Creatively Lost vs Lost Creative
I've never experienced real homelessness, but I can see how this could happen to a lost creative.
But being ‘creative’ in a disorganised, non-committal way has sure hurt from time to time. I don’t know what the ‘lost’ part in creative lost souls means for you, put potentially, it can mean real life-fucking loss.
Hello from some dude’s backyard which he is pawning off as campground. They’ve just turned off the rap music so now we can hear the trees, as intended. Still have 4g though mwahaha.
Ten years ago my old life ended. The low point came in Singapore. I had damaged… something… in my hip carrying around everything I owned in a backpack, and when I got off the plane I realised that I couldn’t really walk properly.
The real curveball came when my friend started behaving unfriendly towards me prompting me to turn down their very uncomfortable offer of accomodation, and was hence required to do a fair bit of walking.
Oh, then a project I had lined up didn’t materialise, and while I didn’t completely run out of money, I wasn’t really able to spend it either. I spent three days roughing it, not sleeping the first night (thank you Starbucks), sleeping on the balcony of a shopping centre the second, and roughing it nearby some migrant (Indian) labourers who would lie down on the ground by night and build sky scrapers (assumedly) by day. I felt safe all this time, Singapore is famously safe, and the temperature was manageable, but it was nevertheless a worrying situation.
The highlight was getting the train across the island to buy a shit second hand bike (I thought riding a better option than limping), then attempting to ride the bike back across the island without either realising how big it was or which thinking about a route, rather than a general direction. I was saved by a can of coke which got me across the last third.
I left the shitty bike chained up outside Starbucks in the middle of Singapore, which I found hilarious, and came back to Australia (via a meditation stint at an Ashram in Penang). I sold my crazy-expensive MacBook to my Dad (who was doing me a solid), buying me time to get setup with social security and to rent a room with no door, in an otherwise pleasant share-house.
Now to say I was ever in real danger is an insult to people from backgrounds different to mine. Because of my family, I will never be homeless, unless I more or less choose to, which I won’t. Oh wait, I forgot, I actually did choose homelessness for a period of a few months, but even in this situation I was still in control, had a plan, and could un-choose that situation any time I wanted to. I was never in danger, and I actually enjoyed it. I moved out of this temporary situation into a new life, the one I am still living now, and although there are obvious misfires in this life, it’s a great life that I’m lucky to have.
But this Singapore situation happened while I was trying to build a creative freelance gig, but doing it in a less than ideal way. You see as an independent creative, you can’t just be… creative… you’ve got to be your own accountant, marketing department, and boss. And I was, and am, just not interested or good at those things.
I’m in constant admiration of creatives who do all this successfully - and, yeah, well, very jealous too. I’m not saying they do it easily, in truth I don’t understand how they do it at all.
If you’re anything like me you’re a lost creative soul because you all couldn’t do these things. And if you didn’t have the background and support network that I did, failing at your thing was probably not an option - and you needed to play it way more safe than I did. Ir you would have felt that way. I’m even more in admiration of people who make shit happen without generational support. This really, really amazes me.
What’s the point of today’s rambling? Well I’m still figuring out what I’m really doing, other than reaching out to find other struggling creatives looking for their foothold. This story wasn’t particularly inspiring, I get it. All I really said was that I sucked, had a fallback, and a little adventure.
I guess I’m still trying to manufacture my own takeaways from my own stories. They’ve been hanging around in my memory semi-defining me but not really doing anything for me for decades. Like anyone else I need some kind of identity to propel me forward, and the lack of a decent one is STILL an issue.
OK, let’s make this the moral of today’s story:
Create an identity for yourself
that gives meaning to your stories that helps you today.
Conveniently, this leads into something I’m aiming to get into more - personal branding (for indie creatives). I’ve got a page in the works about it - it’s not amazingly convincing as is, but gets the idea across I hope. I’ve been doing brand strategy for a while which will support this nicely.
I’m slightly amused at how I came around to this completely incidentally by way of telling that story and trying to extract meaning from it for you.
I still need a new day job.