For the Intro to Art class #artmooc, we had to do a personal collections “cabinet of curiosities” or memory box like those created by Joseph Cornell, one of my favorite artists. I’ve written about him in an earlier blog when I submitted a memory box as my photo for another class. The interesting thing about personal collections is that they are so diverse. Not only did Joseph Cornell create boxes but his home became an organized collection of objects that could be used to create other boxes. Andy Warhol kept a cardboard box next to his desk and would drop papers and other things in it. When full it would be labeled and placed with other boxes in storage. I’ve done that at times in my life as a cleaning technique but I doubt anyone would be interested in their contents beyond myself. But because I’ve collected many things and have created memory boxes, I wasn’t sure initially what to do. But the most important thing in my life right now is my journey to better health. It is changing my life style and creating artifacts although many of those are digital like pictures of clothes given away when they became too large.

So I decided to create an emerging memory box since my journey to better health is not finished and not all the artifacts are yet available. The rollercoaster represented in the pictures is the original Mr. Twister from Elitch Gardens that I rode once as a girl. My journey resembles that of a rollercoaster ride right now.

JourneyHealthBox

The Journey Health Box was created using an old makeup box that was labeled INDEED Brush Essentials along with different types of glues and tape. I kept the box intact because I love the silver color, the hardware and the mirror inside. This box contains artifacts that I have begun to gather since I started my journey to better health in September 2012. At that time I weighed 319.4 pounds with a number of health problems. I am aging and was afraid that I would become a physical vegetable unable to enjoy my latter years if I didn’t do something now. For most of my adult life I have been on a rollercoaster of weight loss and fitness programs. They would be effective for a few years and then I would go back to unhealthy living patterns. In September, I felt that this was the last time I had to do this. That it was the end of the rollercoaster – time to stop that ride and get as healthy as I could be as I grow older. Yet in some ways the journey since September has had its own twists and turns and plunges as I ended up with other unexpected health issues like eye surgeries to prevent blindness from glaucoma or severe vertigo that limited my ability to move. Yet through it all I was able to slowly lose weight and start to exercise more effectively two months ago. The journey isn’t finished as I have almost a hundred pounds to go. So this box will not be finished until I can get down to 160 pounds. And at that time I may end up with a cabinet as I have other artifacts that I am keeping like the cane I want to stop using by December 2013 or the pair of very large slacks and shirt I want to compare to my new clothes.

When putting this box together, I searched out pictures of the Mr. Twister rollercoaster from Elitch Gardens in Colorado. I had ridden this coaster as a young girl and it reminded me both of the rollercoaster weight losses of my adult life and the journey that I am now on. The original Mr. Twister is now gone – too big to fit into the new location for Elitch Gardens – just as my old ways are going to be gone to be replaced by a beautiful new vision (see photo of the new Mr.Twister II along the Denver skyline). To the box I added two graphs that show my weight loss of 40 pounds in 2012 – a nice drop followed by the rollercoaster of 2013 of only 22 pounds where other health problems caused twists and turns. I also added in a small section of a Facebook screenshot from comments on Dec 25, 2012. My friends and family on Facebook have been a key part of the encouragement that keeps me going when the rollercoaster seems out of control. I also added in small photos of myself at various points to show the weight loss in my face. Unfortunately, I did not take any full body shots at the beginning to show the 35 inches now lost. I also created a 3D photo insert that is movable and changeable. One side has a “selfie” of me from Friday looking up – looking forward to the next part of the journey. The other parts of the 3d insert (made of styrofoam board) have a picture of the first run of Mr. Twister with a comment that the first step is the hardest coupled with 319.4 pounds (starting weight). Other pictures not seen include small versions of the two size tags and myself in the gym last week. The two size tags show the physical weight loss. I had just purchased 3 pair of slacks in August 2012 in 3X(26-28W). I went back in April 2013 to get the same brand of slacks in 0x (14-16W) – many sizes smaller. Two of the 3X slacks were donated to the thrift shop; the other pair are part of my curiosity cabinet for when I complete this journey and a new me has emerged at 160 pounds.

For those of you wondering what it’s taken, I may write another blog. I have not done anything special except remove processed foods from my lifestyle. I enjoy foods like dark chocolate, coffee, and steak but I couple them with lots of dark greens and almost always organic due to allergies to even small amounts of chemicals. It’s been worth it. I don’t feel deprived and I am getting healthier even if some days the rollercoaster dips and twists a little too quickly for comfort.