“Ten thousand tons of ice cream!”
Consider this ideology which is aligned with the consumption of the weight watchers ice cream sandwich.This is “better for you,” a greater choice, an almost holy substance in the land of cream and sugar wherein you can find your bodily meaning. You will not fail again, fair creature, since now you can still enjoy the “good life,” while painfully and teeth-grittingly sucking down dessert’s artificial cousin. These are the measures one needs to take, however, in the endeavor for the perfect. You may not really like it, but in that white knuckle time of the day (currently 8:34 pm) when all you can think about is “something else,” you can still open up the freezer and “indulge,” however painstakingly.
But then consider the opposing ideology—the one which rebels against the popularly-held beliefs concerning women and their “duties.” This ideology looks at the TV and the Special K box and scowls. There exist certain commercials with already-fit models who are, just like you, on the endeavor for the perfect. These models also feel the inconvenient and nudging devils of the day, but have found delightful alternatives within the infinite number of diglycerides and polysorbate 80s. The members of the opposing ideology watch these skinny few and their ignorant followers with their sugar substitutes in hand and say “fuck it and pass the bundt cake—yes, the entire thing.”
What we have here are conflicting views, voices, sound bytes and images, all digging down deep into my conscience. They analyze, they inform, they promote and they instruct. One needs not a brain–simply an open heart, open ears, and perhaps a complete lack of self-awareness and self-respect. What do I want? Or what does the mind-image of myself want? Or what does the mind-image of myself think it wants in regards to the future mind-image of myself or the past mind-image of myself which sees itself and wonders what it really looks like?
The choice to open up the cabinet and refrigerator and freezer doors was indeed a unconscious one. I looked and found nothing desirable. There was a box of mediocre cereal, a bag of barbeque chicken with maybe spots of white and green mold and a box of diet swiss miss which hailed, no doubt, from 1996. Alas, a fruitless search. A Weight Watchers ice cream sandwich was half-heartedly embraced.
But what if I looked and suddenly found a plethora of desirable candidates? Turtle brownies, cookie dough ice cream, just plain cookie dough (by the pound)? Would I attack? Would I hunt and gather accordingly? Aggressively?
I still maintain a consistent battle with La Dolce Vita. Those damn sweets. It seems like I almost always want them, and I am now running low on my collection of menstrual excuses. “I’m on my period” turned into “I’m going to get my period” which turned into “I just got off my period.” If any of these “reasons” qualify for a Veruca Salt-like existence, then every single day of the year now tragically counts as a successful ascension towards obesity.
I am now attempting to take a step back and take a breath. Who am I listening to here? My true desires? My true wants? Veruca Salt?
Obviously no one (ever really) needs sweets, but we like them. Alright, I will speak in the first person– I like them. I love them, in fact. But again, for an investigative pause—what part of me truly adores them? Is it the true self? Is it the rebellious child with chocolate cheeks? Is it the future woman in menopause—or about to go on menopause—or just got off of menopause?
Today I was working at the cafe in Books-A-Million, and stood for eight hours in front of the bakery case which housed many lovely, luscious friends. Red velvet cupcakes, dulce de leche cheesecake, chocolate and peanut butter and caramel wonders and joys. There behind the plexiglass is where I honestly believed my ultimate fantasies and desires were sleeping. It was only a matter of time before my hand would violently swing open the glass, throw away my diet coke and stuff in the frosting as if I was a prisoner of war given my first meal. However politically incorrect it is to compare my privileged, well-dessert fed self to a prisoner of war, I believe it is an adequate metaphor to take us into the dreaded disaster that is the pining human mind.
I never went for the red velvet cupcake. I had my diet coke, my occasional iced coffee, and listened to kids play with annoying toys which shouldn’t belong in a bookstore. Somehow, I made it through the day. Thank god.
But thank god for what? For not eating the cupcake? For “resisting temptation?” I am calling to the stand Temptation itself. Temptation, in this case, is supposedly leading me to a desirable-then-undesirable fate. What is the psychology here? I suppose it is to get what I really—really—want (the red velvet cupcake), but then to receive the un-wanted later effects of an unattractive body, a declining state of health and attention only from the balding, jean shorts guy who continues to stare at me from the cafe patio.
Temptation assumes a lack. I have to stand behind this plexiglass with longing eyes as a sad, sad puppet because…why? Because I am not allowed to have a red velvet cupcake? Because I am not allowed to be “happy?”
The willpower machines on the highway to skinny will say to quickly turn away and suck down your Diet Coke. You want what you want and you want it now–so make the sacrifices! The rebellious few would advocate for consumption and giving in to your desires– “Just go ahead and have the cupcake!” They are looking to ease the pain of the harsh voices which beckon down with disapproving eyes. “No!” they say, “I want to do what I want!” We all just want to be free and happy, right?
I will argue against both belief systems. Perhaps for something a little more true, a little more peaceful.
I call skinny bitches to the stand.
So you want to be skinny, right? For what reason? For what true reason? Some say they want to be healthy and fit. Some say they want to look good. Some magazine covers even combine the ideas of looking good and feeling good [!].
But what I have found in my investigation, of myself (of course I cannot speak for others), is that the “skinny” one wishes to achieve is merely a signifier for “goodness” or perhaps a “happy” self. The ideal body is just like the cupcake behind the bakery case doors. It stands as an idol, as one longs and pines with hopeful eyes, desperate to reach that point where they can say “yes, I feel good now—I am content with exactly what I have.”
But what of the curvy coup? They tell me to just “go for it” and just eat the cupcake. But why? Can happiness and peace be found in a sugar surge? They say “just love your curvy body the way it is and eat the cupcake.” But what if my god damn curvy body doesn’t particularly want the cupcake? What if it is just my crazy mind infested with skinny bitches and curvy ranters fighting to be right? Ironically, both sides are arguing for “the body,” yet both are completely disregarding the actual body in existence.
Is it plausible to claim that the longing, baleful eyes for the cupcake are frightenly similar to those for the “ideal body?” Both pairs of eyes are looking and reaching outside of the self in desperation for an ideal that has nothing to do with the body at all. You open the door, you unwrap the cupcake paper, you take a bite. “Mmmm” you say, although a few seconds later you lose the sensation. Okay, that was good. But what’s next?
I challenge my opponents to the Truth and hopefully, nothing but the Truth. I am inquiring—and now very heavily—about the Truth, because I suppose I believe it exists. How can it not? All else has just left me in pain, hoping for said Truth.
What about me? What about what I really want? No one stops to consider that. No one pauses to think about how they really feel at that moment. Commercials and magazines and books and parents and friends and who the fuck is Bethany Frankel all talk about the tempting and highly desirable qualities of a red velvet cupcake. Although red velvet cupcakes are very delicious when tasted, who is to say they are always to be desired? What about at 11:33am on a Saturday, when a banana, granola bar and iced coffee was just consumed? Are they truly desirable then? And yet I am still conditioned to stare and think “I cannot help but want one ever so badly. And I want it now.”
I really do want to have great health and a body which can adequately function. I want to feel good about myself—true–and by golly I want to be able to fit into cute clothes
I also want that feeling I have when I get hungry, eat something good, and then sit with a satisfied stomach. I feel this way after a breakfast of steel cut oats with blueberries and walnuts. It’s healthy and plentiful and right. I feel that inside and just know everything is right. I also feel this way after a good, sweaty run, blasting the Animal Collective. This is when I can feel my body and it says “thank you for taking care of me properly.” And yet I’m programmed to walk by the new SHAPE magazine and insist on buying it because Rosario Dawson’s body is simply what I need. Is it, though?
This is a very complex matter, and I can see it is already going in and out of very complex findings. These things are difficult, and especially for women. But one of the greatest things I’ve discovered after putting temptation and conditioned thought processes on trial, is that we are so programmed and ingrained with what is “good” or what is “bad” or what is “desirable” or what is “wanted” that we completely disregard our own selves in that very specific moment in time–the only moment that is true–the Present.
I can tell you right now, that the Weight Watchers ice cream sandwich sucked not only because it was a superficial dessert, but also because I didn’t even want dessert. To tell nothing but the Truth, I did not want anything. I needed nothing. I lacked nothing. I was completely content. The defenses, however, attempted to argue their sides of the case.