Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Wellness Paper"

I needed to a freaking wellness paper for my foods and nutrition class.  It's late.  But I finished it.  So here it is, cuz some parts of it are amusing.

I am a whole eclectic mess of tidbits and quirks. Writing about me is on the bottom of the list of the things I want to do along with math and tests. Aka, something I don’t want to do at all.
This first paper was a mix of relief and blinding horror for me – no research (which is great) but it has to be me, me, me. “Uh-oh,” I thought, staring at the page.
Of course, if it was about my health, I have a fairly good idea about that. I am overweight by approximately 70 pounds or so and have asthma. I am not sporty by any stretch of the imagination. I do love my veggies but I just don’t eat them. I don’t smoke and I have mediocre grades. I have self-esteem issues (if you didn’t get that) and suffer from anxiety and depression.
I know that much about myself. That’s easy. I can do that – I can ramble on and make it extend for two pages. What I can’t do, however, is write about my positives.

Writing about what’s good about me, or what I’m good at, is like staring a brick wall in the face. And being smacked by it. Repeatedly. It’s a massive Writer’s Block, capital letters intentional, that I can’t get over.
“Mom,” I said, “I need help.” So she said to open up songs. I opened up eight (my favorite number) and pulled them up. “The Broken Ones” by Dia Frampton is a recent discovery of mine. “I can’t help it, I love the broken ones, the ones who need the most patching up, the ones who’ve, never been loved, never been loved, never been loved. And oh, maybe I see a part of me in them, the missing piece, always trying to fit in,” the song goes. Not very positive, according to my mother (it so is, but I dutifully move on anyway).
Next up is Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten”. “Today is, where your book begins!” Positive, but nothing really about a feature of a person (specifically me).
One would have more luck with her song “Freckles”, third on my list. “A face without freckles is like the sky without the stars, why waste a second not loving who you are?” Which is positive and about features but – there it is again, the fact there’s nothing that’s “me”.
The fourth song is another one by Natasha Bedingfield, this one called “Happy”. It beings with “Landlord’s knocking on my door, cussing me out” and has a chorus of “Got my dreams, got my life, got my love, got my friends, got the sunshine above, why am I making this so hard on myself, when there’s so many beautiful reasons to be happy?”
Something clicks in this song, something about me – my optimism.
I am a boundless optimist. I believe the best of people, and that things will work out. I may expect people to be jerks, but I hope they’re kind. I have so many reasons to be happy. I try my best to be happy. I believe things will get better. I fall short plenty of times, but –
Ultimately, I believe things will improve.
Now, I could go on to how I’m a good writer, but since I have four songs left and am an overachiever, I’m going to locate another positive first.
Plumb’s song “God-Shaped Hole” is a lovely song. “Every point of view has another angle, every angle has its merit – but it all comes down to the ‘That’s the way I see it’,” it starts out with. It gives me warm fuzzies, every time – about how there IS a God and He loves us.
But that’s not really a positive about me. The next song is “Mine” by Taylor Swift. My dad loves it almost as much as I do. “You made a rebel out of a reckless man’s careful daughter,” he remembers most clearly about it. I am not a rebel, nor do I have a reckless man for a father. And I’m not… ‘careful’. So this maybe isn’t as fitting as I’d like it to be (sigh).
The song “Team” by Lorde is next on the line-up. I don’t know why I like this song so much, perhaps the part about “We live in cities you’ll never see on screen” or the nonsense about “Even the comatose, they don’t dance and tell.” Either way, I’m fond of it… and it also doesn’t have anything that, well, ‘clicks’. The final song is by Imagine Dragons – “It’s Time”. I love the song “Demons”, too, but there’s no way I’m finding positives about me in that song. So “I don’t ever want to let you down, I don’t ever want to leave this town” brings me to another click, another realized positive.
I am loyal and determined. In every group of friends I’m the peacemaker, I’m the strong shoulder and the rock. I don’t give up on people. I just don’t, even when it might be better for me. I don’t let people down – I disappoint only when my own incapabilities force me to, and even then I’m as disappointed as whoever lent me their faith.
I am proud of this part of me, proud of this loyalty, this peace-making part of me, and so I don’t want to change who I am. “Now don’t you understand? I’m never changing who I am.”
The final positive about me doesn't come with musical accompaniment. It could come with some poetry. Or maybe a short story. Or maybe this essay is good enough to display my passion, my love, and the one talent I cling to with all desperation. I am a writer, first and foremost. I do poetry, I write deep thoughts and fantasy stories and explore all aspects of life with my words. And yeah, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty good at it, too.

“Challenge areas” is a very misleading title. My challenge areas are math and being less lazy. Check and check. The things I want to improve are many (and not math). It’d be nice to start with writing (see? that’s why that last paragraph was a good lead-in!). I’m talented as it is, but there’s always room for improvement. I want to tell a story as well as J.K. Rowling and form such perfectly crafted sentences as John Irving and wonderful imagery as Robert Frost and use such eloquent language as Emily Dickenson and write the sheer amount of Stephan King. And that takes practice and writing obsessively. So, uh, thanks for the practice, I guess.
Next thing I want to improve? It doesn't leap to my mind as easily. I mean, I suppose I want to be less lazy, but that’s not at the front of my list (sorry, Mom). My self-esteem, perhaps, fits here. I want to be more confident in myself. Once Upon a Time, in elementary school, I was confident and believed in myself. The horror story known as “sixth grade” (you’ll hear this a lot!) ruined that for me. As I mentioned before, writing about my positives, my strengths, is a brick wall of Writer’s Block (capitals intentional). To be able to believe in myself as much as my mother or my friends believe in me? I’d love that – I miss it. Creating a goal that’s specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound is not so easy when it comes to self-esteem. But it’s possible.
This goal, to be specific, will be about changing my thought processes. Though I demurely bow my head and smile and say “thank you” whenever I’m given a compliment, inside I start berating myself. I get warm fuzzies, too, of course, but nevertheless… Each time I am given a compliment, I will focus on the warm fuzzies and just appreciate that someone saw something positive inside of me. And when I say something negative about myself, I will accept the outpouring of love instead of calling myself an attention whore. It will be hard, but possible.
I’ll measure this by when it becomes more natural to accept compliments and love from people. When it isn’t “self-hate” but “lack of confidence”, and a compliment is warm and loving and not cause for me to be cruel to myself. Obviously, the “baby steps” focus makes it attainable; it’s definitely focused on the results – being more self-confident – and as for time… Well, sadly, being more confident doesn’t have a time limit. It’s just a matter of patience.
I said writing was a strength. I said I wanted to improve it. Go figure, I’m going to outline a brief plan on how I want to improve. Is writing an obsession? Yes, yes it is.
First off, what do I want to do? Well, I have a story I’ve been planning, changing, creating, since before I could write. The goal is to work on that. On this draft, I have two chapters so far. Now, at the moment, I want to manage chapters three and four.
My goal will be to write an hour a day. Just sit down, without distractions (okay, with minimal distractions – no way I can’t stop chatting with my friends online), and write. Some days I’ll write a lot. Other days I’ll write a little.
This is a reasonable time to ask of myself. I can make this time for myself, easy. It won’t take much out of my day, and will only require I sit down at a blank screen and focus on the story I love the most. It’s definitely attainable.
It took me about a month (with distractions and not writing every day) to write chapter one, and two months to write chapter two (under the same conditions). Averaging it out, I’d give myself a generous month and a half for each, and a three month total to achieve the goal.
(Here I come, Unicorn Valley – I will publish you before I graduate!)
Now, as for my third goal… I said I was approximately seventy pounds overweight, give or take. I need to get my weight down. The next appointment with my pediatrician is in September. This is March, so that’s about sixth months away. A pound a week is a reasonable goal; so that’s four pounds per month, times six, would be twenty four pounds.
I want to lose twenty-four pounds by September of this year. Each day, I will eat at least one fruit (meaning an orange or an apple) and one serving of veggies. Hopefully I can up my intake of healthy foods as time goes on. Three times a week, I will exercise – I could dance, or walk, or various other things. Finally, almost every day, I hope to do yoga. Yoga relaxes me and strengthens my muscles.
I will see results slowly, but they will come. And hey, if I stay focused, I may even surpass my goal!
Okay, I can’t finish it off here. One last goal, then: I want to be a vegetarian. A pesci-vegetarian, actually, which means I eat fish and chicken. Being raised on meat, it’s not an easy thing to give up almost all of it. My goal for this one will to achieve full pescetarianism by September, along with losing those twenty-four pounds I want to get rid of.
To start off, just avoid meat. No burgers or steaks. Chicken on occasion, and fish whenever I can get it (my mom doesn’t like fish, so that translates to ‘I rarely get to eat fish’). Of course, increase my intake of veggies. “Vegetarian” has it in the name. I need vegetables. And it might be a good idea to aim for those two to three servings of fruit as well.
Being a carbo-loader, I need to lower that tendency towards carbohydrates. Less carbs. When I want a snack, grab a piece of fruit. I need to get into that habit.
So there you have it – not just three, but four goals!

From positives, to improvement, to goals I can and want to achieve – this essay wasn’t so bad. Okay, it was terrible. I’m sorry, but this was not fun to write. At least I somehow hurdled over that brick wall. Wait. I somehow hurdled over that brick wall, the one that was smacking me in the face. Hey, that’s gold-star worthy! That’s worthy of not counting this late!
I wrote this whole thing to music, by the way. I guess that’s how I hurdled over that brick wall. There’s many challenges to face in life. This essay was just one of them. I just now set out four more challenges for me to face. But you know, I can do them.
I am a whole eclectic mess of tidbits and quirks, after all, and that’s the best sort of mess to be.