I want to tell you about where the idea for this book came from. If you've read some of the summaries about my coloring book online, you've probably noticed that it talks a lot about cheering up, feeling okay with being just okay, remembering to stop worrying about the "shoulds," and even celebrating those days where getting out of bed feels impossible but you do it anyways. Not long ago, these were things I needed (and sometimes still need) to hear myself. My recent experience with trying to grow into a "real" adult made for some rocky ups and downs. Being a twenty-something comes with a whole lot of self-doubt and insecurities about pretty much everything.
A few years ago I entered that stage where everything about life and work seemed uncertain. It was the classic “quarter-life crisis.” Suddenly I noticed that everyone around me had their lives "together." Everyone looked like they were on track but I seemed to be so far behind. Was there some memo I missed? Did I veer off course a long time ago and not realize it? Sometimes I even felt really ashamed that I didn't appear to be at the same stage as everyone else. I dreaded the "So what do you do?" question that always pops up in every small talk conversation. I didn't choose a traditional career path. I don't do the 9-5 and my days look very different from most people around me. I chose to pursue a path that would allow me to be creative every day and make a living (hopefully) by drawing pretty things. Yet, here I was, totally self-conscious about that choice.
I know, I know... I have since learned this lesson, but we are bombarded by this every day on social media. Every day I was exposed to happy pictures of everyone else looking like they had it all sorted out, yet here I was feeling like each day I was walking around with a blindfold on. Around this same time, I also began to struggle with anxiety, which started as the social kind but eventually crept its way into all aspects of my life. It really was (and sometimes still is) a fight learning how to cope with it. I don't know why it surfaced then. I'm sure that all of these other feelings helped make for the perfect atmosphere for it to start.
After a while, I started opening up about these feelings and experiences with friends. I was surprised to find out that many people I know had similar situations with experiencing self-doubt, feeling like they have no idea what they are doing either, and even anxiety. This whole time we've been experiencing the same things, but we weren't open about it. As time has gone on, I've even bonded with strangers after opening up and finding out we share these same thoughts and anxieties. It turns out that we often look like we know what we are doing on the outside, but we don't feel that way on the inside. If so many of us do feel this way, why aren't we talking about it more?
This led me to want to create art that spoke to those of us dealing with this stuff. So began my idea to make these “semi-inspirational” illustrations that could be used to remind myself and people like me that wherever we are, whatever we are doing is okay and it’s enough. There are plenty of encouragements out in the world to make the best of every day and to be awesome. There aren’t enough that proudly campaign for napping when you need to, and that on some days, putting on pants is something worth clapping for. Hard work is respectable, but not all days have to be extraordinary and picture perfect. Good things still come to those who take naps. Some days are bright and happy and we can accomplish lots of things and be quite impressive, but some days are dark and tiring and it's really hard to simply be upright. A lot of the sayings in my coloring book stem from things I have said to myself and to my friends on days like that.
Don’t Worry, Eat Cake is a coloring book companion for these tough days, quiet days, happy days, sad days and anything in-between. Inside you'll find a place to express creativity while reading something kind to make your heart feel better.
It’s about cheering up, a reminder to be more forgiving, a nudge to celebrate all accomplishments (including getting out of bed). It’s less about pushing ourselves and more about being nice to ourselves. Let’s embrace and respect the idea of not having it all figured out.
Some of these original sayings are humorous, some are sweet, and some are inspirational, but all remind us that we'll be okay after all.