1. Those things I lost? Well, they’re still lost.
Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear in the last Four Month Journal: the USB drive, DVD cable, and my driver’s license that I lost earlier this month? Yeah, those items were never found. I had to wait in a not-that-long-but-still-miserable line at the BMV to take a new driver’s license picture. Needless to say, I did not smile fondly. It was not a fantastic day, and I was tired of faking it like it was. “Get it over with it,” I muttered through gritted teeth, as the camera flashed its unattractive light on my face. Now, for the next five years, I have a story to go along with my horrendous license picture. “Remember that time when….”For this installment of La Bella Memoir, I’m disclosing some of my secrets –– confessions, you can call them. I want everyone to know that, despite the outward appearance of cool, calm, and collected I desperately attempt to portray, inside I’m just an average almost-nineteen-year-old young woman, who makes mistakes, has a few guilty pleasures, and is still working on trying to figure it all out.
2. I still write in a journal. Call me a middle school teenager, if you will.
Yes, I’m a hopeless teenager who still writes in a journal. I write about my problems, I mope about my bad luck, and spin a few poems, here and there. I’m not exactly sure why I’m still cataloging or keeping these memories bound in black ink and white pages. What am I hoping to find when I’m 50 years old, looking back through my high school freshman diary? Maybe it’s satisfaction I’m longing for, because I’m damn well wishing I’m much better off three-and-a-half decades after my high school tainted memories. Don’t even think about stealing away at my thoughts, though –– my journals are all locked up in a suitcase, and only I can crack the case.
3. I don’t have a boyfriend –– and I ain’t looking for one, either.
I went through all my high school years without a single boyfriend –– an unthinkable feat for many, I’m sure. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in boys (hello, they’re kinda hard to ignore), but I made the choice to put my academics, and now my career, ahead of those petty high school relationships. Because I’m an independent woman. I have high goals, career aspirations, and plans for my future. I’m sure as hell not slowing down to let a boy distract me from my dreams. But, as an aside, that doesn’t mean I won’t ever give a guy a chance. He just has to have the willingness to enter and make an effort to stay in my life. Like I said, I’m not slowing this ship down to sell my soul or blindly give myself away, just for love. Prove to me you are worth my time. Then, well, I’ll reconsider.
Spoiler alert: I still have, and think I always will have, a crush on a close friend. Who is it? You’re smart –– figure it out.
4. The only time I still sing is in the car to One Direction. Count yourself lucky if you catch me.
Remember that time when I sang in a choir? Yeah, me either. High school memories are already fading as fast as a winter sunset –– gone before you even notice them coming. I learned a great deal from dedicating myself to a school-based choir program, but I’ve come to realize I don’t need that in my life, anymore. Four years was plenty, thank you very much. So now, I only sing in the car, preferably to One Direction (my ultimate guilty pleasure. I knew them when they were still on The X Factor, so be jealous of my Directioner status). To all who catch glimpses of me jamming hardcore to “Steal My Girl” on the road, just drive on by. You’re lucky you even see me singing, at all.
5. I love the body I’m becoming.
It took a few weeks –– maybe even a few months –– before I started to realize just how fit and tone my body was becoming. For the last six years, I’ve struggled with a persistent eating disorder and a crumbling self-image. I’m incredibly self-conscious and always think way too critically about my appearance. When I made the commitment two years ago to finally re-nourish my body, I vowed that exercise and wellness would remain important aspects in my life of recovery. Now, after staying dedicated to a weekly exercise program for five months, I’m finally reaping the seeds I’ve sown. I can run for an hour without stopping. My endurance has swelled, and so have my leg muscles. I can lift weights and yank a pulley attached to a stationary row-machine for a half-hour. I’m nowhere near the physical fitness I aspire to one day achieve, but I can honestly, proudly, and guilt-freely proclaim: I love the body that I’m becoming.
6. I have abstained from processed, refined sugars for 11 months, and counting.
One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to cut back on processed sugars. After reading an article in National Geographic the previous year, I realized how almost none of my diet contained fats, and how deceptively my diet contained myriad sugars. Sugar in drinks like hot chocolate, sugar coating processed snacks like crackers, cookies, and candy, sugar in and on EVERYTHING. If I was going to start feeling good about my body again, I would have to start thinking more responsibly about what exactly I was putting into my life vessel. That first week –– no processed snacks, no added sugars in any food –– was hell. My body literally experienced a sugar shock, shaking and convulsing without that compound I had become so addicted to. But, slowly, miraculously… it got better. As months went by, I no longer dreamt about sugar-coated snacks, or longed for a sugar-stocked milkshake. Now, I only eat raw, unprocessed foods, and get my sugar high from natural sugars –– apples, raisins, melons, and pears, to name a few. I still consume sugar, just not in the refined, processed way Americans have come to accept the compound. I’m not here to preach about your eating habits –– this abnormal diet has worked for me, it doesn’t work for everyone. I’m only saying: it’s possible to live without processed sugars. It’s not an insurmountable feat, you CAN do it.
7. I’m dedicated, and I’m going to pursue whatever it is that I want.
There has never been a year when I’ve become more fully aware of the ability to shape my destiny. It is I who choose what I do, who enters my life, and who can take their leave. No more will I live with nagging regrets. No more will I disregard my dreams for someone else’s. I want it to be made clear –– I will not back down. Come at me head on, and I’ll just spread my wings. Time to fly.
8. My brother is my rock, and he’s my best friend.
Some people claim that a deity or their grandmother carry special meaning in their life. My special person is my brother. When we were growing up, my brother took a lot of flack from me. And that’s not an exaggeration or hyperbole. My parents can attest, I am the farthest from being a perfect child. I blamed everything on my younger brother, but I made sure I received his undivided affection whenever we played my invented childhood games. I was mean and unkind, and I know now that I was. But he found it in his heart to forgive me, someway or another. Now, I can’t imagine a life without him. He’s my rock in the darkest of times; I can count on him to give me the sorely-needed advice or support I’m craving, whenever I call on him. And I’m so proud of the young gentleman he’s becoming. The moment I knew I was the luckiest sister in the world was when my brother played his first piano solo for the high school talent show his freshman year. Every other performer backstage was telling me, as he played a beautiful rendition of “River Flows in You,” how amazing and how talented he was –– and I adamantly replied, “I know.” Vince, you’ll be my best friend, forever and always. I could never ask for a better brother, mentor, and partner-in-crime than you. Thank you.
9. I still don’t have everything figured out.
As much as I like to pretend I know where, what, and how my life will turn out, I can’t sit here and admit I don’t have my doubts. In truth, I don’t really have a clue on a lot of things –– religion, spirituality, what it takes to be a good person. Those deep, unsettling thoughts that rattle around in your brain? They’re stirring in mine, too. I thought, at one time, I had all those things figured out. And I was confident in my unwavering faith, too. But life happens and forces you to think otherwise. I’m convinced our time on Earth is just a cycle of doubt and conviction, despair and assurance. Right now, I’m caught in a nasty bout of utter confusion, and I just can’t seem to shake the devils off my back. These questions of: “Who am I? Why am I here? What is my greater purpose? What do I believe?” are still unanswered, still puzzles yet to be solved. And maybe they never will be. Maybe I’ll just have to live with wonder.
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