‘Everyone can do it, everyone should express in some way’.
We chatted to Beija Flo for our ‘We Love Life’ exhibition which continues through mental health awareness week at Constellations in Liverpool.
What are your plans for today?
I’m going to go and get some pizza and go to the Clockwork Orange social thing.
What are you working at the moment in addition to being in the band?
I am yes. I’m a life model, which means I get paid to stand naked for artists to draw me and paint me. It’s a lot fun. And I meet loads of people.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Well today has been really sunny so I’ve been listening to the Shrek soundtrack, because that’s a necessity, but I’m still in love with Brock Hampton, I’m still riding that wave and all my new friends of this year like Jo Mary and the Wild Fruit Art Collective, all the good ones.
And what are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading The Undeparted by Timothy Watkinson, which is a really really new book. It’s really really good, I know the author and it’s really cool. It’s about a guy who has OCD and it’s really really interesting.
That sounds really interesting. So what have you taken from that?
Well I really like words in general anyway. It’s quite, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone as it’s really good, but it’s quite dark. Well my mum thinks it’s dark; she really likes it as well. And again its really really cool, really interesting choice of words, and the characters quite peculiar. You feel sort of sorry for him at times and then sometimes you’re a bit like ‘hm I’m not sure?, that’s interesting’. It’s good it’s very true.
Are you watching anything at the moment?
Bake off! Bake off. Bake off. Thank you Netflix. And RuPaul as always. And loads of Jacques Tati films. He was French and he was a rugby player, he retired and famously went bankrupt for building a replica of Paris. He has this character called Mr Hulot, he’s a bit, he’s like the French Mr Bean. He’s a lot cooler and he really likes noises and has loads of nice films. And he has this film called Mr Hulot’s holiday, which is my favourite and it’s just brilliant. Yeah, there’s some really really good films.
And what would constitute a perfect day for you?
A perfect day? A lie in, because I never get to sleep really. And, I don’t know, because I really like all the weather. I really like it when it rains, I get really happy because I can know that the plants and stuff are getting fed which is really nice. Also its really really nice when it’s sunny. But I quite like really really cold sunny days on the beach. There we go, nailed it.
Cold, sunny days on the beach?
Yeah, you know when it’s like freezing and your all wrapped up and your so determined to have a picnic and you’ve got all these big rocks holding the blanket down and your just a little bit miserable, but it’s also brilliant, and just sand covering everything. It’s good.
And for what in life do you feel most grateful for?
Lots really. I love a good moan but also I know I’m just sort of grateful that I have a bed to sleep in and food to eat everyday. Not everyone has that. I think that’s pretty cool. I mean my mum as well. My parents, they’re good ones.
What does good mental health mean for you?
Not drinking and smoking too much. I struggle with my mental health a lot, which is no secret. But, I suppose, I don’t know.
What makes you feel good mentally?
Performing and singing and shouting at people. Telling people, I really feel like I have to tell everyone exactly what I’m thinking all the time. So I sort of just blab and blab and blab. I’m a big talker. Unless I’ve told someone about this, done a painting, written a song about it, then it’s not out of my system, so I’m sort of all or nothing.
Is that your main coping mechanism of how you stay mentally well? To be creative and expressive?
Yeah. But I also do things like smoke and drink too much as well, which is really not good. I have really really bad days. But, I try and not do that all the time.
So you try and have balance in your life?
Yeah. I think it’s important.
Is there anything else you do? Try and implement to try and stay mentally well to help your mental health?
I talk to my tarot cards a lot. I like tarot card readings, they give me hope. They help me sort of figure things out as well, not just hope. Sometimes you get bad bad ones and your like oh okay. Yeah things like that. Counseling. I think counseling is mega underrated. I think having someone you can go and talk to that is separate from the situation. I think there’s like lots of things. Being creative. I feel sorry for people who aren’t creative, or even the people who don’t think they’re creative and you’re like ‘everyone can do it, everyone should express in some way’.
And is there anyone who inspires you?
Yeah, loads of people. Like all the people that I surround myself with. I wouldn’t be around people that are annoying and stuff like that. I find that in everyday situations and yeah, just sort of little things. Like hearing about amazing things someone has done and how selfless some people can be. I can’t really think of anything in particular. Even just things like when you see teenagers helping an old person in Aldi pack up their bags. That’s what gets me. Gives me hope.
The real life stuff.
Yeah. Like the other day I stupidly bought a ticket to go see ‘Goat Girl’ of the Internet and through some stranger quite naively and obviously it was a hoax and it was nothing. And then I asked this stranger who had been talking to the same guy that fucked me over, and he was like oh I didn’t end up doing it because his location kept changing and I will message him and ask him if he’s still selling the tickets and just mugging you off essentially. And he was and this lovely guy was like I’m really really sorry. And then two minutes later he was like I’ve messaged the band and they’ve put you on the guest list. And I was like that’s so nice. Because he could have gone as well and been like can I come as well because I’ve been a nice person, but it was just a totally selfless act. Lost my faith in humanity and then it came back an hour later.