This blog is a collection of a young woman's random thoughts, many tangents, and occasional
short stories and novel excerpts. Stay tuned for plenty of bull and brief moments of brilliance.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Food

Food in schools. It's been a source of controversy for many years in America, brought to the forefront again by Jamie Oliver's new show: Food Revolution. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this show from beginning to end, but know deep down that it will not sustain. It's not because Jamie's work was not efficient, but because the government and large corporations will not get on board with it.

We are the fattest country in the world. We all want to blame it on someone or something else but ourselves. I saw my mom struggle with her weight for most of my life, and she used every excuse in the world, yet in the end, I know the reason none of her diets worked. She never took responsibility for what she did to her own body. Once we all take control of our own bodies, we can make real progress. Now, I know, coming from a 120lb. 5'3" 19 year old, it may not seem a compelling argument. But seriously people, when will we start caring?

Why do we as Americans always blame others and lack the responsibility of adults? Above all though, why do parents sabotage their own children? I've heard so many arguments out there about parents claiming, "My child won't eat this/that/veggies/fruits/drink milk/etc." When did parents decide to surrender their power to their children? When I've babysat children, I've forced them to eat their dinner. They're not allowed to leave the table until they're finished. Some parents didn't like that I did this, but I didn't really give a shit in the end. Your kid has to eat eventually and will eat what you serve them if they have no other choice.

It does, however, come down to schools with some responsibility. I remember our high school changed the lunch program my sophomore year, getting rid of our salad bar and only serving pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers, and fries. And of course, there were always plenty of deserts. Gone were the delicious little pudding cups and the tomato basil soups. I know it came down to costs but in the end, we didn't like the food and most stopped buying it.

As with most things in America, Americans and the government act like teenagers in a sense: they won't make a change until things hit an all time low. I guess then, we haven't hit rock bottom quite yet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Exercising

It wasn't until college that I learned my love for exercising. When I was in grade/high school, I could get away with running a mile on a treadmill once a week, but now that just doesn't cut it anymore.

Now I exercise for 30-50min. three times a week, cardio and core strengthening exercises. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would enjoy this. The thing is though, I only really enjoy exercising when I'm by myself and in a pissed off mood. Strange, I know, but I get I high off it I guess. It seems that whenever I'm happy, that's when I procrastinate and avoid exercising. When I'm mad and hate the world, then I do what's good for me. Luckily enough, the latter emotion is more common than not.

Everyone has their own rituals for exercise and their own rythem or running playlist. For me, I have discovered that I hate running outside; I would much prefer a treadmill to an outdoor run. Why?! Many people I know find the treadmill and it's companions tedious and boring. I, on the other hand, enjoy the mynotony that allows my brain to wander. My ADD is evident when I attempt to run outside; every little thing distracts me. Plus, by the time I feel the weather is nice enough, I get overheated. I sweat like a pig--seriously--and outside is just too much for me. Plus, where the hell am I supposed to put my water bottle?! I drink tons of water (this dates back to high school and unless you've ever attended DSHA, you wouldn't understand) and can't go on long runs without water by my side.

But most of all, I feel like I have to be "prepared" to run outdoors. I never know where to run so that I'm not running into people. Some over the years have suggested just running wherever and having an adventure. Being a person with a severe lack of direction, this is not a good idea for me; I would end up worrying too much about where I am. I know the University of Iowa campus pretty well as a second semester freshman, but I still get lost if I wander too far. I went on an "adventure walk" and ended up amidst the College of Medicine buildings on the west side of campus, completely turned around. Hell, I still get lost in my hometown of Whitefish Bay! At least at home, I have lake Michigan to keep my east and west straight.

So yeah, I'll stay in my nice air-conditioned exercise facility and on my stationary treadmill with the cup holder, thank you very much.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What Keeps Me Going

Sometimes, I suprise myself. From the people I put up with, to adapting to change, and simply getting through research and homework, I am suprised. Yet most of all, my writing suprises me.

With theater, I was never completely confident. That comes as a shock to people, for many say to me, "You're the most confident person I know!" It makes me laugh, but it also hurts a bit inside. I knew I was good at acting; I took such pride in my work, would lock myself in my room for hours developing my character, and always had my lines (and usually the whole play...) memorized before my fellow actors. When I would stand on that stage though, I could never shake the feeling that it was all some strange twist of faith, random burst of luck. Was I really as talented as my director would tell me I was? I developed a "name" for myself early on in high school, and carried it on throughout my four years at DSHA. But was my success only due to the early praise I recieved? I didn't think so; I went through multiple directors who, for the most part, saw my dedication and passion for the fine arts. I despise watching video footage of my shows. They make me sad, because instantly I am thinking, "How could anyone say this is talent?" With recognition comes pride, and along with it arrogance. I'm the first to admit I was big-headed in theater my junior/senior year. Yes, I had defining moments that pushed me to and past my limit and humbling moments as well, but I thought I was something special. Yet did I really think it, or was I just telling myself that I was worthy of praise? It was in this moment of recognition that I realized I had to find something I believed in myself whole-heartedly.

I turned away from the stage and turned instead to my pen and paper.

Do I regret the change? At times. I guess I can only say I made the switch at the end of my senior year. With my "Actress of the Year in a Comedy or Drama" award in hand, I retired from my brief, yet fruitful, acting career. In college, I was not longer the "theater girl", I was a writer. Writer, me? Could I handle this title? "Sure," said my big-headed self. "You're the shit. OWN IT." Sure, this attitude helps me get through workshops and brutal critques, but overall, I had to abandon the philosophy I outgrew.

That said, I am still the stubborn little shit I've always been, but I've replaced over-inflated confidence for realism. Accepting this is hard, and it's still a work-in-progress. I have to open myself up to the fact that I'm not perfect and that I must grow-up with my craft, not in spite of it. Even from the start of my freshman year here at Iowa, I can see the difference. I looked back at the early parts of my novel, Autumn Leaves, when I recently send my novel to a friend who wanted to read my work. I was freightened to say the least. How can I think this is worthy of publication??? Then I looked at the passages that I wrote my sophomore year compared to my junior year, then senior year, then freshman year of college. Watching how my writing evolved over only four years is shocking, yet comforting.

I see the talent within myself, the flower ready to bloom. All I need to do is realize that I'm still growing in my art. Unlike with my theatrical journey--which was, still, life-changing and taught me so much about myself--I feel confident when I look at my work. In fact, I enjoy looking at writing, even the older stuff! So no, I may not be confident in everything I do--guys, especially, and my looks are my greatest struggles--I am confident in my writing. So yeah, when it comes to writing, I do think I'm pretty fucking awesome. It's not like my acting though, for I do it for another reason. In theater, you have others around, pushing you literally and metaphorically, but not in writing. Being a writer is a lonely love, and if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Some say to me, "You can't call yourself a writer, you're too young/not enough experience/haven't done anything!" I just smile, because I know that they're wrong. Little do they know, I've been working on a novel for four years. Little do they know, my next book has been brewing in my mind since I was eight/nine years old. Little do they know, my imagination is swirling with plans for a trilogy.

I'm glad that people underestimate me, because proving them wrong will be that much more satisfying. My work will speak for itself. I'll show them all. Prove myself to fellow students who think I have my head in the clouds. Prove myself to that english teacher who set out to break me down and force me to abandon my voice. Prove myself to the skeptics, doubters, and those who feel sorry for me and my lack of a grasp on reality. But most of all, I'm proving myself to me.

Someday, I will be published. That's what keeps me going.