Best Self Magazine

Daring To Disrupt: The Healthy Deviant’s Holiday Survival Guide

Daring To Disrupt: The Healthy Deviant’s Holiday Survival Guide, by Pilar Gerasimo. Illustration of happy stick figure by Pilar Gerasimo
All illustrations by Pilar Gerasimo

A renegade health journalist breaks from holiday convention to nurture a creative calling — a permission slip to do things differently

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For the past five years, I’ve been hard at work writing and illustrating a book about what I call ‘Healthy Deviance’ — the art of being a healthy person in an unhealthy world. I’ve been so busy researching, drawing, and writing about this norm-defying art, in fact, that for a while there, I became something of a hermit. I copped out of countless social obligations and events. I essentially let a few holiday seasons pass me right by. And you know what? That worked out kind of great!

For several years running, I didn’t get a holiday tree or decorate the house. I didn’t go to parties. I didn’t send out cards. I didn’t go gift shopping. I sure as heck did not bake. I did not give a thought to holiday makeup or festive fashion, or to ‘right-now resolution-setting strategies’, or to ‘New Year, New You!’ workouts. I didn’t konmari my house. I just hunkered down and did my thing, and hoped people would understand.

Please know, I wasn’t abstaining from all this holiday merriment out of any inherent Grinch-iness. I just knew that if I wanted to get the book done, I needed to make

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