There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. ― Steve Maraboli
Two weeks into Lent, I am having nearly 100 percent of my meal plan every day. Giving up restriction has been simpler than I thought. At the same time, it has been miserably hard. Sometimes, I just want to scream and go back to starving myself.
One of the hardest elements is the constant nagging voice in the back of my head. “You are so fat,” it hisses. Anytime that I sit down, see myself in the mirror, look at my body, or feel my clothing on my skin, I feel nauseous. How can I live in this body for the rest of my life?
This Monday, a man in New Hope Minnesota shot and wounded two police officers at a committee meeting where they had just been sworn into service. They returned fire and shot Raymond Kmetz who it seems went into the situation hoping to be killed.
Looking back at the gunman’s life, reporters have found that he was troubled with mental health issues which caused him to lose his home, be committed to a mental hospital, and threaten police multiple times. Although the hospital diagnosed him with organic brain dysfunction which made competency unlikely, the court failed to prolong him from his commitment in 2013. You can read more about this tragic story in The Star Tribune.
We so often hear bad news. Children are dying, corruption is rampant in politics, natural disasters wipes out homes, and anger drives families away from each other. These stories seem to be all there is in newspapers, television stations, and online today.
However, studying journalism has helped me to realize that many people involved in the news industry desire to raise awareness to difficult issues and prevent society from becoming apathetic. This driving force is admirable although it can be taken too far. We also need to the good news that surrounds us every day.
Returning from Oxford, I was tired but not burned-out.
Working without breaks six days in a row before returning to college really drained me. I have tried to pretend that everything is fine and I can take on any task thrown at me. However, the reality is I feel like I am beginning to break down because of my workload and busy schedule.
Being overextended is part of the lives of millions. Our society convinces us that rushing from one thing to another is normal. Yet, that is not healthy. Look at the people who are constantly bustling from place to place without reflecting on where they have been or what they have seen. Do they seem more at peace or happy? Probably not. Then why do we try to force ourselves to mimic their lifestyles?
“Lose weight in 10 days without trying!” “Eliminate these five simple foods for a better shape in a week!” “Make dieting easy by trying our new supplement!”
We are surrounded by headlines such as these every day. Magazines at the grocery store, ads on television and even comments from friends repeat such phrases. The words and instructions might be different, but the message remains the same; you need to lose weight quickly.
However, do such diets as advertised really work? No, not for the most part. There are certainly exceptions, but fad diets tend to be backed by poor scientific research and have no lasting results. In fact, these programs designed to make us healthy often backfire and cause discomfort, further medical issues or eating disorders.
How many people can admit to being comfortable with their appearance? Oddly enough, those who are sometimes are criticized as being vain or deluded. Why is it that characters in movies and books who are confident in their appearance are Gaston in Beauty and the Beast or the self-consumed mean girl?
This video brought tears to my eyes. The truth of it hit me really hard. As we grow up, we listen to what other people say about our bodies and take those cruel comments as truths. Instead of seeing our bright green eyes, we focus on our freckles. The lumpy shape of our calves blinds us to the dimples on our cheeks. Our rosy blush is seen as awkward instead of charming.
“Eat more often.” “Don’t have anything with sugar.” “Put on some makeup.” “Stop caring about what you look like.”
Sometimes, the voices of everyone and everything around me are so overwhelming. Listening to them all and obeying them becomes a constant chore. Like a puppet, I move my arms and walk through life attached to the strings of others. If only the scissors that I tried to use to free myself were healthier coping mechanisms.
Life rushes by us so quickly. In our society, we seem to be pressured to move from one thing to the next without even time to take a breath. After all, that would just be wasting time.
Work, school, cleaning, social events, networking, family outings – the list of things to do never seems to end. All of this time, noise bombards us. Cars blare horns when you do not move soon enough, rock music rattles clothing in malls, and friends screech with laughter and silly jokes. Sometimes, silence seems impossible to find.
Evil is a terrifying and powerful word. Rarely would I use it to describe a person. Hitler, Stalin, Attila – there are people from history that others will bring up as examples of evil. However, even then, something in me falters. Using that descriptor seems hateful and condemning even if the person did awful things. Then again, I am the girl who winces when orcs die in The Lord of the Rings because I wish they would have repented and turned good.
However, people usually declare that murder, rape, abuse, and kidnapping are evil. There are few things that we all agree upon as a society, but being against these actions seems to be one of our similarities. You can argue what that means to different people (for example, when is killing in self-defense or war justified), but the general rejection of these actions carries through most (if not all) cultures and societies despite different laws, values, and religions.
Stairs at a college in Oxford where I found some peace and quiet
Everyone has been harping on me to eliminate something from my schedule. Work, school, extra curricular activities – they are all great, claim my parents and medical caregivers, but even too much of a good thing can lead to disaster.
However, I feel stuck. Already, so much has been given up from my list of things to do. I have not gone to Toastmasters the past two meetings and never joined choir or speech team. The amount of work that I have done has cut down for two of my jobs to very few hours. Yet, my life still feels chaotic.
Society puts so much pressure on us to be busy. Working is a virtue as is pushing yourself to accomplish as much as possible. Taking time to rest and simply be is almost unheard of, at least where I am from in Midwestern America. You should always be moving forward and completing some task. That makes a successful person.