Authors: Kenley Conrad
Tags: #teen, #Social Issues, #Young Adult, #arts, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Music, #dating, #Singing
Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson
Okay, I know she’s a fictional character, but this woman is a literal queen. She’s played by Gillian Anderson, and on her Netflix TV show,
she does not take any crap from her fellow male police officers. She’s constantly schooling them about horrible gender double standards while at the same time staying calm, collected, and beautiful. She’s the crime fighter I want to be when I grow up.
So everyone is so mean to Kim and it makes me sad. Kim is a beautiful woman whose privacy was totally violated by an ex-boyfriend when he decided to release their sex tape without her consent. But she managed to make the scandal work for her and now is a successful model, fashion designer, mother, and star of her very own reality TV show! I can barely function in my day-to-day life if I forget to have
, but Kim never lets anything get her down.
She’s probably the bravest girl in the world. She is a Pakistani advocate for female education. The Taliban shot her
in the head
on a bus while she was trying to go to school, but she survived! She’s the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and she now travels the world to raise awareness about the importance of educating young girls everywhere.
Amal Ramzi Clooney
Before she married George Clooney, Amal was completely successful all on her own. She’s a prominent human rights lawyer and activist. She even represented that WikiLeaks guy. She’s super smart and beautiful. Most importantly, whenever a reporter asks her asinine questions like “What designer are you wearing?” she reminds them that she’s a lawyer first and to ask a question like that is demeaning and assumes that, as a woman, she only cares about clothes. Go Amal!
Later, 3:00pm—Muscle Universe Gym and Tanning
And to think I thought my first time in an upscale boutique was terrifying, because this is the most horrifying place I’ve ever set foot in. Firstly, everyone is grunting, which is a disturbing sound all on its own. Secondly, every beefcake in this place (of which there are several) insist on dropping their weights every thirty seconds and as a result, I have tiny heart attacks every thirty seconds.
When I first walked in, I was knocked over from the stench of rubber flooring and sweat. This place is decorated to look super trendy as if working out here will make you one of Hollywood’s elite. Everything is bright, colorful, and super chic, which is strange because it is a gym and not a fashion boutique. There was a reception table in the center of the room and a few of the steroid-happy trainers gave me the once over. They whispered among themselves for a moment, as if they were trying to decide which one of them had to “deal” with me. Eventually one of the Wolverine wannabes lumbered over to me and greeted me with a grunt and, “Welcome to Muscle Universe, are you pumped to become the ruler of your fitness galaxy?”
Okay, I understand that his boss probably trained him to say that
phrase, but the fact that someone thought that “fitness galaxy” was a good idea makes me want to pee my pants. I swallowed the laugh that was threatening to burst from my mouth and pressed my knees tightly together. “Um, sure?” I said weakly.
He dropped his bear-paw of a hand on my shoulder and the weight of it nearly made me fall over. “Come this way and our trainer, Hakim, will talk to you about your fitness goals and get you signed up for a membership at a great rate!”
I’ve been sitting here waiting for the mysterious Hakim for ten minutes now and I’m seriously considering making a run for it. What was I thinking? Even if I start working out now, it is going to take SO
LONG to actually make any progress, and I’m a very impatient person. Plus, I really like candy and junk food. How am I going to give that stuff up? And working out takes so much effort and time; time that could be spent watching
. I’d much rather fantasize about 1990’s Kyle McLachlan and David Duchovny than be a size two.
THINGS TO DO:
to my Netflix queue.
2. Finish calculus worksheet before Jennifer kills me!
I can’t feel my legs. I may never walk correctly again. How can people do this regularly without dying? I’m pretty sure that my legs are going to detach themselves from the rest of my body and go on strike. Hakim did not take it easy on me. When he finally showed up I had a hand cramp from my speedwriting, and I desperately needed to pee.
“Hey, I’m Hakim,” he said with a slight trace of an accent. “Vince told me that you wanted to get a membership started with us.” He sat down across from me and his pectoral muscles twitched under his tight UnderArmor shirt. He looked like he was about twenty-five or so, which is a total shot in the dark because I have no clue what the average twenty-five-year-old looks like. All of my friends are my age. Everyone else in my life is middle aged. Maybe I should find older friends.
“I guess,” I replied. “I just want to get in shape for obvious reasons.” I gestured to my midsection.
“Exercise is beneficial for many things besides weight loss, like overall health and happiness,” he replied.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Look how long is this going to take? Because I’ve been contemplating running out the front door since I first set foot in here.”
Hakim whipped out a placard with my different “fitness plan options” listed in bold, bright colors and graphics. I was like a gym menu, and I was at a beefcake restaurant. I selected a plan whose price wouldn’t freak my mom out too much, and before I could even say, “Thanks so much, see you tomorrow,” Hakim wrangled me into my first complimentary personal trainer session.
Let me tell you something: personal trainers are jerks. I don’t know who they think they are, with their twitching pecs and tight t-shirts, but they have some nerve. Hakim
like a nice guy … until we started working out. He had me lifting, jumping, stretching, and squatting. It was all kinds of embarrassing. To make matters worse, he was
at me. I don’t know if that’s something he picked up in personal trainer school or whatever, but yelling is not a good motivational tool for me. It makes me shrivel up inside and instinctively start apologizing for everything.
Afterward I could barely stand on my own two legs. It’s like I suddenly had jelly for legs. I could feel every single vein in my body throbbing, and I wouldn’t stop sweating. I felt gross. The fact that people claim that they feel “so great” after a workout is a load of malarkey.
“Great job, Holly!” Hakim said. “If you put in the work by eating right and exercising, you’ll see progress in no time!” He then shoved pamphlets about healthy eating into my shaking hands, and said he’ll see me next week.
Over my dead body.
I’ve been sore before. I used to ride horses all the time. I’m used to getting off a horse and feeling a dull ache in my thighs. When you’ve been lugging around almost two hundred pounds in fat for as long as I have, you’re used to feeling tired or sore. This is a whole new level I never knew I could reach. When I woke up this morning, it hurt to breathe. I couldn’t move my legs, so I tried to wriggle and roll my way off the bed and instead ended up flopping onto my bedroom floor like a fish. I had to employ the use of my nightstand and bedpost in order to haul myself off of the ground.
Once I had finally gotten on my own two feet someone knocked lightly on my door. “Holly? Are you okay? I heard a loud thud,” my mom’s voice floated through the wood of the door.
“I’m fine. I had a bit of a spill.”
My door cracked open and Mom’s green eyes cautiously peered at me through the crack. “Can I come in?”
I waved her in as I limped toward my bathroom. “I just wanted to talk with you about … well, the situation we find ourselves in. I know it isn’t ideal, but they are still family.”
“Mom, they lost Dad’s farm. On top of that, they’ve never been nice to you.”
Mom closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Yes, I know. But I’m not one to hold grudges, even though they are totally the type.” She sighed and then continued. “I know you’ve been going through a lot. Lacey doesn’t come around anymore. You have a boyfriend you can’t really see, and I couldn’t help but notice that your sleepover with Serena ended quickly the other day. On top of that, you joined a gym. So, something is obviously up. Do you want to talk about it?”
My mom is great. She’s taken care of my sister and me singlehandedly for a while. But, she has that bad habit of sometimes acting more like a friend than a mom. It’s like she tries so hard to get down to “my level” so to speak that the mom side of her vanishes, and she turns into her version of a teenage BFF. Which means that it can be easy, and at the same time, hard, to open up to her. I was considering telling her everything, something I haven’t done in a while because life has felt so stupidly complicated, when Sloane walked through my bedroom door.
“Hey, honeybun, did you buy any organic cranberry juice concentrate at the store?” If there were a demand for “random hippie off the street” aesthetic in the fashion magazines these days, Sloane would be the highest paid model in the world. He’s not bad looking, really. If you can look past the forest of facial hair, lack of deodorant, and grimy long hair, he could be called “handsome.”
But I’ll never get over the no deodorant thing. It’s the twenty-first century, man. Just accept it and move on.
“I think so, did you check the pantry?”
“I looked everywhere, you must’ve forgotten it.”
Mom stood up and walked out to the kitchen, our heart-to-heart forgotten. “No, I’m sure I bought some. You must not be looking hard enough.”
I don’t know how my mom juggles her kids, boyfriend, extended family, and her flower shop without exploding. It’s just further proof that I will never be an adult. I can’t even multitask my secret, sort-of pop star lifestyle with my schoolwork.
THINGS TO DO:
1. Get better at hiding my problems from my mother so she stops prying.
2. Be a better daughter.
3. Stop thinking bad thoughts about my grandparents.
In some cruel twist of fate, the universe decided that I actually
have enough on my plate and decided I need
obligations. I thought that my senior year was supposed to be easy. I’m supposed to read a few books, write a few papers, and graduate. What is the point of even going to school at this point in my life? Is this some kind of temporary hell that I have to stay in until I hear from colleges? Is this educational limbo?
Jennifer, my tutor, called me on Skype a little while ago. This is pretty normal; we do a lot of our sessions like this. She’ll email me a worksheet, and we will talk about it via Skype. It’s great, and I can wear pajamas.
Today she was supposed to call me just to do a check in about everything we need to have done before I can graduate per California education laws.
“It looks like you have enough credits to graduate, but I noticed you haven’t taken any sex education classes.”
“Um, no,” I replied. “I’m from a small Iowa town. When my mom tried to introduce the idea to the school board, they threw her out. She isn’t allowed in school board meetings anymore because she’s ‘inappropriate.’”
“Well, you really should take this class,” Jennifer replied. She’s used to my off-the-wall stories about Mom and my hometown.
“Am I required to take it in order to graduate?”
“No, not really. But I can’t send you away to college without proper sex education. That will be like sending you into battle without a sword.”
I didn’t like the idea of having to take another class. I was supposed to be
with classes, not adding more of them to my schedule. “Okay, well can I do the class online?”
“I don’t have anything like that available now. I’ll just send you to a local high school. You can join a sex education class there.”
“Wait,” I said, my throat was suddenly dry and full of dust. “I’m going to have to go to a
high school and take this class with other people?
“You’ve been to high school before, Holly.”
“Yeah, and it was horrible.”
“It won’t be so bad,” she said with the casual voice of a girl who was never bullied in high school. “I’ll reach out to a school near you and see what we can do.”
I have absolutely nothing against sex education. It is a super important class that everyone should participate in. I mean, you can’t make decisions about sex if you don’t know everything, right? But I just don’t want to take the class with
. I was already a freak in Cedar Junction High School. I’ll be even weirder if I’m that homeschooled fat girl who only comes to class for sex education.
Later, 2:45pm—Saks Fifth Avenue Ladies’ Room
I think I need to see a therapist. It can’t be normal to have emotional breakdowns like this on a regular basis. My mental health is obviously at risk here, and I need to take care of myself. I should just start to live in bathroom stalls because I find myself hiding in them too often, writing in my journal. Maybe I’ll order a sub sandwich for delivery and eat it in here like Lindsey Lohan did on her first day of school in