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–