How's Work? with Esther Pere - I'm Your Special One

🎁Amazon Prime 📖Kindle Unlimited 🎧Audible Plus 🎵Amazon Music Unlimited 🌿iHerb 💰Binance


How’s work is an unscripted one time counseling session focused on work?

For the purposes of maintaining confidentiality names, employers and other identifiable characteristics have been removed, but their voices, and their stories are real.


Creative relationships are complex multi-layered and often intense, whether it is an actor and the agent, a writer and their editor.


Or in this case, an artist and her art dealer, these relationships often straddle that Dimension, that is highly personal and intimate with Business and Professional.

These are aligned that can often be blurred can even sometimes completely dissolve.


I think we have a really great relationship.


We don’t have any like points of contention, but sometimes when I’m going to work with the new artist that can cause like a sort of challenging aspect because of our proximity.

And especially when the artist is just starting out and it is such a sense of being taken care of, of being embraced, the artist can say, you saw me, you discovered me.


And while she has felt deeply seen and understood.

She lives in constant fear that, she could be replaced by your younger, New Rising emerging artists, you know, in my, in my dark moment.


There’s a sense that She has 14 of me on her roster.

And I have one of her, the gallerist, who invests deeply in her artists.

She too is afraid of loss of disloyalty of betrayal.


You come to me when you’re young and innocent.

I helped you rise.

And then you go to the bigger ones.

She does have other Galleries and we’ll have more galleries, eventually.

You’ll be three of us across the world working with her.


But I see the relationships with my artists.

I am extremely close to some of them.

There’s like a handful that are really, some of my best friends including her.

I think it’s an interesting thing to explore that she has this feeling because I don’t feel that way.

This dynamic between jealousy and fear of loss is at the heart of their conversation.


That is not surprising.

That you would have a different experience of this.

You know, the experience of one artist with many galleries, but you are for her.

The first one that she has known and on some level, what I’m here with, I heard what I added to your sentence when you spoke was, and I would love it if you were all to me and I didn’t have to share you, and, of course, when I hear a sentence like that.


My next thought is tell me about your experience with sharing.

I mean, I I feel like I am should immediately say that I’m that I’m not an only child, and I feel like that would be the ultimate stereotype for someone who doesn’t quite know how to share.


But I’m not, I’m not entirely sure.

I do know how to share.

I’m not sure.

I can tell, we’re sharing ends and me getting nothing begins.

And I think yeah, my brother and I growing up, we had very different childhoods.


I think, I think we had a very different attitude from each of our parents.

And, and I think Huge premium was placed on being special and if not, the only one, then the best one, the most clever one, the the highest grades the best of sport, and I jump through those Hoops pretty well, and I wonder whether I came into, you know, this which is my first art relationship, you know, where there is a real friendship and there is real work.


I wonder whether I came to that expecting to be sort of Treasured for, you know, jumping through certain Hoops above, you know, these sort of pseudo siblings that we call the other artists.

This is an amazing sentence sharing is the beginning of nothing.


Yeah, just like a hop skip and a jump towards eventually having things taken.

How did you meet and how did you choose each other?

So, someone who works with me had known her work and I had asked him.


Is there any interesting artists I should look at and he had recommended.

I look at her work.

I wrote to her and said, I’d love to meet you for a studio visit and I didn’t hear back for like three weeks and I thought God that’s so rude.

Like even if she doesn’t want to I think that at least she’d write and say thanks, but no thanks.



She wrote back and said, okay, let’s meet and it was just before Christmas and I went.

Tara studio and the way that I remember it?

Yeah, Christmas Eve.

The way I remember it was that we just had this incredible like immediate connection.

We spoke for hours and when we left we were already like let’s do this.


So I always describe it as like getting married in Vegas.

Like, for me, it felt like a very instant, like emotional and intellectual connection.

I always think of it as we were both entering a new life for different reasons.

It’s like we met at the Is really key stage where I had just finished cancer treatment and had just broken up a 15-year marriage.


And I was having to like, I don’t know, ReDiscover my identity on so many levels, and I think she was in a similar place for different reasons.

So, I think that was also a really meaningful thing for me, that, that we started at this point together.


And for you, yeah, I’ll I’ll cop to the Vegas marriage style.

I just, I mean, I had I had a lot of rehab, but when you came to the studio, well anorexia that morphed into a kind of anorexia, bulimia had just been getting steady steadily and steadily steadily worse.


I was drinking.

A lot of alcohol.

I was using drugs.

I was sort of stepping into the art world for the first time and couldn’t believe how much free alcohol was there.

And how many drugs I was being offered.

I was incredibly unhappy and they were sort of, you know, my work was being shown for the first time.


I think.

I think there’s something about this dream sort of starting to come true.

The completely freaked me and I was, yeah, the professionals I was seeing at the time, were putting pressure on me to go to rehab.

And so, we met, however, that email got replied to and I remember, I will text you a week later or something.


And I said, so I’m going to go to rehab 28 days.

And you said, okay.

Well, I guess we’ll just check the work while you’re not there and I’ll see you in Brussels and March.

I’m amused to hear that.


The way she accepted this new job offer was basically not saying thank you and really honored.

But by saying, I’m going to rehab for 28 days.

I’ll see you when I come out and for the employer the dealer, the gallerist to basically say, okay.


Take care of yourself.

I’ll deal with the work.

See you when you come out.

That in itself frames something that is very unique, to the relationship, between the dealer and the artists, and to the creative relationships in the art World altogether.


Just that you are okay with that and didn’t see it as a sort of inconvenience or or some kind of extra drama that you didn’t need was.

And that, you know, and you’d really, really dug into everything.

I’d made that was, you know, everything that was possibly available on the internet and then more that you dug into everything I’d made including my writing and Yeah, I just thought I have to work with this person because she likes, deeply, curious and invested in really getting to know you and what you do.


Yeah, and she was reeling off bits of my writing that I forgot.

I wrote that were written and you know, 2011 or something.

And and she said what do you mean about that?

And I said, I’ve got my God, I really don’t remember.

Nothing beats feeling deeply understood scene, and then also supported.


As an artist.

It isn’t just something you do, it is who you are.

And so, if you see my work, you see me, if you value the work, you value me.


The degree of identification between the maker and the product between the Creator and the artwork is so intense.

And that itself gets really experienced in the relationship.


Sometimes with the galleries as these two women are experiencing with each other.

Yeah, if I hadn’t have been so out of it and possibly drunk.


I wish I wish I could remember it more but maybe this is part of what she gets about.

You too.


What is what do you mean that?

You were not even fazed by the 28-day rehab.


May be understood her fragility or battles.

Yeah, and how they intertwine with her artwork.

Yeah, absolutely.

And I think that for me, if you want to redefine some kind of like unconditional acceptance of someone to me, that is it when you see the person fully and you’re like, that’s okay.


So, for me, I have, yeah, I work with different artists and have different sort of turmoil, or whatever, but I not fazed at all.

They can tell me anything.

You’re drawn to it.


These are your calories.

You run on this stuff.


That’s not quite it.

You have food metaphors everywhere.

Yeah, expect expect a fair few more.

I mean, I’m yeah, this is.

I mean, it still is still an issue for me.

It’s still it’s still annoying me.

The Forefront of my mind, but I just don’t like the metaphor because it’s not like I like mmmm.


This is so delicious as well.

It has a story that’s not it at all just for drama and gossip, you know, you know what to do with turmoil, you know, you didn’t take it off yourself and sort of like delighting it.

You just, you know what to do with it, you know, what to do with mine.

Say more Yeah.

I think.


I grew up with two doctor parents, physical doctors, you know, medicine and When a mental illness occurred at the very beginning of my teens, I they had trouble taking it seriously.

There was a sense of like, you know, get an illness that we can see.


I mean, even though it is, you know, for all intents and purposes written on your body, when you have anorexia, you know, but that I sort of grew up with cancer being, you know, the, the ultimate thing that before, as you and anorexia product of a kind of of a middle class, like spoiled brat, assuring us, that just gets taken too far.


And that we both arrived to the relationship with.

You know, with these bodies that weren’t quite how they meant, they were supposed to have turned out.

You help me take my illness at a little bit more seriously as an illness, you know, rather than some kind of moral deficiency.


Connect this very personal, very intimate.

Very physical granular relationship with the fact that it also is a professional relationship.

Yeah, how do you go back and forth?



I always say that artwork cannot help but be an extension of the artist.

When it’s a good artist.

They can’t help for the work to be an extension of themselves.

And so for me, the way that Think about it now is that you have two people who are just trying to find their own truth, like the artist by creating Me by trying to connect those dots between what they’re creating, but I’m thinking what someone else is going to think when they look at it.


And so I’ve accepted that, that there is no real boundary.

And I think that the fact of it being this like third thing that holds you together to me is not dissimilar to like if you’re married and you have children like your co-creating, something for me, it feels like one more pillar rather than Than something that gets in the way, it helps hold up the relationship during those moments of instability, but it gives us motivation to like see it through because we had a shared goal.


Yeah that is separate from just the two of us.

Yeah, that’s how I think of it.

And the way that I work with my artist is I really like to give them as much Freedom as possible.

What she highlights in her role as the art dealer.


Is that there is a relationship between the artist and the dealer, but there is also the partnership The Joint project which is the actual creation of the career of the artist in which they are both involved, the artist brings the work, the dealer sells the work, makes it known to the world outside as she Rob’s it so powerfully.


I connect the dots, but they need each other and they articulated quite beautifully and the project keeps them in check.

I think where you see the project of an art career or this thing that we share as a as a third pillar, that kind of keeps it together.


I just see that as a kind of More pressure, more, like the stakes are raised.

Because if I lose you, not only do I lose you.

I’ll lose the work that we’ve built together and I think because you’ve had relationships with other artists, you know what, it’s like to push through.


I don’t know that I really do for you.

It’s I have you or I lose you.

Yeah, and in order to have you, I almost need to feel like I am the only one and or I’m your only one or I’m your special one because it It’s not a hundred percent of that then I instantly vacillate to the other side, which is I’m not just one of many, I’m nobody.


Yeah, you know, that’s a very, very personal experience.

Very deeply personal experience to bring to what is also a very professional relationship.


What I what I thought of as work, you know growing up especially you know with dr.



Our real estate people.

This is just not what I thought work was.

The art world is really where you can people can be very, very messy.

People can lie.

You know, we have kleptomaniacs.

We have compulsive liars.

We have people, you know, who probably should have gotten into therapy 25 years ago, but for some reason, haven’t and used a lot of cocaine.


Like it just It’s a place that doesn’t ask you to look at your problems.

And that I think that’s a blessing and a curse and I’m not and I’m talking about the art World in general.

I’m not talking about your kind of microcosm of it.

It’s a place that doesn’t ask you to look at your problems or it’s also a place that actually sees those problems as sources of creativity.


Yeah R2.

I mean, I think there’s a in some cases There is almost a Superstition where you think that in order to, you know be good at Art good at making things, good and good in this field that you and onto your all the dark stairs.

But you know, it’s interesting because for me I agree with the sentiment of what you’re saying, but I see it from such a different angle.


So there is definitely this story that people tell themselves about the torture, Geniuses whatever.

But the way that I see it as the art world and art allows for more freedom than most spaces, and that’s for every participant, it’s not just the artist.

It’s also the collectors, the curators.


And so for me, it becomes a place of like being able holding space for any and every human condition.

Because we’re all coming together around.

An emotional discussion via visual means and then also to the thing of like, the personal and the professional when you asked her to elaborate on having such a personal, take towards a professional issue.


Like, I feel the same actually, I think that my take is extremely personal because I come from this, like, I hate these mothering analogies that come up and the art world and the dealer artist relation, but If I’m honest, like ultimately, I have a belief that I’m enacting a sort of like what I think if I had to Define what like good mothering is.


So I do also approach it from an extremely personal place, but for me in both those cases, it feels like a positive thing.

It’s so interesting.

As you as I listen to you.

I’m thinking we sometimes lack vocabulary or lack metaphors.

It’s like when people have an intense relationship at work, they say it’s my work husband or Or hear you talk about mother.


It’s as if we have to go back to the primary sources, but it actually, it’s a very ancient relationship.

It has existed throughout history in multiple different forms.

It’s a mentor.

It’s a doula, it’s a teacher.


It’s a lot of things.

Not everybody does it in as personal away as you do it, you know, most people don’t but for me, it becomes really important.

To be able to be all of those things, not just with their artwork, but with them because I want to see them Thrive as people.


And when they Thrive as people there, what they put out into the world to connect to other human beings.

Also thrives.

And so I see it.

As part of the same thing.

The same goal me, ask you something, because the fear of loss was expressed on the other side here, for a moment.


Do you have it?

I mean, many times when you find people at the beginning, Of their careers and they grow.

There is this notion that you have to move on to the next agent to the next Editor, to the next art dealer, who is bigger who has bigger access and there is a whole experience around loyalty and disloyalty that I think is on both sides.


Would you see?


Absolutely this artist that completely exploded it like exploded and went to work with a one of the biggest galleries.

But decided to stay with me as well, which at the time now, some people do it, but it was really exceptional at the time and people would always use it as examples in the press and he stayed with me because of our personal relationship.


But if he hadn’t you would have felt like yeah because you know, you start working with these artists in both cases, like he was still in art school when I met him and she was still in art school, like really had it done much at all and extremely talented people, but I think it’s very easy to take for granted.


The role that the context that a dealer creates, especially once you’ve kind of benefited from that context and suddenly see yourself as above it, which I had a long journey with that with this other artists, you know, having and then eventually after he settled into this big Gallery, finally came back to valuing what I bring.


And for me, to be honest.

Like, I think this, this experience of cancer, really changed me because it forced me to have to accept uncertainty on such a Mental level.

And how do I say it?

I’ve had to develop a different kind of sense of self-worth that I know what I do.


I know what I bring to the table.

And of course if an artist were to be like, oh well, I’m just going to move somewhere else now because I’ll make more money or its more prominent.

I’ve got to place now where I genuinely believe it’s their loss and if that happened to me, I think I’d be like, okay, you know, because I want to be in a relationship with someone who wants to be in a relationship with me, but I can see it is painful.


Like it hasn’t happened to me yet, but If because I haven’t experienced that disloyalty, but I’m sure that if I had or if I ever do it’ll be very painful personally, that could be true.

Yeah, definitely.


Yeah, but you when you think about losing her you don’t everything that she too could have that feeling.


That she could also live with the fear of losing the artists.

This is true for both of you.

You can boat find others and your relationship is one that is deeply voluntary and chosen.


I mean, yeah, there are no, we always say that there are no, you know, there are no contracts or legal legally binding Parts.

This is a world completely based on trust and the trust is key and I just I think there’s when I when I look at other dealer artists relationships with friends, Or you know when I go meet other dealers, I just think she set the bar so high, she’s spoiled me.


I’m never going to, I’m not going to find anything.

I think, you know that you’ve got the market cornered on deep emotional gallerist, artist connection, like and you know, that someone can go to a blue chip Gallery where you, where you meet the owner once, when you first join in never.


See them again.

For 10 years and you do that, you do that closeness better than a better than any deal.

I know.

But the other side of that.

It’s true.

Like I know what my place is and I trust that place and so, if they go to bigger richer Gallery, I know what I provide but you do have other Gallery relationships.


And of course, when she started working with them, I had a little like, oh what if she likes them more than me, like, of course I did but then I the way that I pushed through it as thinking, they have so many qualities that I don’t have.

But I also have qualities that they don’t have, but but the other thing I’ll say is like, yes, I have Teen artist but I’m not as close to all of them.


You know, I have maybe three or four that I’m extremely close to but does that closeness help you in the business strategy or you’ve learned over the years that deeply personal and Efficiently, strategic don’t necessarily have to clash if I can understand as much as I can about the way that they think of the way that they experience the world, when they need guidance, or they’re stuck on something with the work sometimes.


I think I can be like, I think I know the direction they want to go in.

Not just with the artwork that they output but the way that they relate to being in the art world.

I know if it’s someone who needs protecting and Sheltering I know if it’s someone who’s a total Hustler and needs to be thrown more people.


And to me it’s and I, you know, so it’s really I find it really helpful to understand the human behind the work because then each one needs their individual strategy for how to thrive.

So I it’s almost like, I don’t see them conflicting because knowing them.

So personally allows me to best strategize for them.


What do you think?

He’s her strategy with you?

I think I think I’m a, I’m a tricky one in some ways, because I think I’m good with people, but, you know, not to, you know, not to put me on a table full of 10 billionaires and be like, enjoy, you know, you know how I love to talk to you and you and she’ll throw it.


She’ll throw a dinner.

I mean, this was a pre covid era, which feels like a year ago now, but we have a dinner after each person Show and her seating plans are immaculate.

It might sound a bit Machiavellian, but she knows who Hates each other, and who wants to talk, and who is best, you know, after and who will get on better than them?


And who should they be certain there and who should go for a cigarette together?

And just, I don’t know.

I think I feel like that sometimes where it comes together in a very literal way.

It makes me realize how much I missed that.

Yeah, and it’s great because everyone’s like, I had such a great time in your dinner.

I have a master plan here.


It’s a great social psychologist.

Yeah, really like it’s like a mother A bird preacher doing the food.

So then feed me to the another for another food.

What do you even notice it?




When you when Esther for Ellen, you laughs, you’re my protector.

Is what I’m saying?

That you are a gatekeeper.

And when that, you know, when I’m not always great at saying no to people because I, you know, every every show I get off at every, every person who’s interested.


I was slightly wonder whether they’ll be the last.

Whether I should, you know, make hay while the sun shines or something, but I think you’re very good at saying, no.

No, you’ve got a 60-year career ahead of you.

We need to take things slow.

This guy sucks.

You should not give him a work.


Yeah, but I also never say no on your like for you know, I was like, this is what I think, but do what you want to do.

What I’m hearing her say here is that she’s emphasizing the longevity, the lifespan, the decades, that it takes to cultivate the body of work of an artist.


At the Young artist is sometimes very hungry, and not easily satiated and with her history of anorexia.

She’s primed for that.

And so, her galleries tells her don’t drink yourself to death.


Don’t starve yourself.

Maintain your complexity, bring it into your work.


You know, it’s a very gendered thing.

Also, to be a woman in the art world.

Like we’ve both suffered at the hands of that and there are things that you need to protect also from like the way that people want to portray the image of an artist, especially if it’s like a younger woman.

And, you know, like you’ll often see a studio photograph of a good-looking woman artist.


They always want to include her in the photo, you know, in this way that they don’t do with male artist.

So it’s a lot of these people that try to circumvent and it comes from a really miss.

Janice place of like, let me teach you how to do this, you know, and and they can’t tolerate the idea of like a female artist say no to them.


You know, I that’s the buffer that I think I where I come in and the more sort of protective like saying no way because I know I think I know what she wants.

I hear us talking about boundaries.

I hear us talking about gender.

I hear you the artist talking about say should bility.


Is there enough?


Is there not enough?

Will I be enough?

Will this be the last?

Will there be more?

Am I the only one I hear jealousy.

Those are the main ones that kind of, they’ve not been necessarily said out loud, but they are the ones that are resonating for me.


And of course, I tie some of it with the eating disorder because what you described in the beginning, yeah, it’s it is a physical way to discuss.

Somatic language to describe, you know, the ill being on the inside here.


It is inscribed on my body, don’t you see it?

And you’re a visual artist and it’s all about seeing, you know, seeing connecting interpreting internalizing.

The work, the artist The Creation.


We talked about this never enough thing a lot.

Yeah, but in terms of the site, very abstract ideas of like success or like money that you know, even if accomplished everything I want to earn my art career and still feel like a bit of a void and I guess I never really, I never really got a handle on what it is to have an appetite.


I definitely know what hunger looks like, but I’m not really sure what fullness looks like endless food metaphors aside.

It is.

It is Less and less to do with food as I kind of move through life.

It’s really about, you know, getting everything while I still can and then getting rid of everything when it gets too much.


My my you know, my workaholism, my you know, my need to create everyday 925 without fail has both, you know, replaced all of the drives that it took to, you know, to starve myself for so many years and also, I could be depleted.


I could be drunk.

I could be higher would always always always work.

But I you know, I with with these other artists, I mean not so much the one that we’ve been mentioning the most but a but a newer one and equally young.

And I think youth has a lot to do with it because I’ve you know, in the baby of the gallery ostensibly for for a couple of years before this guy came along and he’s just a little bit younger than me and I know I, you know, I often turn it into joke, the idea of like, you know, cutting him down or, you know, insulting him or something, but I, you know, I hate that side of me.


And who, you know, who if he, you know, if he lived in the same country as us and you know, I’ve met him more.

I’m sure would become, you know, a sibling, just like some of some of the other artists are but there’s something about how far away he is in loads of ways and how mythologize that his character has become and how and how jealous I get it gets to me.


And I guess when you have an eating disorder, you can kind of really tell what’s going to you these some sort of tends to know what what’s getting to me before I do.

Which is this guy is going to crowd me out.

He has a you know, a more remarkable technical ability than I do.


I don’t know just the idea that he might be more amiable and let you know less.

Bless, cruel less less of a liability maybe and basically would replace you mean that is the notion, right?


He would become invisible, you would become invisible.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

That was a the first instance of seeing his work.

When you first showed it, someone mistook it for mine.

And there was like a kind of deep cutting of my God.


Not that, not that originality is any kind any worthwhile sort of Target to aim for in the art world because everything’s been done, but it just, you know, just my my thing, my sort of My idiosyncrasies in jeopardy.

Yeah, and it was hard not to resent.


You slightly for that.

She Echoes an old contradiction right on the one hand.

Everything’s been done in the art world.


And on the other end.

God knows what this new person may do.

That hasn’t been done yet.

There is nothing to be unique about and yet I am so jealous that you would be more unique than me and why she talks about her jealousy.


I’m also aware that the dealer is thinking about her loyalty.

Because you give so much as the dealer as the adult, as the validator.


I can imagine that loyalty, trust.

Reliability transparency, become essential for you.

Because one day, you will say It’s unbelievable.


What I did for this woman.

I was there at three o’clock in the morning when I helped her with that.

I protected her.

I made sure that she wasn’t taken advantage of I and I really think this is even beyond the word mother.

It’s more than that.


It will be like I thought she would do this to others but not to me because of how I treated her.

Yeah, absolutely.

What you’ve described the words you listed are exactly where my boundary is.

It appears that I have no boundaries, but those are exactly my boundaries around.


Trust honesty loyalty like that is my boundary and I can guarantee you as the artist that I will put your interests ahead of mine and in return.

Yeah, in return.

See what I do and with how much like love and care.


I do it and how competently I do it and to value that, and appreciate that and respect that.

And so to not do things that take that for granted. such as Not communicating clearly, and doing something in a sort of hidden or dishonest way.


Or this is not specific to her at all.

I just mean in general, and in a relationship to an artist, like it can be anything from, you know, not being acknowledged on, on the wall Museum.

Label to, you know, in the case of this other artists that I work with, who I worked with from the very beginning, like, he will give his other dealer like many, Four times, the number of works, and he’ll give me, but I’m the one who helped him like resolve the ideas, or I’m the one who really cares about, like, where the work is actually going.


And so, I’m trying to think of other examples when I felt that way.

What do you bring with you?

What would you say from your own history enters into your relationship with your artists?

The relationship history from early on for that matter.


This is something that I’ve been turning down in the last few years, but I noticed that a lot with like save my marriage and and I do it, the artist also we’re like I have find it very hard to understand that I’m wanted.


So, I had a tendency, which I have less now, but to create situations where I need it.

Because if I’m needed, then I know that I’m there.

But then, of course, the irony of that is that when you’re needed, you don’t know if you’re wanted.

And the other thing is because some of my artists are my best friends.


For some years.

I would always put myself in the position of survey, and if I needed something personally, I wouldn’t even ask.


And over the years.

I’ve learned how to be more vulnerable in that way.

And it’s been so nice to see how they are.

So happy to meet me in that place.


So that’s something that I’m really trying to change.

But it comes, I think it comes from a place of, you know, wanting to be this absolute, which I do associate with this idea of Mother where like, if you can be the absolute, they can never leave you.


If you totally dependent on me, then you won’t leave me.


And I won’t have to worry about not being wanted.

And the thing, the thing that actually joins both of you in the way that you’ve structured, your relationship.

It is many things.

But one thing that, just the Springs at me now, emerges here.


Is the protection against abandonment.

Oh, totally.

For both of you and before your marriage, this wanting and needing that was established before you got married, right?

Yeah, I mean, I just had a completely completely emotionally absent mother.


Completely and issues of some fundamental sense of like not deserving and no self-worth and like desire, you know, being desired.

It’s like a theme that comes into my life and many different areas that I’ve had to learn.


And accept the idea of desirability, understand that desire is something that fluctuates, you know, it’s been a big thing for me.

Do you know that?

Oh, yeah.

I just I think you your show me the three years ago, five years ago, you know, but just before we met you were a lot.


You had a much less of a handle on yourself.

You were much more controlling your a lot more anxious.

Whereas I see someone who has mastered this out, this kind of All or Nothing Like abandonment or everything, asked you to the world that you have a much more measured idea of it, and I do Yeah, it’s just because I see myself in you.


She’s a younger version of yourself.

Not quite, but in some ways in this abandonment way and then I really Associated also with resolving femininity.

This question of femininity.

Let’s talk about the femininity because I you both know what that refers to and I don’t, I mean, I’ll go first because it’s got weird topic but it’s like there is already a relationship to understanding and trying to fit into a system of femininity that I find difficult.


And then the way that I think about it is that we both had these complicated relationships with our body-mind through cancer yours through eating disorder, where for whatever reason, whether it was chosen or not, that the body was refusing.


Like comply, and then my marriage fell apart.

I also relate this to sort of sexual place where it took me like, a couple of years to get back to an understanding of myself as a sexual body myself as a woman and that way like my own desires.


And so, I feel that a lot of our conversations that I really enjoy and I find so enriching our around us, trying to negotiate what those different things mean.

Yeah, and I think, I mean, you were also my first female friend really.


I only I only hang out with boys and you you’ve helped me see the value and what it is to be friends with women.

Just having friends that are women puts me a step in the right direction of what kind of woman I want to be.

I know you bought think that your relationship is very deep and very personal.


At their taboos, there are things you don’t talk about.

Are there things, you know, not to touch?

This idea of having children whether I might want to do that at some point and I can’t help feeling like that.


You would have total disdain for me if I did that.

But it’s funny because I feel the same way about you.

But if I had a child, you would have absolute disdain, but I also know that ultimately you would be supportive but I don’t know if you know that about me.


Yeah, just this some part of me that doesn’t want to be.

I don’t to be seen by, you is, you know, conventional or other.

Maybe, you know, that something that you don’t you maybe don’t consider the most worthwhile use of time or that it’s societies.


Will bending me as it as it chooses that I made that I may want to give in to that.

If you know, if I got married because I feel like you’ve, you know, you’ve sort of Port, you’ve had the curtain pulled pulled up from, from marriage and you, you know, that, you know, you know, what a what a divorce looks like and you and I don’t think I do you care for it and I just, I suppose, I always hope that you would be okay with that, being something that I would want.


As personal as their conversations and their friendship has been kind of astounding that the subject of children has been so silenced, as well as the subject of having a partner.

If I have a child, will you think of me as lesser as not serious as not a real artist brings up one of the oldest prejudices stereotypes that are Woman cannot be a mother and a serious artist or a serious, anything else for that matter.


That if you have children, it will eat up your identity and your Pursuits will forever.

Be compromised for two women who are engaged feminist fighting supposedly against misogyny.


They have internalized that very ideology.

They’re trying to resist.



Because I choose to live my life in one way, doesn’t mean that I expect my friends to choose make the same choices, you know, so I can be very direct about what my position is on certain things.

But, you know, I some of my best friends do if a very conventional life and I don’t always look down on it.


I questioned it, but I’ve done it, you know.

So I wouldn’t look down on it.

At all, I would support you in whatever you wanted to do.

And this is so interesting, right?

This is not about femininity or the female body.


But this fear of the criticism of the best friend of the girlfriend is very, very powerful in relationship between women, friends, Galleries and artists all included.


You would respect me less.

You would think I gave in.

I sold my soul.

I was weak.

I became a conformist.

I’m a Bourgeois.

I’m not a real artist.

I was just dabbling.

I mean the list goes on, right?

We often talk about how, you know, we worry that maybe motherhood is a way of filling a void that could maybe be filled with other in forms of intimacy.


And that it is grasping for identity were by having a child to become a mother, and you’re kind of, and there’s your identity for the next, you know, 18 years or something.


It’s interesting.

I think it’s a really powerful construct to have to Grapple with I’ve probably feel the same like wonder if you would respect me less if I had children or particularly like in relationships like a male partner.


Meaning, if you have a male partner that that white, that, that too is a throwback to an older image of what it means to be a woman in this world and what one needs as a woman in this world.

It’s just a glimpse, this idea of like, if I had a committed relationship with a man, how would that feel to you?



Would you also lose respect, or would you feel that my attention was being taken away from you?

Or would you feel?

You know, I mean almost definitely that this is this inevitable.

That’s just, but that should not be a reason for her not to.


No, absolutely.

Not absolutely not.

And I think the difference is I don’t think any criticism.

You might get from me, would stop you.

I’m wearing that received criticism from you would actually steer my life.

Because I’m so I’m so unsure of myself.


I mean, I think that when you talk about, I would lose respect for you or you would lose respect for me or I’m afraid of that.

I’m thinking this language of losing respect, that is critical and judgmental is a, is a veiled way of talking about, I’m threatened.


Yeah, instead of talking about how that makes me feel, I tell you what’s wrong about what you’re doing.

You know that form of women criticizing other women’s choices because it actually throws them back on the choices.

They have or have not made themselves.


Is a more honest proposition.


Does that make sense?

Yeah, really - absolutely so much.

I think so much of our relationship as like us battling.

Misogyny like us having to deal with all these misogynist, female artist female dealer and we’re together and we’re like, and then suddenly, it was a reframe where I thought.


What are the ways?

We’re we’re like, perpetuating that on each other a discomfort with femininity, but I hadn’t really thought about the ways that we might directed against each other, because I was feel like we’re United against it.

I was like, oh, yeah, that’s true.

Like, we really need to think about that or or be able to talk about it, really openly and that might be true.



Yeah, and I guess the whole point is that we may never make those choices.

But to feel that that we are free to make those choices.

Should we want to?


As part of their friendship and collaboration, they have often joined in thinking that they are resisting, what they called misogynistic Notions about women.

But what emerged is their understanding of how much they had actually internalized, those very same ideas that then become powder keg of judgment from one woman to another, if you are to be a true artist, you cannot be a mother.


You cannot be a wife, you have to prove that you are serious and committed.

You will have to forgo those other roles and maybe the True Freedom.

As she says, is the multiplicity of rules and the freedom to choose which roles to live.


Esther perel is a therapist best-selling author speaker and host of the podcasts.

Where should we begin?

And how’s work to apply with a colleague or partner to do a session for the podcast or to follow along with each episode show notes.

Go to.


How’s work.


How’s work is produced by magnificent noise for gimlet and Esther perel Productions.

Our production staff, includes Eric Newsome, evil.

Watch over Hewitt, a Gitana and Kristen Mueller, original music and additional production by Paul Schneider, and the executive producers of how’s work.


Our Esther perel and Jesse Baker.

We would also like to thank Lydia Pole, Green Colin Campbell Courteney him.

Milton, Nick, oxen horn, Sarah, Kramer, Jax all, and the entire Esther perel Global media team.