Wins and new goals.

Maybe it's a bit premature to talk about 2018, but 2017 is almost over so what the heck.

I celebrated the release of a new picture book with Larisa Stephenson tonight, and it had me thinking about this whole year and what I would like to work on next year....which is in a few days. Although I'm proud to release this book, I look back on the past year as I created it, and more stuggle than I'd hoped to see.

I'm over all very happy with the work I've created in 2017. My clients and my author pals are a joy, and they gave me a lot of purpose. But taht purpose is dampened because I feel very unhealthy in my body. Even though I love making art, I resent sitting and doing it. My body screams back at me- elbow is janky, my tummy has been accumilating a couple of flat tires, and my brain can only focus for 30 minutes at a time.

Burnout? Yeah, a little of that. Diet and exercise regimen lacking? Most likely. Mental fog making it harder to see what needs to be shifted. For sure.

I have considered myself a healthy eater and an active individual, but this year has proven to me that something is not working. Even though I eat vegan, I've gained 15-20 lbs in 2017, lost a lot of muscle, and feel more mentally foggy that ever. I though vegan was good for the animals AND for me. But I'm suffering.

Tonight I read a little PDF by Arnold Ehret called, "Rational Fasting". It's free and full of wisdom, personal anecdotes, and research. Maybe it's a bit extreme, but it helped me uncover something that I needed to see.

He talks of "vegetarian gluttony" and the idea that moderation- true moderation- of animal foods and even processed [real] foods, are healther than the overeating of a vegetarian diet.

Ok. I do this. When I went vegan 2 years ago, I started eating like a horse. I am an emotional eater, and would eat to the point of discomfort when we went out to restaurants. I don't know why or where I learned this habit but I've done it for so long, and the new found freedom to gorge myself on "healthy vegan" foods enabled this addictive tendency. Even now, I don't really know what a healthy portion size is.

So here I am, eating fairly healthy, whole, real foods, and gaining weight. Feeling miseral, and not enjoying my art, my free time, my travel, because my body is uncomfortable. And all because I've tricked myself to thinking that because I eat nourishing foods, I can eat myself silly and still be ok. Maybe if I was running 4+ miles every day I would be ok. But I'm sitting at a desk drawing all day... because that's how you draw!

There are cultures all over the world that talk about health and longevity. They mention that eating small amounts is key to living longer and maintaining health. There is no vegetarian gluttony in recommended daily diet.

So 2018, I'm going to reclaim my wellbeing and give myself a chance to feel good again. I'm going to try a different approach to eating meals, and thinking about how much I actually need. Maybe I'll find that the space allows for more freedom, more comfort, and more ease- more focus to provide the best art I can, and tell the most truth I have inside of me!

Here here and happy new year!

I'll keep ya posted!

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Annie is an author and illustrator with books available on Amazon and local book stores. She is open for commission, too! She lives in California, and loves tea, bike rides, reading, and exploring new places.

From Fear to Joy.

What is a healthy ego?

When I really think about it, it seems like there's a fine line between an egotistic personality and a confident one. It's a feeble thing that separates them from each other.

If I had to guess, maybe the ego isn't even in the equation. One person has a kind of selfish confidence, and the other has a balance between self confidence and confidence that their choices will help others.

"Your artwork is so powerful that it changed my life," I say to Louise Fithugh and JK Rowling. Because of them, I do what I do. And in order to do it (write and illustrate books) I must believe that my work will do the same for others.

When I was younger, I was humble.

"Awwww, that's nice of you to say. But your artwork is so amazing!" I would say anything to get the attention off me and back onto them.

Now, I say "thanks". Now, I try and feel the feelings of...well a mixture of what my self sabotaging mind says and the joy my heart feels. It's a bittersweet combination, but I'm learning to drink it. Like kombucha.

These stories that come from me do not ask if I want them of not. They appear, elegantly and happily, unless I chain them inside. Not pretty when that happens.

Time to change from humble to confident. From embarassed to thankful. From waiting to making. From fear to joy.

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