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A recap of the past twenty-eight days of transformation

Pre-ramble: What just happened?

It’s been a week. The shortest month of the year is officially in the books. And, believe it or not, this month of entry writing was by far the most stressful I’ve experienced in two years of challenges. There were a lot of speed bumps and unfinished goals, which is unfortunate. But the knowledge and ability gained feels invaluable. I think. I guess. Maybe, I don’t know. All I know is I’m just going to keep writing in any capacity until I can no longer hit the keys. That much is clear, even if there are days I just lie on the couch and brood.

There were three rules for the month which I wanted to reflect a transformation of the body, mind, and soul. As far as completion, it did not happen, and I’ll get into why I’m too comfortable with that. So let’s go through what happened, and where I can go from here.

Part 1: The Body – Work out every day and stick to my diet.

Did I work out every day? No. Did I work out most days? Yes, absolutely. I can think of three days I did not work out, but did so all the other days. I learned to love exercising this month and will continue to do so, even if it means reaching the bare minimum of getting ten minutes in a day. Even just that little bit of work caused my behind to get a little rounder, my thighs to muscle up, my waist to get snatched, and my core to get stronger. Even with my bad knees I can do jumping planks and deep squats, even if my joints are a little creaky the next day. Something clicked in me to where this is just part of my routine, even if I have to eke out the bare minimum. I impressed myself with what my body can do, and I’m happy to report I bought my very first jumpsuit, which I will be wearing the first day of spring. It’s an outfit I always thought I’d never be able to pull off, but the fitter I get and the more weight I lose, the more I can try these clothes out and see where they take me.

Eating-wise was no success. I kept ‘trying’ these foods I know won’t taste good, as something in my head keeps telling me I can. Like I’m going to feel better after I eat. But I can’t. It all tastes like garbage and I end up throwing most of it out, a gigantic waste of food and money. I’ve really got to let it go that these foods I once loved no longer will satisfy me, and they will ultimately hinder whatever progress I’ve made over the last six months. I’m still down weight, I have not gained, but the more I eat crap, the more it goes right to my gut. Everything else about me has slimmed down; my face, my arms, my thighs, but the stomach remains gutted. Ultimately, forty-two pounds have left my body since September, and I’m happy about that, but I can do better. I deserve to do better for myself. Something will soon click and I won’t crave ‘bad’ foods anymore. I’ve seen the success when I stick to something. I just have to do it.

As far as writing about my health, I didn’t do that as much. I kind of feel like I’m beating a dead horse about food, but it’s hard acknowledging a lifetime of bad relationships with it. Maybe one day you’ll find me writing about my raw meat diet from animals I humanely slaughter myself. Who knows. All I know is my taste is forever changed, and it might be high time for me to concede it’s never coming back. And it’s okay. It’s finally okay.

Now that we’ve covered what goes in my mouth, how about what flies out of it?

Rule Two: The Mind – Fix your filthy mouth.

Okay, obviously I swore a bunch. But there were a lot of days I did not. The big ones I was worried about were the f-word and the s-word. I still said “ass” a lot, and dropped the b-word mostly in reference to myself. But there was something cathartic about stopping myself from swearing when I knew I wanted to.

Even now if I say “fuck,” I feel like I’m saying something wrong. Like it’s disallowed. Like a kid who just learned the word. It might not be a bad idea for me to nix the f-word from my vocabulary going forward. I’d much rather say “shit” anyway. Feels like a more universal word for me now if I’m being honest. Either way, it’s not as difficult as some would make it to knock off the swearing. I can keep going with that and be more conscious about my words. If I’m this writer like I keep touting, words should be the most important thing to me. So it makes sense to choose them carefully.

All in all I swore $22 worth of swears this month. I’m going to double that and donate it to the Bowery Mission next week. Along with two bagsful of clothes I haven’t had a chance to let go of yet. So now that we’ve covered words, let’s move to the written word.

Rule Three: The Spirit – Write every day and revisit my story.

Well, I did write something here every day. That part I knew I’d be able to do. You, the reader, would notice if I had missed an entry. I cut it close a few times there, since I fall asleep at very strange hours on weekend. I end up passing out on the couch multiple times, as if the Sandman comes in to drug me and leave. I have no control over it. Then I wake up and it’s 10:00PM and I’m not done with an entry. But I always got it done. Honestly, I’m glad I wrote a lot and I think I came away with some deep introspection on where I’m at in life. Lots of thoughts on my personality, having babies, time, and New York City leadership. I noticed I asked myself a lot of questions throughout. Even my chosen excerpts were largely questions I hoped would paint a picture of the theme I crafted that day.

But I certainly need more direction with these entries. I can’t just free-for-all it. I can’t tell you how many entries I deleted and started over because I was hating what I was writing. It was directionless and obnoxious stuff. But I was determined to get something done. It was really the only aspect of this challenge I cared about completing, because it was visible. Everything else was behind the scenes. Unfortunately, my story suffered because it’s not visible to you. Not yet, anyway.

My first draft sits at 60,252 words. Not bad for beginning in November. But it’s not enough. It’s not that I disliked what I was writing, I again have no direction for it. I was winging it a lot of the time. The story is set in New York, and I held a lot of ire for my city this past month. I just didn’t want to revisit it, nor was I sure what kind of light to even paint it in. My characters are starting to come away with a more clear direction, even if the narrative is not. An exciting and significant event did happen, but what good is that if it ends up going nowhere? I couldn’t tell you how far along I am. Halfway? More than halfway? Less?

Either way, I am going to finish the first draft by the end of the year. That’s the goal. I feel as though things will fall into place the moment I can say, “I wrote a book.” Even if no one ever sees it, the completion aspect of it is what counts. No one publishes half a book. There’s got to be a beginning, a middle, and an end, no matter how convoluted things may seem.

And that’s that.

Like I said, this was a more difficult challenge. I certainly put too much on my plate, thinking a shorter month wouldn’t be as bad to do. But it was. I came away with more knowledge about my body, mind, and spirit, which I can certainly take with me going forward. It’s why I wanted to sit on this entry for a week, to see if what I cultivated took. I’m hoping it did. It feels like it did. The worm has turned, as they say. But a little more direction might benefit me the next go around.

I’ll be doing another thirty day writing challenge for April, which will be year two of April Awakening. I have a lot to look forward to, and hopefully that means more entries here along the way. Thank you for being here on this journey and I hope to see you soon.

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