“If your mind is a monstrous maze, then my mind is just like yours.” says Frankie Wade. His words, part of the spoken word piece Satisfied Never, serve to reassure, reflect, and most importantly spark a conversation surrounding mental health—to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Day, this October 10th.
Written during lockdown and translated into a visceral short film by director and photographer Elena Cremona, Satisfied Never explores the territory of an anxious mind; the burdens and pressures that so often plague a society fixated on success. It hits differently in the second half of this year. In the midst of a pandemic and on the brink of a second lockdown, issues of domestic violence, depression and anxiety have been brought to the fore—and as we continue to be bombarded with images and videos of violence against Black bodies, never before has the conversation surrounding mental health been quite so critical.
“As cliche as it sounds, this year has reminded me that it’s the little things in life that are really the most important,” says Wade. “In today’s consumerist society, success means flashy things, riches and reputation, so our minds chase and chase, as we place happiness on a pedestal along with all of these things. It’s a constant battle for me everyday (one that rarely I seem to win) to remind myself that happiness isn’t something I need to reach for, or earn.”
Satisfied Never marks the second collaboration this year for the London-based creative duo—the first being Many Hands, a nostalgic ode to touching conceived during lockdown. It explores the themes of self-improvement and self worth, and the struggle for fulfilment. “The creative industry expects you to be available 24/7,” Cremona explains, reflecting on the uncertainty that’s defined this year for many freelancers. “That’s a lot of pressure to handle.”
By forging a narrative and speaking out through art, Wade and Cremona hope to open up the dialogue surrounding mental health and encourage others to do the same. “Just the other day you had the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak suggesting people in the arts should retrain,” Wade explains. “Art is so important, it’s how we get through life, it’s our escape and it’s how we make sense of the world around us. In my opinion, it is in these uncertain times that artists’ and creative industries are most needed.”