Obsession With Improvement

Photo by Kleigh Balugo

By Adrien Martino

I’ve never been the type to make resolutions in the new year. Of course, I do have goals for myself and my life. But there is no prompt needed to compel me into improving myself. I suppose I first started setting goals around the age of fourteen. Not only was I undergoing physical change, with puberty and the like, my mental state had recently been affected by the death of a pet and struggles with sexual orientation. I was severely depressed, my body was constantly fatigued, and my school work was falling behind. I also realized that I didn’t like how I looked. This was no one’s fault in particular. But I couldn’t go a day without wearing makeup, and I hated taking it off. 

I spent my second semester of high school forcing myself to stare at my image in the mirror until I could find something I liked about it. It became an obsession. To this day, I can spend a significant amount of time just staring at the mirror. Because I achieved my goal of improving my self-image at fourteen, I now look in the mirror and immediately see beauty. My 20-year-old face has changed over the years and will continue to change. I know deep within myself that I will appreciate my face no matter what. 

We all have moments of self-awareness. When I am in these moments, I recognize what emotions I am feeling, and I make a decision. Do I want to continue feeling that way? Do I want to continue hating how I look? If the answer is yes, there is not much to do but accept it and move on. If the answer is no, then I make a goal to change that feeling. I create new routines and new environments. I change the structure of my room. I paint my toenails. I listen to a happier song. I focus on the roots of my issues and I realize how the bigger picture affects the smaller details. 

It’s beautiful to see other people create resolutions every year. I love hearing about my friend’s plans to drink less coffee or to spend more time with family. But I do not worry about my own resolutions. I trust that I will find ways to be happier and healthier throughout the year.

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