Month: February 2013

I Am More Than My Eating Disorder

In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness week, I choose to give meaning to my own voice, not to the voice of my eating disorder. If you have concerns about yourself or a loved one, you are not alone. Visit myneda.org for more information.

I am a girl. I am a daughter and a sister. I am a student, a writer, a friend. I am a dreamer and a thinker.

I am a person struggling with anorexia.

I am also a badass. I am strong and brave and funny. I care deeply about other people and have a strong desire to be a force for good in the world. I am a mathematician and a scientist, a reader and a puzzler.

I am an enigma.

But I am NOT my eating disorder.

I spent three months in treatment, knowing that I was there because of my eating disorder and surrounded by others who were dealing with similar issues. We had groups and lessons and discussions about our food rituals and behaviors, trying to figure out how to replace them with healthier coping skills. Our food was measured and monitored by trained counselors.

There was an awful lot of focus on my eating disorder. I was hyper-aware of its presence in my head and the distorted way that it made me think. Everything I did was about fighting against Ed, challenging Ed, ignoring Ed. And that’s the way it needs to be in treatment – you have to notice and understand an eating disorder before you can effectively engage in combat. But at some point, it has to stop being about that. It has to start being about YOU.

Without the knowledge that you are more than your eating disorder, you cannot win. For me, the longer I stayed in high levels of care, the more everything seemed to revolve around the anorexia. I was constantly held to expectations regarding how much I should eat and how much I should weigh – just as I did when I was being controlled by my eating disorder, except this time the expectations were external rather than internal. In order to be successful in treatment, like in my eating disorder, I had to constantly think about food and weight. Now, I understand that these were essential components in my recovery because they allowed my body to return to a much healthier place. But returning to a healthy weight is not permanent lasting change. It didn’t make my obsessive preoccupation with food and weight go away, because the focus was still on those things.

There was a label on me. “Anorexic” was stamped on my forehead. Not literally, but for all intents and purposes, it was there. I embraced it, because I had to if I ever wanted to get rid of it. But it got me stuck. I worked so hard on the eating disorder part of myself that I completely lost touch with the rest of me. And that was the part I needed, that would help me fight.

You can’t fully recover from an eating disorder in treatment, even though it’s a crucial place to start. You have to recover from your eating disorder in life. At some point, something else has to become more important than your eating disorder, and it won’t unless you let your life get in the way.

In my life, I see that I am a member of a truly beautiful family. I recognize that I love to learn and that I want to finish college no matter what. I know that I can combine my love of writing and my desire to help other people into a powerful hobby.

I still struggle with my eating disorder every single day. It’s never easy, even though I have a LOT of help. But I recognize that what defines me is not the battle I’m fighting against the monster that is anorexia, it is all those other things. It is the joy I feel when I get to watch my brother open his first college acceptance letter. It is the completeness I experience when I am able to capture emotion in writing. It is the freedom I feel when I’m driving down the highway and singing along with the radio.

My life is more important than my eating disorder.

I deserve better than my eating disorder.

I am more than my eating disorder.

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Let us go then, you and I
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon the table

When I first read T.S. Eliot’s careful words my junior year of high school, I fell in love.

Why was I drawn so strongly to this poem? Maybe it was the fact that I actually felt like it was written by a real person in language that at least tried to be understandable (unlike “The Waste Land”). Or maybe it was the fact that when I read it out loud, I could feel the emotions behind the words even when I couldn’t quite put them together logically. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about in class that day, so clearly the deeper meaning wasn’t too important to me. So…what?

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

I hate most poetry. I suffered through many a unit in school, reading Plath and Dickinson and Browning and Yeats and Bryant and Shelley until I wanted to gouge my eyes out. I usually complain about how poets just talk in circles and never say what they really mean. I’m even soulless enough to dare to dislike Shakespeare. I know, I should be embarrassed to call myself a writer. But I’m just trying to illustrate my extreme level of aversion to most rhyming, metered, and free-form verse.

Something about “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is different than any other poem I’ve ever read. I don’t care that I can’t make sense of it. I just love it. I have an online copy of the poem bookmarked in my web browser so I can read it whenever I want. I also keep a Word document of it in Dropbox so I can read it offline on my computer and phone. And, to complete the accessibility suite, I have a handwritten copy in the back of my journal.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor —
And this, and so much more? —
It is impossible to say just what I mean!

For some reason, the speaker of this poem is just universally relatable. I feel his desperation so deeply that it’s physically painful. I can tell he is trying so hard to tell me how he feels – and although my brain doesn’t process his language as comprehensible sentences, the imagery he creates is powerful enough that it doesn’t matter. I think that’s what all poetry is supposed to be like, but nobody was ever able to convince me that it worked until I was introduced to Mr. Eliot here. And nobody’s been able to convince me of it since.

I want my tombstone to read, “She dared disturb the universe.”

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

10 Reasons Pinterest is Ruining My Life

10. No matter how closely I follow the recipes, my food will NEVER EVER look that pretty. I regret to inform you that I have made both of the following dishes, and the photos set me up for major disappointment.

via Skinnytaste

via SavoringtheThyme.com

9. “OMG SUPER EASY DIY” is such a lie. Maybe it would be easy for Martha Stewart, but the rest of us are boarding the bus to struggle city.

8. I am constantly convinced that I need to do things like make a cheese grater into an earring holder and buy an ungodly number of mason jars and wash my hair with mayonnaise. The actual value of these activities is immeasurably small.

7. Real talk: there should be no place where a twenty-year-old single female is encouraged to plan her wedding.

via OneWed.com

 

via jettingtothewedding.com

Pinterest is going to create a lot of bridezillas. I will be one of them.

6. I spend hours looking at tattoos. Tattoos are expensive. I want them all. This is a situation with which I am not pleased.

5. STOP TRYING TO CONVINCE ME THAT I CAN GET SIX PACK ABS IN HALF AN HOUR. YOU ARE A DIRTY LIAR.

(I also take a lot of issues with the many “thinspiration” boards on Pinterest. However, I will get into that another time as to keep the mood of this post light and humorous.)

4. This is what I want my college apartment to look like. That’s not too unrealistic, is it?

via imgfave.com

via houzz.com

 

via unfoldedblog.com

3. I often find myself dreaming that I live in a world where things like mustard yellow pants or five-inch color block heels or floral bandeaus would be of some practical use to me.

And also where I could pull them off.

Sadly, that world exists only in the confines of my own mind, and on Pinterest.

2. Single me feels even more depressed while lusting after shirtless celebrities.

via celebritydogwatcher.com

 

via weheartit.com

 

via theberry.com

1. This.

via kiitsunee.tumblr.com

A level of cuteness the world just isn’t ready for.

Well done, Pinterest. You win this round.

All the Times I’ve Never Been Kissed, Part 2

(Part 1 can be found here.)

I’m sixteen.

My best friend thinks you’re beautiful, and I guess you are. We giggle about you at night. We know you’re there, just fifteen feet away; you can probably hear us. When we make a list ranking all of the boys at camp by their desirability, you are at the very top. On the boys’ list, I am number two. I worry that this means I have no chance with you.

One night, we sneak out. Not just us, of course; I am with two of my friends and you are with two of yours. We climb through the brambles until we reach a small fort, someplace wonderful we didn’t build. Someone suggests a game of “spin the bottle.” My stomach clenches as I feel the real possibility of your closeness, my heart beating like a quickly approaching drum line.  I mumble something about feeling sick and rush blindly through broken sticks and crackling leaves until I am back in my bed, safe from you and your guitar and your hypnotic eyes and all the things about you that keep me awake at night.

Somebody tells me you like me back. In response, I vomit in the corner of the soccer field.

We are assigned to the same unit the next week. We walk over to play capture the flag together, both dressed in head-to-toe blue, you carrying a light saber. You fiddle with it while we travel because I am tongue-tied. When we reach our destination, we have lapsed into an awkward silence.

“See ya,” I say.

“Yep,” you reply.

A few days later, I hear you’ve moved on to the girl who’s number one. It makes sense. You should be with someone as beautiful as you are.

I’m Afraid of What I Want

Man, is it easy to be lazy. I’m writing this blog post from my bed, where I have been for the past two hours. What have I done during those two hours? Nothing. Except read some trashy blogs and poke around Facebook for awhile. My brother is across the room watching YouTube videos on his phone – I think he’s been stagnant even longer than I have. We are such a fun bunch, huh?

I set a goal for myself this morning that during my free time this afternoon I was going to spend real time thinking about what I want. Like, what kind of life I want to be living, what kinds of people and things I want around me, what I want to be doing…the big “what do I want”s.

And yet, I have done nothing but click through page after page of the internet.

I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to think in terms of the bigger picture lately. I think I’m scared of it, but I’m not sure what to do about it. Every time I make a decision, I question whether I really want to follow through – and ultimately I never answer my own question. Instead, I distract myself until the decision stresses me out, and then I make up my mind in a state of panic and refuse to let myself back out of whatever choice I’ve made.

I think that’s the way I’ve always been with school. The only reason I decided to go to the school I chose was because it was the “best” school that would have me. It was a decision based on panic and disappointment rather than logic. But once I had made my choice, even in the darkest of times, I never really let myself consider the possibility of changing my mind. Sure, I thought and talked about transferring a few times, but I always knew in the core of my being that I wasn’t going to follow through. I made my bed when I accepted that offer in 2010, and I would forever lie in it. Even though I began to question that decision every single day.

It’s the same now. I’ve made the decision to go back, and I’m throwing myself into it 100%, but I am riddled with doubt and panic. It may be that it’s simply a normal part of life, or it may be that I’m not trusting myself. But I can’t help but think that once again, I am making a choice solely based on fear. Fear of change. Fear of moving in an unfamiliar direction. Fear of disappointment.

I’m afraid of everything. Of realizing my potential, of not realizing my potential. Of changing, of remaining the same. Of people, of being alone. One paradox after another. I’m too afraid to die, but I’m too afraid to really live, either.

Ultimately, I’m afraid of what I want. What if what I want doesn’t line up with what I “should” (GODDAMN THOSE SHOULDS) be doing? What if what I want is unattainable? What if I realize that what I want scares me more than not knowing what I want?

My bigger picture has ugly erase marks all over it where I’ve tried to start over, but I always just redraw the lines exactly where they were because it’s easier. I don’t want to draw new lines and have those be wrong too and have to erase again.

My bigger picture is more petrifying than anything else in my life.

But it’s so important.

Next time I’m going to shelve the digital tools and pick up a pen and paper. I’m going to put on my headphones. I’m not going to let myself get distracted by blogs or wall posts or iTunes. I’m going to force myself to draw my bigger picture. On a clean sheet of paper. No erase marks. Just me. Just what I want.

And right now I’m going to get out of bed and go see a beautifully technical piece of theater with my brother and geek out over the lighting design. Because right now that sounds pretty good.

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

What should I be doing right now? Probably a lot of things. For instance, I have a list full of to-dos that really should have been checked off two days ago, but for some reason no matter how long I stare at those items they aren’t actually being completed. Funny how that works.

Or maybe I should be packing for my trip to Penn State this weekend. Or maybe I should be doing the dishes from dinner so my parents don’t have to do them when they get home from church. Or maybe I should be responding to the numerous text messages that I’ve read today without bothering to reply.

The fact is, if I think about it enough, there’s ALWAYS something I should be doing that I’m not. That’s true for everyone; we’re hit with “should”s from all around us every day. There’s some new finding in the news that says we should stop eating red meat or disable certain services on our computer or exercise more or watch this new TV show…it’s exhausting. And in a world like this, it’s so easy to constantly “should” all over yourself.

“Should” statements are one of the cognitive distortions associated with CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Basically, some people get into a pattern of thinking in terms of what they “should” be doing or thinking rather than what is actually beneficial to them. Often these statements are based on external triggers – for example, the idea that a person should look a certain way in order to be attractive – but they can also stem from internal pressures that may not have any logical cause. I’m not an expert in CBT by any means, so the best example I can give is one I have personally struggled with, which is an eating disorder thought. Eating disorders love “should” statements because they have a unique way of making you feel guilty if you disobey. Once that sneaky little voice comes into your head and says, “You shouldn’t be eating that, it’ll make you fat,” every bite you take is riddled with shame. “You should skip lunch today” carries the same unpleasant emotions. Eventually, to avoid the constant feeling of guilt and inadequacy, it gets easier to let the “should”s make decisions for you.

While I was in treatment, one of the counselors noticed that when I spoke with her I used the word “should” as a part of almost every thought. She challenged me to carry my notebook around with me for 24 hours and write down every “should” statement as soon as it formulated in my brain. And let me tell you, I only did it for eight hours, because by that point the list was already 3.5 pages long and I was tired of writing. It was certainly sufficient for the counselor to make her point – I spend a whole lot of my time worrying about what I should and shouldn’t be doing, feeling, thinking, eating, saying, writing, literally anything. If I started to notice that I was feeling angry, for example, I might tell myself I shouldn’t be angry right now. Okay, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m angry, and now in addition to that anger I feel guilty, so I’ve pretty much just exacerbated the problem. Or maybe if I was feeling okay during a meal that was particularly challenging for others at the table, I might think, This should have been harder for me. I shouldn’t have been okay with that meal. I mean, seriously, what? Logically, these statements are totally irrational and unhelpful. Why the hell can’t I be okay with eating a meatball sub? Technically, isn’t it a GOOD thing that I got through it without crying?

So what’s the lesson I learned here? Well, when I showed my list to the counselor (who, I might add, laughed out loud at some of the more ridiculous items), she told me I had already done the hardest part – recognizing that the overwhelming number of times the word “should” floated through my brain was not ideal. We went through each item one by one, discussing how every statement could be reality-checked and/or whittled down into a much less extreme statement. For example, I shouldn’t be angry right now might become I’m feeling angry right now, and I’m not sure why. Amazingly, that simple edit manages to delete all the associated guilt and shame associated with the statement. I am no longer doing anything wrong. In fact, I am in tune with my emotions, which will allow me to properly experience and regulate them. Which is a good thing! Instead of feeling like I’m doing something wrong, now I’m doing something inarguably RIGHT!

Of course, it is ridiculous to think that all my problems were solved that day. Reframing a thought on paper is certainly not the same thing as reorganizing the way you think it, and beyond anything else that kind of thing takes a whole lot of practice. But it’s a start. And every day I have plenty of opportunities to teach myself how to think differently.

What about things like the fact that I SHOULD turn off the lights when I leave a room or the fact that I SHOULD do the dishes after I cook? Yes, there are certainly some “should”s that are not inherently evil, because not every “should” is distorted. Generally, though, it’s pretty easy to tell when you encounter a legitimate “should.” The questions I tend to ask myself are:

  1. Is this statement supported by concrete evidence? (ex. “You should drink three glasses of milk a day because it builds strong bones.”)
  2. Will doing this bring me closer to my goals and values? (ex. “You should graduate from college,” since I value education)
  3. Will it bring happiness to other people? (ex. “You should be kind to your supermarket cashier.”)
  4. Will I feel good (like really, heart-of-hearts good) during/after I do this? (ex. “You should go for a walk because it’ll clear your mind and you’ll be happier.”)
  5. When I look back on this, will I ever regret doing it? (ex. “You should punch him in the face” is probably not legitimate, because you might feel bad later.)

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be flabbergasted by the amount of doors that open when you stop “should”ing on yourself. All of a sudden, you’re free to ask yourself what you WANT to do (which was a concept quite foreign to me). What did I want to do with my life aside from what I thought I “should” be doing? Well, I “should” have a practical major and go right into a high-paying job, but honestly, writing makes me happier than anything in the world, so you know what? I’m keeping it on the table. A year ago, I never would have given it a passing thought.

Back to the question. What should I be doing?

I’m sorry, I don’t recognize that word.

The Importance of Being Hopeless: Written December 6, 2009

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“Five, six, seven, eight!” comes the frustrated call of the choreographer from his perch on the lip of the stage. He has spent hours trying to drill into our heads the footwork which he calls “simple” and I call “the devil’s work.” As my feet hit the floor with a variety of unmetered rhythms (none of which were intended), he jumps up again with an aggravated sigh to correct me. Step, jeté, chassé, jump, pose – he floats with the grace of a professional ballerina and I thunder with the grace of a wandering elephant. When he finally calls a water break, I collapse, sweaty, sticky, and impossibly exhausted.

My dancing career began at the age of five when I begged my mother to let me take ballet, tap, and jazz at the local dance studio. It ended that same year. I despised dancing. I would rather have eaten an entire can of preserved green beans than fumble through a plié or fake a shuffle-ball-change. I was already awkwardly gangly with long, skinny limbs; it would have been impossible for a klutz like me to learn grace and discipline. I finished out the year before tossing my ballet shoes. Dancing was not mentioned again.

Unfortunately, when I began to indulge my passion for singing and acting, it became inevitable that I would have to dance. My skill level was disastrously low; I had only grown taller and more awkward through the years and while I had rhythm, my lack of grace contributed significantly to the number of times I tripped over myself. The first time I was ever a part of a dance number, and not a very difficult one at that, I severely sprained my foot and maneuvered crutches for four weeks. I bungled auditions, ruined beautiful dance steps, and embarrassed my choreographers. There was no nice way to say it; I was a terrible, clumsy, laughable, and virtually hopeless dancer. So when I heard that my award nomination for the 2009 musical required me to learn a complicated dance number, I was petrified.

“Five, six, seven, eight, again,” he calls out. Then quieter, “Gwen, let me talk to you for a second.”

Immediately, dread fills my stomach. I just know he is going to tell me not to dance in the number, that I am too clumsy to share the stage with such talented and worthy students. But instead, he looks at me and tells me to take the front row. Not the center (I take a moment to thank God for that), but not hiding behind rows of more skillful performers, either. “I want you to stop watching,” he says. “You’re insecure and you think you don’t know the steps, but you do. And I’m going to prove it to you. Take the front.”

At the next count, I can’t stare at anyone’s feet or wait for the best dancer’s first snap to start my pony-step. I frantically rehearse each move in my head as I wait for the downbeat, praying that I won’t trip over myself or chassé right into my neighbor. The music starts too soon; I miss the first step. Taking a deep breath and a quick glance to the left, I recover my place and start the snaps. The rest of the dance is a blur; I don’t remember much but the panic pulsing through me with each eight count. But I don’t knock into my fellow dancers or find myself on the ground at an untimely moment, beaten by unsuspecting kick-lines. I finish in a pose that looks relatively normal in comparison to the remainder of the stage, regardless of how I got there. Quickly, I remember to smile, and a huge grin crosses my face as I recognize that my steps were more or less correct. Regardless of how choppy or unprofessional I may have looked, I have done exactly what had been asked of me. The choreographer is right, of course. He gives me half a smile as he claps his hands twice and yells, “That was good, guys! One more time for greatness.”

I am confident this time that the steps are cemented, at least as much as they will ever be. And this time, I think of the most important advice I’d ever been given – smile and fake it. If I can’t be graceful and skillful, I might as well look like I’m enjoying myself. I belt out the lyrics and twirl with energy and enthusiasm. A few steps are lost in the jumble; I am temporarily rattled. Yet I do not allow myself to falter in defeat, and I begin to understand the pride and bliss that can be found in just letting go.

Perhaps in the performance I will fumble some steps or trip as I spin; after all, an incurable klutz cannot metamorphose overnight. Through this experience, I have not realized some unmet potential for dancing. I have not been inspired to go into musical theatre after all, and I certainly won’t find myself tripping over my awkwardly long legs any less. Perhaps the true lesson I have learned is that it’s perfectly okay to be terrible at something even when you persevere. I have always hidden myself in the back row when I am unsure, following the lead of those more skilled and talented than I. But if I can just push aside my insecurities and appreciate the things I should appreciate, I will have fewer regrets. Maybe it’s true; I am not a dancer – but you can be sure I will enjoy the dance.

All the Times I’ve Never Been Kissed, Part 1

kiss

I’m fifteen.

I ask you out, because I’ve waited three years for you to do it and you never have. By phone, of course. I make the call from the downstairs bathroom, the only place I’m sure no one will hear me. I’m pretty sure you’ll say yes because we played floor hockey last weekend and I crushed you, and then afterward you got me a piece of cake and smiled that smile that made my insides shiver and told me you liked the way I french-braided my hair.

We go to a school dance together. I wear a beautiful cobalt dress that I bought for $10 and you wear a shirt that’s the wrong color blue. I don’t care, I say, but it makes me sad because we don’t quite fit. When we slow dance, I am painfully aware that I am taller than you. We look over each other’s shoulders. We do not speak. When you drop me off at home you ask if I want to be your girlfriend, and I say yes.

As you leave I wonder why that doesn’t make me happy.

Over Christmas break, you invite me to your house for dinner. I am not expecting very much from a sixteen-year-old boy in terms of culinary skills, but you surprise me by serving me a cheeseburger on a candlelit table right next to your Christmas tree. I think you can tell how impressed I am by the way I keep meeting your eyes over our water glasses. As we are clearing our plates, I reach over and touch your arm and say thank you. We are both startled by the gesture. I hold my breath as I feel our heartbeats swelling in unison, every nerve in my body going up in flames.

Later we watch a movie, your arm draped stiffly over my shoulders. I am uncomfortable but do not move because I am afraid you’ll remember that you’re touching me. I am torn between the buzzing in my skin that means we are close and the stinging in my bladder that means I have to pee. Ultimately I decide to pee.

When I break up with you in the English wing after school, I give you a quick hug to let you know it’s not your fault. As I watch you walk away I realize that’s the closest thing to a kiss I’ve given you in four months.

10 of the Weirdest Things I Found While Organizing My Computer

1. A copy-and-pasted AIM chat room from 8th grade.

Yes, this beaut exists. It is 19 pages long. Some of my favorite excerpts are:

– narbleman: i can beat you all in a hopping on one leg race
– taylor  x323: eagle 7 to snake eyes. we are sending out our army of quetips. stay in touch and be safe. wear helmets and seatbelts. over.
– MonkeyPowerMan: well i think dogs can fly they do it when ure not looking

And my personal favorite:

– taylor  x323: im making out with an acorn right now

Oh, Lord, take me back to middle school.

2. My Christmas list from the year 2005.

I asked for gift cards to Aeropostale and Blockbuster. Enough said.

3. The invitation to my 13th birthday party.

13th bday

The obnoxious upper-and-lowercase-letters-are-the-same-size writing just reminds me of how much effort I used to put into perfecting my AIM buddy profile.

4. A picture of bread mold.

Bread Mold

5. My fifth grade “Safety on the Internet” project.

I think the part of this project that I NEED to share with everyone is this:

virus

OH THANK GOD. I was worried because I couldn’t afford to get my computer a flu shot this year.

6. My mom’s grocery shopping list from June 14, 2008.

To be honest, I don’t think there’s any logical reason why this document exists on my computer. The only explanation I can think of here is aliens.

7. A powerpoint about my little brother.

It was entitled,

why zach

The story ends with a paragraph that reads “ALL THE PEOPLE IN THIS HERE STORY ENDED UP BEST FRIENDS AND MOM AND DAD WERE SO HAPPY THEY GREW AT LEAST SIX MORE HEADS, ALTERNATING ODD NUMBERS.  SO THEY HAD GROWN SIX HEADS BUT IF YOU COUNTED THEM YOU WOULD SEE THAT THEY HAD A FIRST HEAD,  A THIRD HEAD, A FIFTH HEAD, A SEVENTH HEAD, A NINTH HEAD, AN ELEVENTH HEAD, A THIRTEENTH HEAD, AND A FIFTEENTH HEAD.  IT’S CONFUSING BUT WHEN YOU LIVE WITH THEM YOU GET TO UNDERSTAND.

This is why no one wanted to be my friend. I totally get it now.

8. Lots of poorly written poetry from the time I decided it was cool to be really emo.

“Down the gutter one more time
Here we go again.
I threw it all away today
Maybe for the last time…
This scares me
I bite my lip till blood comes
In sweet agony –
I don’t think I can last it this time
If life doesn’t want me
Then maybe I don’t want life”

Give me a break. Really? I lived the WASPiest middle school existence in the history of the world.

9. A 4-page list of atrocious baby names.

From Brunehilde to Fritzie, Undine to Adelbert, Gamaliel to Osbert. Your guess is as good as mine.

10. More embarrassing selfies than an Instagram account.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA embarrass3 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA embarrass5

God help us all.

This is it.

I have decided to write a book.

Yes, by the end of the year 2013, I am going to have a 50,000-word novel. It might be good, it might be okay, it might be utter crap. Whatever it is, it’ll be mine. Frankly, I don’t care if anyone besides me ever reads it – although I probably will share it – I’m just doing this for me.

I’ve only ever tried to write in a linear fashion, just putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and going until I can’t go any further. But seeing as the most I’ve ever written that way has been a measly two or three pages in Microsoft Word, I’m trying a technique called The Snowflake Method. Basically, I started with one sentence that told my entire story, and I’m slowly filling in from there. It’s interesting, because it’s giving me a chance to really get to know my characters before I immortalize them in the plot. I’m already very attached to my protagonist and excited about the wonderful people that are going to enter her life during the course of these 50,000 words.

I’ll probably be expressing some of my joys and frustrations here during the writing process, because I’ll need someplace to dump them all and document my own adventures. Hopefully this is just another step in the creation of the new, empowered, passionate me. But even if it isn’t, it’ll give me something else to write about, right?

Here’s my first insight into the writing process. It’s a haiku.

I’m way too obsessed –
This must be the honeymoon
Get me off this couch

Wish me luck!