Whip out the ‘ol trusty, portable bathtub

“Whenever you’re feeling anxious, just take a warm bath.”

I cannot tell you how many people have told me this. Even in psychology when we were learning about coping mechanisms, the cursed “take a warm bath” made another appearance on a worksheet with about 150 strategies.

I mean, when having legitimate heart palpitations in class, just whip out the ‘ol trusty, portable bathtub and soak right then and there. Obviously. Who do you think you are?

Now, do not get me wrong: I am grateful for every suggestion I get on trying to work with my anxiety. But, I have found other things that work for me; and that, would be the arts.

Be it literature, sketching, music, or photography, I am able to take my mind off of unwanted things and focus on something else.

Much of the reinforcement I gained for these activities were products of classes here. I have had amazing arts teachers, and allow me call all three of them out:

Ms. Lee: the fabulous person who taught my first and last traditionalized art class here.

Ms. Acosta: a wonderful lady who helped me to hate painting just a bit less.

And last, but certainly not least, the Man, the Myth, the Legend himself: Mr. Menkin, my digital photography teacher.

This may come as a surprise, but I am not the most social person out there. Striking up a conversation is nothing shy of a big, ugly mess. Yet, photography, specifically, has thrust me into the people part of the world.

I often say that candid portraits are some of my favorite to take because it encompasses so much about someone in one shot– a single-photo essay that can capture a person when they are at their most genuine.

My anxiety and woes are often tossed aside when I can see others happy. They may not go away, but it gives me a sense of vitality seeing those around me jovial– that they are content with their existence and that, even for a moment, they are truly happy.

The fact of the matter is, taking a warm bath is, for me, completely useless. However, there are other things that help me get by, and have much more effective results than sitting in filth.

Seeing a genuine smile, the anxiety I may have felt before suddenly becomes worth it. The most meaningful part to me is not the joy I may receive, but the fact that I may have made someone happy.

True happiness is a rare thing, and, though I myself may not be bursting with joy, the majority of my smiles are the effect of someone else’s. Because life is stupid, but sometimes:

It is worth it. I promise.

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