My mother and I were discussing possible college majors a couple months ago, and she left me with the question, “Well, what would you say is your greatest strength?” It wasn’t a question I had to mull over for hours. It’s English. It’s been English since the sixth grade. I just get English, you know? As long as I’m not forced to write a complete essay in forty minutes, I’m golden. Never once have I teetered dangerously on the edge between an A and a B. So, during the months since that discussion, I’ve felt fairly confident in pursuing English after high school.
That is, until I started writing my summer essay for The Catcher in the Rye and How to Read Literature Like a Professor. I completely understood both the books. The problem is never with comprehension. When I have to convince other people that I comprehended what I read…Well, that’s when the trouble starts. My mind is just a little off. Earlier today my brother told me that he always imagines a thousand men, all in different costumes, perpetually running through my head. That’s the best description of my brain I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot. I can explain things, sure. But in a formal structure? Not really. Those men in my head need room to dance around with ideas and make silly comments and analogies. Formal essays don’t have that room.
Still, I always manage. I can’t even remember the last time I got a B (or lower) on an essay. I just hate producing a piece of writing that sounds so sterile. In my blogs, I can mess with structure and ignore certain grammar rules and insert witty comments whenever I’m feeling cheeky. Whether my blogs are actually any good or not, I don’t know. But I do know that I’m usually fairly proud of what I post because these blogs sound like me. In my head, I use contractions. I make up words. I occasionally use sentence fragments. I don’t intentionally insert transitional phrases at certain points or make sure I have topic sentences. That’s unnatural.
Of course, I’m sure there’s a way to splash a little of me into my formal essays without sounding too casual, and I think I may be hitting that mark with this Catcher essay. Still, it wasn’t fun getting here. And I’ll probably get a D because I actually feel fairly good about this one, for once.
We’ll see, I suppose.
Some people say a healthy diet and exercise make you feel more energetic and vibrant. I always thought those people were full of beans (literally and figuratively). They all on crack, I would say. That’s why they’re so “vibrant.” It has nothing to do with the jogging or the spinach or the crunches.
Well, I may be a proud woman, but I am not too proud to admit when I’m wrong. Those health nuts aren’t just full of beans. They’re full of knowledge and love and, if they follow a diet similar to mine, a few beans are probably in their system somewhere, too. Ever since I got into this health kick, I’ve been feeling great. Really, really great. It’s been two weeks since I touched a pastry other than those black bean brownies I made. I’ve been walking my dogs, biking, and doing countless made-up floor exercises every single day. I may not look cute when I’m sweating it out up and down the streets of my neighborhood, and my mother may not be too thrilled about me eating all her fruit, but I need this. I need to be healthy.
My black bean brownies. I command you to drool.
As soon as summer comes and I’m able to relax and take in life, I realize that I’m never truly happy during the school year. So much whizzes by when my head is stuck in a book for nine months. I forget about myself. I let my beloved websites rot. I allow my body to take in extra pounds. I let my hair turn into a bushy, mousy mess. At least I got all those As, I guess.
So every summer, I get this burning desire to change. I want my websites back up, the unwanted weight gone, and my hair fixed. I have two X chromosomes, so my weight constantly fluctuates whether I ask it to or not, and the weight loss part isn’t always a success. But I get my hair done, buy a whole new closet of clothes, design new graphics, and maybe, if I’m feeling adventurous, make one of my Sims 3 characters join the criminal career track. I go into the new school year feeling like a new woman…until about two weeks in, of course That’s usually when I collapse and allow the whole cycle to repeat itself.
Not to get all Oprah here on you guys, but I think the problem is that I always change the outside, not the inside. Fresh highlights may make me feel like a hot little mama, but they won’t stop me from stressing out. And no matter how hard I try to convince myself to calm down about school, I just can’t. So, I’m giving my insides an overhaul. No more cookie binging. No more accidentally forgetting to eat. No more stagnancy. Maybe, just maybe, if can clear my bloodstream of the pound of sugar perpetually flowing through it, I’ll feel less sluggish. I’ll turn into one of those crazies with the shifty eyes who can tackle an eight-hour day on five hours of sleep. I’ve always admired them.
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