Kristen Becker, Comedian
YOU GOT THIS 2017 Guest Editor Speaks Up about Depression, Creativity and Smashing the Patriarchy
I didn’t realize I was creative until I hit my twenties. I spent most of my childhood playing team sports. I went to practices, learned proper techniques for strengthening muscles and getting the most out of my body. I was taught to practice hard to be the best. If I had an injury, I was reminded of the importance of rest. Playing while injured could lead to long term problems, how would that effect my game? I needed to consider my future.
Athletics are steeped in self care. Growing up an athlete in Louisiana, we stretched. We alternated legs and upper body workouts so as to not wear muscle down. Gatorade and orange slices were their own food group.
Fast forward to a decade later and I’m a comedian touring the country in a 1996 conversion van getting paid in PBR’s and pretty ladies. I found stand up comedy not too long after a career ending sports injury and the rest, is history (a large chunk of which I barely remember). Anyone who has spent life as a performer on the road knows that in the beginning, you live and die by fast food dollar menus, free beers, and your hopes and dreams. There is no creativity coach for us performers. No one pulled me aside and said, “pit stop and grab some fruit and hummus and it’ll be about the same $$ as a Happy Meal.” No one mentioned that my brain is the muscle I need to perform comedy, and I should tend to it a bit. Not one manager at any of the hundred some odd bars I played ever said, “you know alcohol is a depressant, right?” as he was handing my PBR. Of course not! Then he might have to pay me in actual money.
What is my point? My point is that performers must take care of each other. That we need the brilliance of our creative community to shine brighter now than ever before and mental health is a huge part of that. Self care has to climb to the top of the list. Creatives have to understand their worth, which gets tricky in a world that sells $200 tickets to football and artists are “pushing it” to ask for $10 a head.
I’m excited to participate in the You Got This outreach, helping fellow creatives build mentally whole and happy selves through conscientious self care. Then we can go smash the patriarchy. My creative friends are the most passionate and intelligent people we know, and they got that way against all odds. Imagine what we can accomplish at our best?