18 November, 2012

Book #1: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Ever since I was in high school, numerous people have told me I would enjoy this book, but I never took the time to read it.  The movie recently came out and, because I wanted to see it, I decided I'd better hurry up and read the book (I used to think it's better to read a book before seeing its movie counterpart, but I've recently changed my mind on the matter).  Anyways, all this is to say, I finally decided to read Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
It's the account of a boy named Charlie's freshman year in high school.  He's somewhat of an outcast, but soon makes friends with a group of rebellious seniors who expose him to all sorts of new experiences.  Most of the story seems to be a pretty accurate example of what a fifteen year old might endure in high school and several parts of the book resonated with my own memories of what high school was like.  However, the main character's internal dialogue and external actions seemed a bit contradictory.  Charlie seems bright-eyed, earnest, and naive, but doesn't hesitate to partake in violence, underage drinking, and use of several different drugs including marijuana and LSD. While I'm sure there are high schoolers who involve themselves in these things, and while I acknowledge the power of peer pressure is sometimes underestimated, I don't find Charlie's combination of innocence and immorality to be founded in reality.

The book deals with several serious issues such as depression, physical and emotional abuse, death of a loved one, suicide, and sexuality.  I think it is extremely important to discuss topics such as these, especially at a time in life when people feel so vulnerable, and I applaud the author for making an effort to acknowledge these issues.  However, the book provides absolutely no suggestions of dealing with these issues in a healthy way; the characters instead turn to the aforementioned unhealthy (and often unlawful) activities.

I saw the movie a few weeks ago with my friend Lamia.  We both really enjoyed it.  I would definitely recommend the movie over the book.  The movie focuses less on Charlie's psychological issues and instead seems to be about a group of misfit kids who don't have to endure high school on their own because they have found each other.  And the film has great music (I'm a sucker for a movie with a great soundtrack).

Overall, I think I enjoyed the book, but would suggest that one should be very intentional in who they recommend it to.  It might provide the gateway to discussion of some difficult topics, but should be paired with materials and discussion addressing healthy ways to find healing.

02 November, 2012

Health Change #2: Use All-Natural Face Wash

Happy November!!

I had my 3-month check-up on wednesday.  I can't believe it's already been three months since my last doctors appointment!  Everything went well with my check-up, but I am still having some weird things going on with my body.  I asked my doctor about them and she said because of the chemo and birth control (I was on it while I was getting treatment, but am off it now), my hormones are going a little crazy.  So basically, it's like I am going through puberty again... lucky me...

Because of this, I am having a minor case of acne, which brings me to today's health change: use all-natural face wash.  As I said before, my theory about health is that we need to maximize good stuff, minimize bad stuff, and get the right amount of exercise.  In order to do this, I want to make sure that chemicals and unnatural substances come into contact with my body as little as possible.  Not only does this include processed and genetically modified foods, but toiletries and cleaning products as well.  So in attempt to put this into practice and control my teenage-like breakouts, I got a new face wash.  I used to use neutrogena's acne bar, but it's filled with all sorts of chemicals and things I can't pronounce.  But they've recently come out with a new natural line, so I decided to try their new natural purifying facial cleanser, which boasts "No harsh chemical sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, dyes, or phthalates."  I haven't been using it for too long, but I'll let you know if it successful it is in handling my puberty problems.
My first health change was to make sure I take my all-natural vitamins every day.  Unfortunately, my body now associates taking pills with being sick and having chemo, which it does not like very much at all.  So usually after taking my vitamins, I feel nauseated, and sometimes even have to throw up.  I told my doctor this and she suggested that I switch to gummy vitamins for awhile until my body begins to disassociate pills with sickness.  So now I have a dilemma because I really want to make sure I am getting all the right vitamins and minerals that I need, but I also really want to make sure I am not putting unnecessary chemicals in body too.  Do you think anybody makes all-natural gummy vitamins??

I've been pretty busy lately.  I've been working a couple days a week, and that's going pretty well, but I wish I was able to work more hours.  So I've applied to Starbucks and am really hoping to get a job with them.  Unfortunately, it seems like nobody in the area is hiring, but I guess I'll have to wait and see.  I've also been busy applying to grad school.  I've been studying a lot and finally took the GRE last friday.  And I got better scores than I was expecting!!  Now I just need to finish my personal statement, which is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, wait for my professors to return my recommendation forms, and then submit everything.  Then I get to wait.  They only accept about ten people into the program I want, so please be praying!!  I'm also getting ready for my trip to Atlanta!  I leave on wednesday and I can't wait to see everyone!!

I hope you all are doing well and are enjoying fall!