Youth is wasted on the young” is something I’ve always heard being said. The older I get, though, the more I realize it is not true. Take Ana-Isabel F. Soudaly-Espinosa a young Native-Asian American artist, passionate about the world around her.  

 She is breaking barriers. Ana is high school graduate attending college with the purpose of helping to guide her tribal people, and peers, through the rough terrain of multicultural life. 

Ana-Isabel has been using every moment of her youth preparing for her adulthood. Ana-Isabel easily and seamlessly maneuvers through the multicultural layers that define her character. 

Her roots are deeply embedded in her Native Indian culture. Ana-Isabel’s mother is an immigrant from Taiwan. 

Her father is Native Indian with Spaniard and Mexican roots. Her paternal grandmother, Juanita Espinosa, is her Native guide. 

Ana-Isabel holds the distinction of being the first grandchild in her familial clan. She also holds the distinction and honor of being the eldest to her tribal cousins.  A role she takes very seriously.

Inktoberan, an online challenge within the art community inspired her to enter her drawing entitled ‘Poisonous’ her take on the sugar addiction epidemic sweeping her communities. 

Ana-Isabel describes ‘Poisonous’ in her own words: 

Drawing by Ana-Isabel F. Soudaly-Espinosa

“As a teenager, I have suffered through both anxiety and depression. I know it’s a cold hand that pokes me towards apathy. It knows its pain. I also know it is a strength.  I know where it comes from.

For me, I will get anxiety attacks if I get a coffee or too much sugar in the afternoon. Sugar is a toxin.  Our society pushes it into every food group. Every meal, and every bite. My three grandmas know this.  As two are diabetic and one has survived breast cancer. I know this, as I’ve watched the pain grow with the more sweets I eat during my moon (Moon refers to a woman’s period.)

My mother knows this, as she makes every effort to get my siblings and me to eat healthily and be mindful, to take care of ourselves. Sugar is a poison just as addictive as nicotine.  I love my sweets.  I’m not saying “remove it from your lives” but be mindful of what you put in your body.

 If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.”

No way that youth is wasted with the young especially when influenced by the unconditional love and devotion of the proverbial village.  A village of support, the devotion to tradition, to ancestors, to history. 

Youth such as Ana-Isabel F. Soudaly-Espinosa, are anxious, ready, willing and able to take the baton and with it the responsibilities it carries. Ana-Isabel F. Soudaly-Espinosa exemplifies the lyrics made famous by George Benson  (and Whitney Houston) The Greatest Love. “I believe the children are our future.  Teach them well and let them lead the way

Ana-Isabel F. Soudaly-Espinosa is a Native Indian/Asian/LatinX American young woman ready to take the baton.

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