sega bodega’s guide to self care
Having released an EP on the subject, the boundary-pushing London producer shares his tips for making it down the rocky road to not feeling so terrible anymore.
2018 hasn’t been the most chill year, has it? Across the past 12 months many of us have been confronted not just with the decline of the world as we know it, but our own demons too. Glasgow-raised, London-based producer Sega Bodega understands. He might have been busy making killer moves; scoring Brooke Candy’s queer PornHub project I Love You, continuing his flawless Soundtrack Series on NTS and collaborating with artists Quay Dash, Oklou and Shygirl. But back in October, prompted by turbulent personal experiences with alcohol and anger issues, the NUXXXE co-founder released his self*care EP — a wild 17 minute ride across six tracks that splice melodic twisted pop with hip-hop, R&B, industrial club sounds and even gabber, featuring his own vocals for the very first time.
Alongside the EP Sega has created an ambitious multidisciplinary project featuring his talented friends — including BEA1991, Tash Tung, Jade Jackman and Jasper Jarvis — who have directed short films inspired by their own interpretation of self care. Created in collaboration with Boiler Room’s 4:3 platform, the series delves into — among other things — our lost connection with the natural world, forgoing self-preservation in the name of lust, and a director’s love-hate relationship with club culture as a non-binary body.
Ahead of his newly-developed live performance at Hoxton Hall on 7 February, we asked Sega Bodega to share some good advice based on his own experiences. What followed was the arrival of this deeply personal, very useful three step programme. Why not stick his EP on and give this a read? You might just learn something.
Hello. I decided to share some stuff with you that has been helpful to me on the rocky road to feeling not so terrible anymore. Maybe it can help you, maybe it can help a friend, maybe your dad or mum can learn a thing or two. So firstly...
I was sitting in the barbers last summer and there was this big, buff, manly man sitting three seats down from me. It was only him and myself getting our hair cut, and he was unloading to his barber about how he had been fucking up his new business and his family life ‘cause he couldn't stop lashing out at people but couldn’t understand why. The week before, he had seen his doctor to talk about it and during that appointment he had just burst into tears. He left, went home and was absolutely amazed at how much lighter he felt after that; it was like he had discovered this new tool to existing.
At this point I *reeeeally nervously* interrupted him and told him that he had experienced something that, as men, we are almost shamed for experiencing. That it makes us seem weak to talk about shit, but that of course it’s not. (Side note: I dunno about you, but out of someone who refuses to deal with negative emotion and someone who does, I know which one I'd define as strong.) Anyway, I went into detail about my last couple years dealing with alcohol problems and anger problems.
By now, the barbers had turned us around in our chairs to face each other and the whole situation turned into group therapy. The barbers chipped in with their problems with anger growing up and I did the same. It was beautiful. Even at that time, a point where I was pretty mentally stable, I felt significantly lighter walking out of there, and better for sharing. Therapy is something I'd recommend to absolutely anyone, regardless of who you are. It’s definitely number one in the steps to self care.
Even if it’s just for a couple of months. This one’s hard for numerous reasons:
a) you're feeling low in your life > you wanna get drunk/take drugs > you comedown > feel worse > repeat forever. Some of us will be so caught up in that loop that the idea that drugs and alcohol could be the main reason we feel terrible seems stupid. But it’s making you feel shit, I promise.
b) Your friends wanna party with you and would rather you came out so will make minimal effort to support you in this lifestyle change. Yeah, it’s flattering and all that but it gets you fucking nowhere. If it’s something you really need to do, then my advice is to call/text the people closest to you and make it clear that you wanna try to fully get your head clear for a while. If they get weird about that then they probably also have some shit to deal with themselves, which is fair, but that is currently not your problem. Or maybe they don't actually care much about your wellbeing.
Allow yourself to feel shit!!!
I firmly believe that a big part of emotional turmoil is actually fuelled by the rejection your body and mind will put into pushing it away. You feel low and very quickly you’ll start to beat yourself up about it, so on top of your mind already being in a bad place, you've also decided to add a fistfight with yourself to the equation. Thus begins a cycle that is truly endless. The thing that helped me most with this was just letting it happen: wake up feeling terrible and be like 'okay, yep, this is how it'll be for the next hour/day/5 minutes'. It’s easier said than done, this one, but it was key for me because it meant that every day didn't feel like a fight anymore. When I ended that rejection of feeling things, I could then start to fight it in beneficial ways.
Remember in school when bullies would say shit to you and you'd start talking back but it would only fuel them more, because they thrive off that? Then you realised that if you just let them talk, reply with the least loaded and most patient response, they would get bored and move on? The mind has its own bully and taking the same sort of approach to this can really help.
These are the main three points that helped me out. But obviously there are other key things to being mentally healthy, like exercise, diet, etc. Ultimately I think proper self care is about the pretty scary but brave step of switching up the routine that you've become used to. Maybe because you think it’s what you deserve — a shitty relationship because it’s all you've known, a job that gives you nothing because you think you can't do better — but this kind of mentality isn’t worth being kept alive in the simulation!