Once in while give it credit
Years ago I did some paperhanging contracting to support myself. It was not a good time for my art. It was hard and demanding work day in day out. If you weren't busy you worried and if you were busy you were too busy. One contractor, who hired me for a picky well to do man in Fort Lee who owned a restaurant in Manhattan said to me when we were driving home in the snow on a trafficked highway, 'this is brutal' and I concurred. Later, when finished a touch of glue showed on the delicate fabric that I hung and that was it for me.
One time I had a job doing a model house in New Jersey for a developer and the pressure to finish was terrific and the conditions were horrific. I was doing a bathroom that had 11 ft high walls, partially covered by mirrors. Usually paper was the last thing to be added, but here the plumbing wasn't finished nor the sinks put in and even some electricals were not done. Help was not to be found and it would cut into my profits. So I hung by myself, on two boards hooked on two ladder rungs, above a lot of sharp edges. I was no kid at the time, and although a craftsman, had not been doing it that long.
The project manager liked me, which was good for a time until he invited me to hang his son's bedroom where he picked out the paper. His wife liked me too and asked my opinion on the paper her husband had picked. Now the wife said the husband did not spend enough time with the children and this was his attempt to make up for it, by putting up wallpaper in the son's room. I told here what I thought, the paper was too dark and scary and spooky. The wife spoke to me easily, much more easily than to him.
Well, that was a mistake. He let me go and I felt I kind of betrayed him. Maybe he was partially right, but, you know, we all need to feel important and valued and I went with it, albeit maybe too much. All we did was talk. Still, I was not detached enough and was no 'cool hand Luke.'
Anyhow, the stress was getting to me and I remember while hanging in that bathroom my heart felt as if it was bouncing out of my rib cage and I was worried. After the job was finished I went to my favorite health food store and I told the owner's son what I had experienced. His advise was so helpful. He said 'if your heart acts up again just pat it, rub it, and calm it down.' I'm not sure if this was from him or someone else or from something I read, but one should also speak to the troubled body part and tell it you're sorry for stressing it. In other words show it some care and acknowledge its importance as a living organism in your body.
My approach to my body changed as I felt sympathy for it at times. What I had put the poor thing through. It was a vessel I was given and it should be valued and cared for. True, sometimes one has to be tough and harden but that has gone too far, too far. Appreciation was what was needed.
Overtime the pastes used often covered my arms and the fumes were inhaled and my weight went down and I had to take an asthma medicine in order to sleep and it was time to leave. A black contractor who liked me saw my plight and treated me to a trip to Hawaii for two weeks, one of the only times that ever happened to me
Afterward, I walked away from it. It had promise but turned out not to be a future but instead put some money in my pocket and that was what I had to show.
To this day I remember the good advise from the health store manager and I follow it. My mind and will have put my body through much and instead of treating it like a workhorse I try to relate to it gently and with concern and understand what it goes through. It's like having a relationship. You have to work with it and not just use it.