Monday, July 23, 2012

Exercise style. Explore health. Exist well.

I have several long, meandering years of post-teenage self-exploration, a new job working front desk at a fitness center, and one recipe for healthful cookie dough dip to thank for finally getting me here.  I'm here, world, I have zero talent at feigning gusto or confidence (even in the written language across infinite threads of cyberspace), and I advise you to protect your small children, dogs, and 15-year-old bottles of finely aged Chianti because I'm about to start a blog.  A blog about living as a found self in the midst of confusion and winding paths - a blog about living well and loving how you're living when you're really only learning to do just that.

I was never one easily accept my fate as a wandering dilettante.  For years in elementary and middle school, spelling bees and Sailor Moon constituted "my thing."  With the former, I worked hard every early spring staring at words like chiaroscuro, Kierkegaardian and shamateurism ("Not a word," you say?  Try telling that to whoever compiled the Paideia word list for the 2003 Alaska State Spelling Bee).  The closest I got to winning was when I took second place in my state during my last eligible year of competition.  Luckily, I was privileged enough to receive a brand new PlayStation2 and then-all-the-rage Dance Dance Revolution to make up for my shocking loss with cantatrice after spending several rounds toe-to-toe with the eventual winner.

Somewhere along the way, I picked up the oboe and I kept with it, enjoying it (for the most part) all through high school and college.  I also spent hundreds of my family's hard-earned money at Brass Plum and Wet Seal (yes, it's possible to do so) and for this I was ultimately rewarded with my long-sought Best Dressed superlative my senior year of high school in small-town Alaska.  I also cultivated a penchant for making time-trial-worthy cookie dough to quench my preadolescent sweet tooth after school.  Later, I developed a knack for exercise and healthful eating, in part thanks to all of those afternoons brushing up my pit-stop chocolate chip installation skills.

Ruing among these small-time personal trophies, it becomes clear that while I'm good at some things, I've ever been truly great at anything.  Luckily, I am saved by the crushing defeat that near-greatness can bring - because I've recently realized that greatness has never truly been a goal of mine.  In its most simple form, the thing I've longed for most is passion.  What does it feel like to have something that is all yours?  Is it an encyclopedic knowledge of antique Belgian tapestry?  Is it being able to fix any car, bike or plane that comes your way with a piece of floss and an old coat rack?  Is it closing all of your sales agreements (because you never don't close) with a firm handshake and an internal fist-pump?  Is it the ostensibly simple yet truly rare gift of always knowing what to say to turn someone's world back into the sunshine?

My developed love for healthful, active living recently culminated in being offered a job I've dreamt of for years - spending hours every day smiling and welcoming latté-fueled women into their safe haven of barbells, treadmills and interval circuits.  At this dream job, a new colleague of mine lured me into Pinterest (though let's not pretend I didn't have it coming) and revealed the blogosphere's best-kept, not-so-secret secret: Chocolate-Covered Katie.  This inspiring young woman promised to finally reconcile my insatiable sweet tooth with my commitment to healthful eating habits, and first on the list was a jaw-dropping, mouth-watering masterpiece.

I've found that I love to adorn by body in a funky, personalized style bought on the budget of the 99%; I have a talent for tolerating heavy earrings, cacophonous bangles and rings that turn my fingers a mysterious shade of jungle (gangrene?) green; and that I can't stop talking to my friends, family, classmates, plumbers and DVD machine repairmen about important issues that affect human health and wellness.  Of course, my spelling-bee credentials also render me quite the sesquipedalian, and I find I'm always mentally marinating a new piece of prose for future consumption of my Facebook community.

I am Madelin.  I tend to eat too much peanut butter before bed, I can't keep from checking myself out when I pass by a darkened window, and I'm trying to find myself and my place in this world through cultivating the seedlings that have already sprouted.  

Welcome to StealthWell: your one-stop shop for perspectives on style, health and the ever-elusive answer to the ancient question: what does it mean to live well?