ninety percent of american women want it. ten percent are probably deluding themselves. what do women want? to be thin.
thin is a $60 billion industry. diet pills, exercise programs you can do in your home, health clubs, liposection, rubber band surgery. and yet thin is more elusive than ever. is it carbs? is it processed foods? is it big gulp soda pops? because mayor bloomberg of new york is banning new yorkers from buying big gulps.
so thin is what every woman wants. i want it too. but why do i diet and fail and diet again? is it that i lack willpower?
willpower is a funny thing. if you really really want something you don’t stop for an “i need some willpower”. if you’re being chased by werewolves in the forest at night, you don’t think “i need some willpower to keep with my running program!” and if your kid is trapped under a car’s tires, you don’t have a problem with willpower. you just DO, LIFT, RUN or die trying.
so you gotta ask yourself: why do i want to be thin? because something about being thin isn’t attractive enough to change myself. so i should think about why i want to be thin. i want to be thin because i want to be attractive but i think i like cupcakes more. so why waste time and energy worrying about thin? enjoy the cupcake. on the other hand, maybe there’s an obstacle that has to do with the unexpected consequences of being thin. for some women, this can be remembering how uncle bertram made everyone so uncomfortable commenting on one’s pert figure. maybe it’s worry that a change in one’s appearance might make one think about a marriage that was founded on “settling”. whatever makes a woman (or a man) unconsciously decide that “thin” isn’t worth it is so personal.
and then i think of another goal: to write a book that really matters to people. i want to write about my year of meeting facebook friends. it was an extraordinary, magical, terrifying, exciting time. why am i stalled at chapter three?
when i was a kid i used to write stories. two or three pages of hopelessly romantic, strained, achingly girlish exposition. my adoptive mother mrs. patrick wondered why i couldn’t get behind the statement “there will always be a need for engineers so if i go to college i’m majoring in engineering” . . . so i was forbidden from writing stories–a policy mrs. patrick thought would get me all fired up about metallurgical or chemical engineering for sure.
but it didn’t. i just learned to hide my stories. under mattresses. under drawers. even under the carpeting in my bedroom. and if i was out with mr. patrick doing errands and returned home to see my bedroom lights on, i knew i was in for it. the drill was to find her sitting on my bed with a cup of coffee and a cigarette–and my latest opus.
“just what the hell is this?” was generally the question. then i’d explain it was a story.
and then the second part of the drill: i had to read the story aloud to mrs. patrick, who would drag off her cigarette and stare off into space until she heard something confusing. “what the hell does that mean?” she’d asked.
i became very attention to plot development. and decided that grammar doesn’t matter in an oral presentation. and that i’m terrified of people picking apart my writing.
and maybe that’s why i stall.
i’m going to test out that theory. i’m also going to figure out why a cupcake means more to me than thin. i’m fifty one. it’s taken me this long to figure out that there’s a question i need the answer to–
June 5th, 2012 at 5:35 pm
What if they did something else entirely and CREATED some new beverage options for people? If you go to a restaurant here in NYC, you can have coffee/tea, liquor, or soda pop, and that’s usually it on the choices. I adore carrot juice but restaurants rarely carry anything healthy like that.
June 7th, 2012 at 3:27 pm
that’s a wonderful idea! coca cola, are you listening?
June 5th, 2012 at 7:56 pm
Usually wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandella.
Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson
it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
June 7th, 2012 at 3:27 pm
thank you so much! i always look forward to what you have to say!!!
June 5th, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Great post! Love the pony! And great points too!
June 5th, 2012 at 9:39 pm
Nothing new under the sun! Compare and contrast with.. do not go quietly in to that great sleep…who you are makes all the difference. Like a modern Joan of Arc you are the Lady of Liberty in the most of anxious of times push on and persevere and we will all cheer your audacity of freedom. Eat a cupcake for me! Chocolate with Vanilla frosting and finish off with a big glass of whole milk gulp away and damn the silliness of pols who think they can dictate how we choose to love, live or die. Kudos to Tony’s post too.
June 7th, 2012 at 3:26 pm
i’d rather eat a cupcake WITH you. i’m packing at the house all day every day this coming week! stop by!
June 7th, 2012 at 10:53 pm
June 6th, 2012 at 9:27 am
Your peace principles have played a very important role in helping us to end the violence in the Planet Earth …
You are bringing hope for a brighter future to all nations and other Planets !
June 6th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
Just hand us out a schedule for the day what we have to do and if we don’t follow it we get put in 2 hour isolation.
June 6th, 2012 at 6:34 pm
What’s next on his agenda? Banning all McDonald’s franchises from opening in NYC? Cigarette sales? Why stop with the evil “Big Gulp”?
June 7th, 2012 at 3:26 pm
i’m totally on that one. and the worry i have with government regulation of health insurance means that we’re going to have a lot of choices taken away from us!
June 6th, 2012 at 6:39 pm
I want FIVE MINUTES with Mrs. Patrick…
June 7th, 2012 at 3:24 pm
no, no, forgiveness is something i have to work on every day!
June 6th, 2012 at 7:28 pm
Arlynn, this is one of your best pieces of writing…..Please forgive me for the comments I made about a previous blog of yours and about your attention to detail….Oh my gosh, I read this and was stabbed in my heart with shame. It was a good reminder to me that I should keep myself in check…because we never know what someone else’s life experience is. I could just visualize Mrs. P, smell that nasty cig, and hear the harshness in her tone. And I could see the scared little girl who just wanted to express herself. With me, the cupcake is a feel-good drug; and the weight I gain acts to help insulate/protect me from the world. People won’t pay attention to me if I’m heavy (self-reflections inspired by this blog). ((Hugs)) to you, girlfriend. Good job. And, Arlynn….thank you. xoxo Julia
June 7th, 2012 at 3:24 pm
no apologies, julia, you are always the gal i think of when i think supportive friend! but yeah, it would stab me in the heart when i would see the light on in my bedroom whenever i came home. because it meant she had found something. for you it is an insulation. when i was a kid, i stole food–cookies, candy, sweets–from her, from mr. patrick’s desk drawer, from anybody. i think you’re attention grabbing no matter what your weight–you are so phenomenally sexy and charismatic in person i don’t think weight is working as a cloaking device! xxooo
June 7th, 2012 at 3:39 pm
Thanks, darlin’! That’s extra sweet of you to say! I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately and wondering about your home…..like….where it is, exactly. This must be a very tumultuous, but exciting time for you. I wish you the best and always include you in my prayers. xoxo Julia
June 8th, 2012 at 1:44 pm
haven’t figured out where home is because home is in transit for the moment! much love to you and baxter!
June 8th, 2012 at 1:47 pm
I was wondering if you’d landed anywhere yet. My door is always open to you. Of course it’s a door that leads to utter chaos…but it is open nonetheless. lol Take care, girlfriend. And call if you need anything. xoxo Julia
June 12th, 2012 at 8:29 pm
i might just show up julia, i promise to only use up as much room as baxter!
June 13th, 2012 at 12:16 am
ha ha! Come unannounced and you get what you get! ha ha! I’m not much of a domestic goddess, you know! lol