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Practice any art, no matter how well or badly #35 success, dopamine, kurt vonnegut

Hey guys! I hope everyone is well. Here in Samantaland, my astral hell begins. In my case, it's simply because I don't really like birthdays. I don't really know why, it's not just because of the implied old age, I haven't really enjoyed it since I was a child. But come on, almost completing 43 autumns in this world.

I was reading Aline Valek's wonderful newsletter and in this latest edition she talks about success. What is success for you? She cites advice from her father:

Since I was very young, when my father incessantly repeated the advice “study, girl, study”, I have clung to this goal like a compass. Even when I had nothing, I wanted to learn. Even if I lose everything, if the number of followers disappears, if they no longer call me for work, if I am canceled and forgotten, if I run out of money, the things I learned no one will be able to take away from me.

And then my own father's advice came to me, something very similar, which he had heard from his mother since he was a boy: “they can take away everything from you, except knowledge”. For me, my grandmother was an example of success: she was a very strong woman. She was very poor and didn't have the chance to study, she was widowed very young (my father, the youngest, barely knew his own father) and found herself alone with 4 children. Although she did not have much education, she was an intelligent woman who knew the importance of studies. Working as a seamstress, she put her 4 children through college. My father had to start working when he was 14, but my grandmother always repeated this mantra. He and his brothers needed to work but couldn't stop studying.

Just as my father didn't know his father well, I also didn't get to spend much time with my grandmother Ada. And despite not being a religious person, I like to think that she's close by: I sleep next to the same bedside table as her, with the same prayer to Saint Francis of Assisi.



This is me, on my third birthday


What about this restored photo of Van Gogh? So cute and healthy.


What would you say to your 15 year old self?

I would start with: it's okay to not know what you're going to do for the rest of your life at 17. In fact, you can change your path many times during your life, it is not necessary to follow a fixed path at the beginning.

And then to my 20-something self I would say: you can write, draw, paint without being a professional, you can create just to create, write just to write. It doesn't have to be good. It is not necessary to make money or have an audience. These things are cool, but if they are the reason to start anything artistic, you will eventually get frustrated. It's the process that counts.

“. . . Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.

The other day I was watching an episode by Huberman (I'm a huge Hubernette, I learn a lot from this guy) about dopamine and there was the advice, which I wrote down here in my notebook: to maintain a good baseline of dopamine, the effort has to be the reward. I think it has to do with Kurt's idea, huh. You do it for the pleasure of the process, without focusing on the result or perfection. And it also helps with your dopamine, woohoo!

I also learned: you know when you come back from a trip or when you finish a long project, when you participate in an event, etc., something really great, but then in the following days you feel discouraged and even a little depressed. It's your dopamine dropping after it's been up a lot. It's normal and it will pass: you have to wait for it to return to normal, to its baseline. This seems kind of obvious, but I always felt bad about being a little depressed after something cool, like, feeling ungrateful for not being excited about the achievement. But ok, now I know it's normal and temporary, I'm not a spoiled person who can't enjoy things.

In this episode he also recommends a cold shower to increase dopamine, but I can't follow that advice, nope, sorry huberman.

There weren't many comics this month.

They come when they want. Sometimes I think I'm tired of this autobiographical format and I never want to do it again, but then they start to accumulate in my head asking to be released and I go and draw them.

Still on success: comic strips always perform much better on social networks. Are they successful? Comparing it to the other type of content I make, yes. My drawings and tattoos always fail (fail in this social network context where what counts are likes and comments).

Do it for the pleasure of doing it. But I'm also not going to act super detached here and say that I don't care about numbers at all, ok. We always care a little.

"He is an artist he has to be praised"


I was reading an interview with the creator of the Powerpuff Girls and this excerpt caught my attention:

So, yeah, I’ve drawn a lot. I just like doing it. It’s meditative; it’s relaxing. I’ve found that, if I don’t draw for a period of time, I tend to get depressed and just get frustrated. Then I’m like, “What’s the matter with me?” And I realize, “Oh, I haven’t drawn for three weeks.” It’s not even doing finished drawings — it’s just doodling something, or drawing something on a Post-it. Just going through that process is healthy for me and helps keep me sane.

Just like Craig, I also have this almost visceral need to draw. Drawing as meditation, this is an idea that I learned a few years ago and it helps me a lot. I have notebooks scattered around the house, next to the computer, in the kitchen, in the living room. Most of the time they aren't even drawings, they're just stains and lines. Making these marks on paper relaxes me more than meditating. So here's a tip for you, anxious friend: grab some pens and go doodle. You don't need to know how to draw.

doodles on the bekoskine!


I'm always very happy when someone chooses me to make their first tattoo. And when they come back a short time later to do more, it’s even cooler! Beatriz started with a caffeinated bird on her thigh and then this month she came back:

Mononoke and Faunwood

Thank you for reading!

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