thin and writing a best selling book that will make me happy, financially secure and . . . thin!

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.

what if the new yorker wants a diet coke big gulp? what if the new yorker is an underweight supermodel who really needs the calories? what if the new yorker is a constitutional scholar who believes that commerce can’t be regulated in this manner?

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.

“about what?”

what do all girls like to write about? romance, adventure, handsome princes, pretty dresses, fancy parties, the crumbling of the european union, and unicorns. one of these things is not actually true.


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–

21 responses to “thin and writing a best selling book that will make me happy, financially secure and . . . thin!

  • carolynquinn

    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.

  • Tony Tyner

    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.

    —Marianne Williamson

  • Pink Ninjabi

    Great post! Love the pony! And great points too!


  • Smiley

    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.

  • monicanamaste

    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 !

  • Bruce Cohen and Friends

    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.

  • Lisa Pace Wegrzyn

    What’s next on his agenda? Banning all McDonald’s franchises from opening in NYC? Cigarette sales? Why stop with the evil “Big Gulp”?

  • carolynquinn

    I want FIVE MINUTES with Mrs. Patrick…

  • Julia Kovach

    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

    • arlynnpresser

      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

      • Julia Kovach

        Thanks, darlin’! That’s extra sweet of you to say! I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately and wondering about your home…….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

      • arlynnpresser

        haven’t figured out where home is because home is in transit for the moment! much love to you and baxter!

      • Julia Kovach

        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

      • arlynnpresser

        i might just show up julia, i promise to only use up as much room as baxter!

      • Julia Kovach

        ha ha! Come unannounced and you get what you get! ha ha! I’m not much of a domestic goddess, you know! lol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: