Crafting a Code of Conduct — Toward Yourself


Today’s blog post is part two of a three part series on Crafting Your Artistic Handbook, an accountability practice for artists based in ritual and documentation. To register for the six-week Crafting Your Artistic Handbook series, either in Seattle or online, click here.

In January 2018, months before I actually started writing my own Artistic Handbook, I started a list of things that I wanted to work on. Creating a code of conduct — something I could reference whenever I’m feeling conflicted or eerie or just plain gross during an interaction with a fellow theatre professional — was pretty high up there. But right underneath that super corporate phrase “Code of Conduct,” I wrote “Code of Conduct Toward Myself.”

At the time, no one treated me worse than I did. I was my own biggest bully, my own worst enemy. And sure, I still am sometimes. I’m a human being. I’m a young woman living in the United States under a patriarchal society. And — to top it all off — I’m on social media (already a petri dish for comparing myself to others) and it’s season announcement time at 90% of the theatres I’m trying to work at. (Ughhhhh I’m so happy for you and unable to see my own strengths, despite having two fully produced plays in the 2019/20 season ughhhhhh.)

But despite all this, I’m so much kinder to myself than I was a year ago. I’m not jumping on the bed every sunshine day like this woman in the stock photo above. But I’m a big fan of all the people who work for me. And by “all the people” I mean me.

It wasn’t easy to come up with a Code of Conduct for myself. And I don’t follow it every single day of the year. (What can I say? Sometimes my boss can be a real bitch.) But it’s given me a set of tools to turn to. It’s given me a ritual to follow and a few things to try when I feel like I’m spiraling down. And because this Code of Conduct wasn’t enough to encompass every single situation, I wrote an appendix called Recovering From a Shitty Day. Who couldn’t use one of those in their lives?

Below is a condensed version of my Code of Conduct. Use it to inspire your own!

Code of Conduct: Toward Myself

I strive to treat others the way I want to be treated, but just how am I treating myself? Below is a series of lists, all with the intention of taking care of myself. Because if I’m not going to care for myself and treat myself with kindness and respect, how can I expect anyone else to?

- No screens 30 minutes before bed
- Wash the sheets once a week
- Always have something to read on the nightstand

- Eat five servings of fruit & vegetables a day
- Drink plenty of water
- Don’t put guilt on occasional snacks and dessert

- Don’t agonize over responses
- Ask clarifying questions rather than assuming the worst
- Say “no” without guilt

- Indulge in regular hair cuts
- If a piece of clothing doesn’t make you feel good, put it in the Goodwill pile

- Schedule time each week to see Sara
- Put in the work to become better friends with the people you care about

- Remember that recharging is just as important as networking or writing
- Take opportunities to travel and get out of town
- Read fun and exciting books