I used to be very fit, worked out two hours a day and watched what I ate. A few people who shall remain unmourned if they get hit by a bus took this to mean I was obsessed by my appearance and – in the words of one semi-obsessed whackadoo – desperate to be the “skinniest person in the room”.

Setting aside the fact that this person doesn’t know me and has no mind reading skills, the fact is I like being in good physical condition. It feels great. It is in every way worth the time and energy investment.

Moreover, I get more work done as an artist when I am healthy and fit, because spending long hours at the drawing board is terrible for you. It wrecks your health. It wrecks your back. It wrecks your knees. It wrecks your wrists and elbows.

It causes spinal disorders, and housemaid’s knee, and carpal tunnel, and tennis elbow, even if you never played tennis. It causes you to have a hunchback-type lump from long hours of bad posture leaning over, and it causes a gut from the stress which puts strain on your back. It causes ulcers, and GERD.

I don’t see a lot of male creators getting shit for getting exercise, but women creators get crap (just as often from women) for taking exercise.

Clearly, exercise has to do with nothing but vanity.

The same people are the first ones to step up and make nasty remarks if you gain ten pounds. If they get up and take a jog and blog about it, they expect praise, you can be sure.

After years of poor health exacerbated by an endocrine disorder, I am happy to be able to get up, exercise again, see the scale drop, see my struggle with GERD fade away, and have more energy and focus every single day. I am happy that I am not sleeping hours more than I need to because every day I feel exhausted.

Good health is a great gift, and it is one I don’t intend to waste. I am going to take care of this vessel. And if cerebral narcissists (and not a damned one of them deserves to feel all that about their brains,) want to believe that makes me a somatic narcissist, so be it.

If you do not have the great advantage of being in a place where you can be fit, I know how bad that is. I do not like it one bit.

Which is why I intend to do everything in my power to make sure I never get back in that position.

A few days ago, after about a week of not getting enough exercise because I was working a tough deadline, I threw my back out just putting on a shirt, because my entire body was so tight from stress and overwork.

I DO NOT WANT TO LIVE THE REST OF MY LIFE LIKE THAT.

It’s not about being a size 2, it’s about not ending up in a box 6 feet under decades before my time. And feeling like I’d rather be there as quickly as possible because of chronic pain and ill health.

It’s not about weight or personal appearance. It’s about fitness.

We could be here all day listing the cartoonists who’ve had strokes and heart attacks.

I’ll get more comics done in the long run, even if I put hours a day into taking care of my health. See if I don’t.