These were some of the most difficult years of my life. I have been trying to take responsibility to change what I can and leave what I cannot. I’ve been trying to make myself strong enough to handle the storms that come. Strong enough, also, to handle the meaningless daily hardships, which at my most fragile, are like roaring storms I cannot weather. I still struggle through some days. I fall, I fail, and try to be kind with myself.
Depression has a real, perceivable, physical effect on the body. Similarly, how we treat our physical self has real, perceivable, emotional affects on our body. I cannot force myself to be happy, to be positive, or motivated. I can, however, actively do the things I know help me get back there. Some days I may be simply trying not to do more damage and some days I am fueling a fire, either way, eating clean, green, and balanced is how I tell myself that I am worth taking care of.
It is different for everyone, but it’s important to discern what you can do to be good to yourself. First because it’s good! Second, because when it comes from yourself, it also comes with self validation, and true self care.
Last month Anthony Bourdain decided to leave us forever, and there was a response of affection and respect from around the entire globe. Because Anthony Bourdain was a man who truly touched lives around the world, above all because he took the time to see a people for who they are, in all aspects. He may have been running a television program about food, but it was about people. He sat to meals in five star restaurants, and in the homes of all of the people. On chairs, cushions, or direct dirt, he shared food with locals. He understood that knowing a culture was in knowing the people, and to know the people you must break bread with them.
I admire him deeply for his clear empathy, his unabashed language, and his efforts always to improve himself. He acknowledged the danger of toxic masculinity, and sought to do better in his own way. He would admit to mistakes, recognize behavior that would be frowned upon, but also saw, perhaps clearer than most of us, that what is acceptable behavior is cultural and full of gray areas. He was human.
His humanity was in seeing the humanity in others. I will never forget that he was one of few, and perhaps the first, to acknowledge the huge role of Latin Americans in US kitchens. In a country that often denies the importance of latinos, Bourdain saw them, and used his platform to sing their praises. Perhaps because of him, more people might understand the lifestyle of people like my Father, who has worked in a kitchen for the last 30 years to survive, and didn’t take time off even when going through cancer treatment.
I am so deeply saddened that he felt he must take his own life. I am reminded of how we must be present and aware with our peers. Listen, and if someone you know seems like the need help, let them know. Because like Bourdain showed us, we are all in this together.
Ending inktober with a practically black and white watercolor. I am lighting a candle for some departed loved ones.
Inktober still going strong. Aside from some busy days where I only had time to draw on the metro, been posting daily. Follow along with me, and other illustrators for the month long challenge.
We lost another great talent today. too young.
Follow my instagram for this inktober’s daily drawings.
This story is as old as human settlements, and the walls we build around them. Leaving a home infested with injustice, pain, or lack of opportunity, and seeking out a better future. This is the history of my own family, and whether or not the rest of America remembers(save any full Native Americans), it is their history as well.
I was fortunate when Lennyletter sent me this article to illustrate, Searching for a Mother’s Truth at the U.S.-Mexican Border. My own father’s efforts and sacrifice are always in mind while I paint and draw, humbly aware of my own privilege to pursue a career of my own design, in the arts none the less. During this project my father and his sibling’s journey was my companion and motivation, despite being overcome with emotions as The Dreamers program in the US came under attack. I could not think of a better moment for Alice Driver’s honest and humane interviews with migrant mothers at a shelter in Mexico.
Alice Driver is a truly inspiring writer in Mexico that is spending her time interviewing people from all over Latin America and sharing their stories. You can follow her work on her Instagram page driverwrites
Thank you LennyLetter for the assignment that introduced me to this gem, Shakina Nayfack. I could never imagine how difficult it must be transitioning. Nayfack crossed the globe for surgery and came back, not just a woman, but a woman who got on stage to sing and share her story with humor and guts. I am so impressed by her story, laid out in this interview with Olivia Clement:“Shakina Nayfack, on the Radical Act of Being a Trans Woman in Love .” From turbulent beginnings she has forged her own path, career, and non-profit.
I finished this article and started working on this portrait with one goal in mind: to show this beautiful woman who, like all of us, wants to laugh, love, and be loved.
I enjoyed contributing a poster to the application released today, International Woman’s Day, which reads conversations and gives data on how many times women were interrupted in conversation. Manterruption! The app creators are collecting global data, help add to the research. You can find the application for download to your phone here, www.womaninterruptedapp.com and see other posters created for the project.
Trying to find my happy place. Remember I cannot control all the chaos around. So this year, I want more quiet moments, more tea time, more color.