Fast away the old year passes and soon the champagne will be popped for the New Year's toast: for everything we've left behind and for all the best to come! It is time to start thinking about 2013 as a year to best all other years. In other words, it is the time for New Year resolutions.
In my house in Texas, we always write down our wishes and goals for the coming year in red ink. Just before midnight on the 1st we throw our glowing pages in the fireplace and watch as the flames consume our dreams and take them to the realm of cosmic reality (yeah, we're that kind of family).
Every year one particular goal on my list reigns above the rest:
"This year I will lose weight."
I've written about body image and beauty, femininity and sexuality but like many things, it is easier written than done. I passionately believe in the importance of self-acceptance and will always argue for health over thinness. However, even as I write this, it is difficult for me to define how I think of my own body image.
To me it seems snooty to say: I am beautiful. And in a way, it seems like a lie. If I genuinely think that I am beautiful, I wouldn't hate dressing rooms and I wouldn't avert my eyes from the mirror as I squeeze into a sparkly New Year's dress. However, I do believe in the power of beauty and I think that there is beauty in every person. I am proud of my looks. I'm not completely self-deprecating. But why is it still so difficult for me to believe that I am beautiful?
It also doesn't feel right to say: I think I am fat. I've learned that "fat" is such a negative and relative term. In fact, I detest the word for its inherent judgment over the body. I am also not "over-weight" in any way but I'm not exactly fit either. And yet, it is easier to say, "I am fat" than it is to say, "I am beautiful."
Whether the fault lies with the media's thin-centric message -- our obsession with makeup and shape -- or my own cultural upbringing, I know for a fact that my illusive sense of self-worth is a problem.
That is why this year instead of my usual New Year's pledge, my red-inky page will read: I am beautiful.
This mantra-like affirmation is more than a way to trick myself into believing that it is true. Instead of implying that I am "fat" in my resolve to lose weight, saying, "I am beautiful" implies that I deserve to be proud of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
This year, instead of judging myself and shaming myself to exercise and diet, I will love my body and be happy with the ways in which I chose to be healthy and get in shape. I will not compare my body to others (which may be the hardest thing to overcome) and instead I will appreciate the unique qualities I have.
Again, writing this will definitely prove to be easier than putting it to practice, but isn't that what resolutions are about? They are challenging self-improvements that we know will be difficult to achieve. What I've decided to do is to find the strength in myself to realistically achieve my goal, rather than asking for strength in a resolution that makes me dislike myself.
2012 has been a busy year for me as a student, a blogger and a New Yorker. I learned so much from all the people that I've worked with and from blogging here at the Huffington Post. Now approaches my final semester at college and this New Year is the dawn of a new life for me.
I wish to enter into 2013 with the strength to believe in myself so that I can put beauty behind me and look forward at more important things such as love, economic stability and intellectual enlightenment.
Happy New Year to all and I wish that beauty, joy and love rein in all your lives this 2013!
Share your own New Year resolutions in the comment section below.