accolade.  You had done the best you could do, and "the theatre" had recognized it.

Being co-owner of TLM, I wear several hats.  In the theatre world, my role would equate to director, stage manager, some-time techie, and actress.  With that being said, and in light of the current panic, I feel that it is my responsibility to call all of my lovely, wonderful writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, and other wonderful creatives into the green room.  Creative family: we are having a meeting.  Here’s my pep-talk:

As writers and creatives, we are naturally empathetic.  It’s part of who we are.  We see the world for the world—in all its possibility - and, equally, in all its depravity.  We call to light the opportunities for human improvement and what happens should we not heed them.  We reflect, unapologetically, a snapshot of who we were, are now, and could be.  No matter the genre, we create in words and images, music and dance, all that encompasses humanity’s totality.  And we are attuned to a frequency many others cannot begin to perceive.  With that also comes the burden.  Being attuned to the world is being attuned to the joys and sorrows, to the hopes and anxieties.  And so, here we are—wherever “here” may be.

Writers, creatives: the world depends upon us to continue to share our stories, but we CANNOT do so when we're off balance.  Whether writer or other creative, being overwhelmed by the world can shut down the ability to express.  This is not healthy for me or you.  This is not healthy for the world.  It is imperative, therefore, that you give yourself permission to conduct self-care.  You are allowed to retreat for a short time, to process the stimuli in your inner and outer circle.  You are allowed to NOT be your best today, knowing that with time, you can be your best you again.  You are allowed to cry, to breathe deeply, to turn to one another for support when the world bottoms out for you.  You are allowed to make time for yourself and to do something fun and exciting.  In short, you are allowed to do what you need to do that's positive and healing for you . . . because we are human . . . because we are empaths . . . because our expression helps others to heal.  Creatives are called to create.  Yet, the act of creation is fragile—as are we.  So, here we are - wherever “here” is - plotting and planning to survive the “here” such that we may eventually get to “there,” wherever “there” is.

Alas, it is from "here" in my space as director, stage manager, some-time techie and actress that I salute you: Take your well-earned green ribbon, writers and creatives.  Pin it discretely to your performance attire, but wear it with pride.  You’ve earned it.

Photo Credit: wix.com

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