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How do you adult?

Art is a great way to express yourself when you are feeling many emotions. It can be helpful, and even relatable, to see how other people use art to express their struggles or thoughts. We have been following How do you adult on Instagram for a while because the drawings Fran creates are cute, funny and very honest about things that we all experience-good or bad. Thank you Fran for sharing with mindyourmind all about you and How do you adult.

Can you describe yourself in a few words?

Twenty-something, ginger, working-class millennial with a tendency to whine about life. That’s a few words, right?!

How did “How do you adult” come to be?

I’ve been creating “stuff” my whole life. I pursued a non-artistic field for employment, however, because of things like “paying my bills on time,” and “preparing for retirement.” I had just surpassed my 1-year-post-university and was, frankly, struggling with some of the weight of “adulting.” I reverted to my roots and began to create these doodles in order to explore why I was having such a hard time.My first comic was two panels: 8-year-old me blabbing on about all the things I was going to do when I grew up (e.g. eat ice cream for dinner, stay up late, etc.). The second panel was twenty-something me, looking much more desolate and saying, “I spent twenty minutes yelling at Microsoft Excel today.” (Which, for the record, was true. I had been wrestling with Excel off and on all day). I posted it to my personal IG account. My friends were really excited about this silly little doodle and seemed impressed that I had created it. I felt like, “Hey, maybe there’s something here that I’ve tapped into. What if I made this into a real, bonafide thing?” So I took a few days and thought about my message and summed it up into a question: “Seriously… does anyone actually KNOW how to adult? Because I’d be willing to listen. I have no clue what I’m doing.”Then the IG @HowDoYouAdult was born. And I posted more doodles about the day-to-day crap I was sorting through and the account just… grew. Here I am less than a year later (it’s not even been a year!!!) with over 25k followers and a huge platform to connect to other people and go, “You don’t know what you’re doing either?!?! I’m not alone!!!!”

When creating your illustrations do you always pull from your own personal experiences?

Yeah -- I’d say a large amount of the inspiration for my content comes from my own life. It’s kind of funny because I’ll be chatting about something with friends and someone will go, “Hey! That’s a great comic idea!” This platform has been so integrated into my life that I’ve had coworkers and friends drop ideas in front of me. I like to pull from my own experiences because my life is, usually, pretty boring. I think social media -- Instagram in particular -- is filled with perfectly curated feeds of people with these ridiculously amazing and exciting lives. And while that’s cool and all, I don’t think it’s a fair representation of what someone should actually be anticipating. It’s like reading a Nicholas Sparks novel and then expecting that every romance you ever have is going to be this grandiose and passionate affair, when that’s really not an accurate depiction of actual real life love stories. Life is boring sometimes. Or messy. Or sad, or unfun, or frustrating. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad, though! So I like drawing from my own life because when I’m complaining about going to work tomorrow or trying to diet or being excited to take a nap later, that’s not cool and trendy and curated, that’s just life.

What reactions do you get from people when your drawings are focused on mental health or coping with something difficult as an adult?

Usually the reactions are pretty positive. Still, sometimes I have to convince myself to be my most genuine self when I’m producing content. This is an outlet for me to share my real-life thoughts and feelings -- it’s really scary to expose yourself like that. Especially when owning up to your faults and taking a moment to go, “Hey! I’m doing the best I goddamn can -- and that’s good enough, alright!?” This outlet has given me the opportunity to practice being vulnerable and getting comfortable with that vulnerability, which I think is a really important thing for almost anyone to learn.

mindyourmind aims to help youth with mental health and addiction issues. If a young person were to read this, could you share what would you say to your younger self knowing what you have experienced?

Ah, I love this question. That’s tough.If I got to sit down with 18-year-old me, I’d share the following:First of all, you need to stop taking yourself so seriously. If you don’t lighten up every once and awhile, your frown lines are going to be extremely visible at age 30. Secondly, you will eventually learn to accept that human beings and their lives are not quantifiable objects. Success cannot be measured with the same unit across every person. That’s a good thing -- that means you can follow your happiness even though it might not look like someone else’s happiness. Third, when all else fails, take it one day at a time. If that’s too overwhelming, take it an hour at a time. Or a minute. Break “the future” into pieces that are manageable and tackle them -- you got this. Fourth, make sure you give your emotions the opportunity to come out. If you suppress all of them, you’ll be in rough shape when the pressure builds up and they all want to come out at once. If you’re sad, feel the sadness. If you’re angry, you can show it. If you’re hurt, address it and talk about it. Lastly, and most importantly, let people know why you appreciate them. Everyone else around you is struggling with the same amount of BS -- be kind and gentle with them, practice empathy, and let them know why they’re important. It’s a wonderful gift to give to people.

Do you find that comedy helps you to express your message more accurately? I ask, because we find many of your posts funny and so true!

I guess I never really thought of myself as “funny.” But the other day, a gentleman I had never met before approached me at a party and we started talking. One of his questions was, “What are you passionate about?” And I, without hesitation, said, “Well, I really like making people laugh.”You know when people talk about ‘Ah-Ha’ Moments? That was 100% one of mine.I need humor. I appreciate it so much because, as someone who’s struggled with her own mental health, it’s an opportunity to feel lighter even when everything else feels heavy. Sometimes, I’ll get so caught up in something small that I legitimately need to intervene and remind myself, “Hey! This is NOT a huge deal!” I think laughter is a really nice way to lighten up and remind myself that whatever I’m doing or going through is only temporary.Laughter is cathartic and good for the soul. That’s why I like giving it to other people and why I feel that comedy is essential to my message. Adulting SUCKS, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun making fun of it.

What is the future for “How do you adult”?

Well. Hm. Can I get all existential for a minute? What’s the future for *me*? For *you*? I’m riding this wave as long as I can and for as long as it continues to serve me positively. So I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to drive this platform, but I do know I’m enjoying every minute of the journey. (But in all seriousness, I’d love to produce a book. Preferably multiple of them. I love connecting with people).

Aside from following you on instagram, how can people access your art?

Follow my Facebook page too!

I’m currently trying to format/build a website, but that is still very much under construction. The best bet is to follow my IG and Facebook for any updates and for daily doses of illustrated sass.

Photos from @howdoyouadult's Instagram