Taking a look at 2017

For five years (2011-2016) I wrote a list of New Year's Resolutions, and revisited the previous entry each New Year's Eve to see if I was able to get 'er done.

I skipped 2017.

Partially, because I lost my Tumblr password, but largely due to the fact that 2017 was just too painful for me. It was a dark and introspective year, and it showed in the little art I produced, as well as my outlook on life. Every artist has these moments, and I always knew I'd work myself out of it, but it took longer than expected.

I didn't want to let this tradition die, so I decided, why not reflect and take a look at the resolutions I made in 2016, and then see what I was able to accomplish.

To take a look at my previous resolutions from 2011-2016, visit www.ashleyfontones.tumblr.com and search 'resolutions'.

Here are my resolutions for 2016, revisited:

1. LIFE BALANCE

"I work a high stress day job, that pays okay, but during my spring deadline season which starts in February, I won’t have much time to myself and I work later hours. I am hoping that after going through this season last spring, I can be better mentally prepared this year. I hope that I can take some time to myself while still remaining organized and on top of things at work."

The truth at this point in time, was that I HATED this job. And wouldn't you know it, I ended up getting laid off that February, at the start of my spring deadline season. What a blessing this was. I went above and beyond the call of duty for this position, and the company was still unsatisfied. I also left my unpaid positions working in the local art community as a curator and project manager due to the way I had been treated, as well as due to the murky legitimacy and legality of the programs. A lot of talk happened and I lost a lot of friends over it, but I'm happy for the experience. Their loss. I was able to land my current position within three months of the layoff and I haven't looked back. However, I'd argue that life balance is actually more of an issue now than it ever was. I now work a night job at a newspaper, with an even higher-stakes deadline and even more dissatisfied customers (America in general).

2. More ART

"This past fall I had to take a break from making detailed artwork because I ended up developing Chronic Dry Eye. The underlying cause is still not identified, but I went through a lot of tests to prove that it wasn’t Multiple Sclerosis. However, I now have two different sized pupils, ocular migraines, and temporary blindness when I strain my eyes. I’m on Restasis for this, and trying to control my stress levels helps. I’m feeling a bit better after a few months on this medicine so I really need to get back in to making things."

I'm still not sure what caused this issue even over a year later. I was able to go off of Restasis a year ago, and my CDE cleared up on its own. Sadly, I do not make as much artwork as I used to. As an artist, this is a huge problem.

3. More HEALTH

"I did great over the summer, and went to the gym 6 days a week, watched what I ate, and still felt like crap. My current PCOS medication just doesn’t care, and I was at my heaviest over the summer for no reason. Then in July I had an autoimmune sickness that lasted until November (which doctors think triggered the Chronic Dry Eye whatever). So I went through like three rounds of prednisone, some anxiety medication, and I’m done going to that doctor. Just crazy. I hate when the answer is only medication, because its not. I just need to keep up doing my little yoga routine I’ve been doing since 2005 in the mornings, and definitely work my way back into the gym. More lemons, less pasta, balance out my sugar, etc. I’ve been drinking loose tea everyday, and my skin looks pretty good. Fibromyalgia pain is just unavoidable, so I need to make sure the rest of my body is crap so that I can deal with it. "

So I should have probably specified when I wrote this resolution that I wanted more "good health" not "more health problems." In Oct. of 2016, I suffered a chemical pregnancy miscarriage, which completely destroyed my body (mentally physically and emotionally) for the entire year. I continued to work out, but not as vigorously, as I realized that over-doing it was creating more problems for me. I went through experimental treatments for PCOS including metformin and spironolactone, my diet became better, but my PCOS symptoms are going through a rough year. I'd say its hit me like a mack truck.

4. Health combo + FOOD

"So this one kind of partners with number 4. Yes I bought the Gweneth Paltrow cookbook. Yes she is insane. But she also has the same food allergies I do and a cyst on her ovary (I feel like I read this somewhere). She wrote a cook book with allergy people in mind, and my mom bought it for me as an early Christmas present. I’m going to try and do what she says. The reviews of the book seem promising. "

I laughed when I read this one. I had to recently throw out the GP book after a mishap in the kitchen. But the book, although well-intentioned, was not as illuminating as I had hoped. At some point during 2017, I had found a fabulous seven day PCOS cleanse diet that I was able to print out. It's strict, but it helped me with my high blood pressure (oh yeah that's a thing now). Check it out here.

5. KEEP UP HOUSE

"Tom and I moved into our first place together, so this one is so important. We need to come together and make sure everything goes according to plan in terms of cleaning, paying bills, and other couple things. We have both lived on our own before but to be honest this is the first time sharing a bedroom with a roommate since Freshman year of college."

To be honest, Tom and I have come through this test, passing with flying colors. We are truly partners now, and bear equal weight of finances and household chores. I'm blessed to have him at my side. We lived in that studio for a year, and then moved into a two bedroom apartment in a nearby historic building. He's truly helped me make this house a home.

6. Clean up Website

"I just need to do this. My current site is www.ashleyfontones.com. I no longer code my site from scratch, since I just couldn’t get it compatible with mobile devices; but I truly miss having that control. So I keep trying to make a website that fits my work and myself and its a bit difficult. I also want to embrace this artistic minimalism going on at various illustrator’s websites, but its HARD! I’m insane and my websites usually are too :("

I feel that I've definitely accomplished this. Summer 2016 I gave my website a huge makeover, and it still feels right. The layout and the way I've organized it is true to my work and the look I want to portray. Now that it's 2018, I still feel good about it.

7. Zine it up

"I do a zine once a year and sell them or give them out. But I usually half ass them…Maybe this year I can kick my butt and put some effort in. Zines are really cool and fun to hand out and I don’t want mine looking crappy anymore."

I'm pretty sad that I didn't do this.

8. GO SOMEWHERE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

"Bringing back my travel resolution. I traveled for work last year to Minneapolis and Philadelphia, and honestly that does NOT count. I’d like to go somewhere for FUN."

Still have not been anywhere :s life man.

9. Build up social media

"I want to keep getting followers on my Beasty Feast Instagram! FOLLOW ME @beastyfeast"

I've since tripled my followers organically. I haven't done any real "pushes" or stunts for likes, and I am happy with the slow growth.

10. Do something to honor Ella’s memory

"I know this sounds crazy, but its important to me. If you guys knew me in real life, you knew my dog Ella. She was my little puggle, and she was my partner in crime. She was like my child. She wore clothes, sat at the table with us, and took care of her things like a person would (she kept her 20 something toys neatly in a basket and never destroyed them, same thing with her blankets and pillows) She passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 4 due to complications with tumors (we thought we had gotten all of them). So my world does feel a little surreal these days. I took her collar and her newest favorite toy with me to the apartment. I’m not looking to have her remains tattooed into me, or get a stuffed animal of her (like my mother almost got me, dear god I would have killed her), but I want to do something that truly honors what Ella was. Ella should have been a licensed therapy dog, she was the sweetest thing, and loved everyone. She had a ton of dog friends in our neighborhood, and was very popular. She even got followers on Instagram just for her photos. I want to do something special like maybe donate some art to charity or volunteer at a shelter one weekend or something that I know she would be proud of (if a dog could be proud) Or honestly I want to have a baby and name it Ella but that is a psychotic thing to do and Tom would never go for it. That escalated quickly and now I’m emotional lol."

I have still been unable to do this. The emotions tied to Ella's death are still incredibly strong. I can't even watch a puggle video without tearing up. Someone I work with has a "puggle mom" coffee mug and I can't stare at it without getting emotional. Tom and I have added another kitty to the family, because I won't be able to have a pupper any time soon.

"Okay so only 10 resolutions this year. This year needs to be more peaceful. Last year was supposed to be adventurous, and I suppose the adventure was my new job which has taken me different places, built huge connections, and expanded my graphic design skills (which I needed desperately). A lot happened last year that I wasn’t prepared for emotionally, because I was so focused on work. I think I owe it to the people around me to calm the fuck down."

Easier said than done. 2016 started off incredibly positive, but ended in a massive amount of turmoil and mental anguish that carried over and dominated my 2017. However, I think its safe to say that this turmoil was due to my chemical pregnancy loss and the multitude of physical changes and mental angst that accompanies that.

I have a good feeling about 2018 though!

Thanks for reading!


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