Every year on Dec. 31, I find myself thinking about all the things that could have happened should I have made different decisions or said better words. This year, though I have similar thoughts, I find I have experienced a lot of both good and bad situations that make me very different today than I was a year ago.
On Jan. 2, 2011, my now ex-boyfriend and I were celebrating our four-year anniversary. That would mark the first time in a long time that I thought things were taking a turn for the better. I guess you could say they were, in an abstract way. Eight months later, we broke up and though it has been an interesting afterward, I have never been happier.
I learned that some people, no matter how much you care about them or worry for their happiness, may want a hand to hold, but just not yet. I learned that sometimes even the individuals who have had the hardest times are the ones who play the silliest games, not because of you but because of their own insecurities. But most importantly, I learned that no matter who comes into my life, or who decides to run out, I have one person to rely on and that person is me. I am very lucky to have the people in my life that I do and not once have I, my best friends or family members turned their backs on me.
I also took a leap in the right direction to jump starting my journalism career when I completed a six-week internship at The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. To this day, I have kept in contact with the connections I made while at the corporation. The lessons learned and experiences gathered there are irreplaceable. I have never been more proud of myself than I am about the things I was able to accomplish while interning. I am still doing some volunteering for The CBC for events and whatnot, and with every event, I shake a different hand.
This year, I also decided to apply to Carleton University in Ottawa and Ryerson University in Toronto for my Master of Journalism. I am almost done my applications. Four years ago today I would have never guessed I would be aspiring to fulfill an MJ.
Just this past semester, I wrote a 25-page thesis on the relationship between gender and race in Cinderella, Mulan and The Princess and the Frog and how young female audiences are affected by the consumption of such media. I read a number of articles, skimmed through several books and managed to write a paper valued at a grade of 85 per cent. I never thought I'd see the day...
Writing this paper helped me narrow down exactly what I want to do with my Honours Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies, Journalism Diploma and hopefully the soon-to-be-mine Master of Journalism: Investigate the ways media consumption impacts the ways females develop emotionally, psychologically, socially and physically. I'd love to write a book on the topic and perhaps produce a documentary following the life of a few girls struggling to find what it means to be themselves in a world where beauty has been stolen from the eye of the beholder.
I am also in the process of planning a benefit concert for the Eating Disorders of York Region, a non-profit organization, called Rock for Charity! in Toronto. All proceeds will go toward helping the organization host workshops that will support people in their fight against eating disorders.
My perceptions of my very own self-image have changed drastically, as well. Earlier this year, I gained a bit of the weight I worked so hard to lose back. Stress and other factors probably weren't a great help to my already practiced emotional eating tendencies. It took me until the summer to realize that I can't spend the rest of my life worrying about every calorie I consume, every pound I weigh or whether or not I can make it to the gym. Instead, I need to worry about my own happiness. If I want a piece of chocolate cake just because, well then I should be able to enjoy that piece of cake without feeling guilty. I aim to eat as healthy as I can and be active as much as possible to ensure my own happiness, because those things themselves help me attain it. I've stopped weighing myself because it only adds stress to my life. I work out three to five times a week, every week, and I eat healthy 85 per cent of the time. At the end of the day, I have to live my life and there is no room for guilt or regret. I go by how I feel and I feel great.
So tonight, when I am at the dinner table with my big, traditional Italian family eating an abundance of delicious food and when I am dancing with one of my oldest and closest friends at a local bar, getting my drink on, the only thing I am going to be thinking about is the transition I have made from this point last year. This year was insane, but it was crucial. Tonight will kick off a new chapter of my life, a chapter that is completely in my control.
2012, I think I can handle anything.