That’s who I am. Except instead of a rock, I’ve been heaving and hauling the same ten pounds around for about 25……no, 30, years. Just when I think I can let go and release my burden for good–I’ve got everything balanced just so and I’m comfortably parading around in those size two trophy jeans–I relax a little and back they go, into the darkest, spookiest corner of my closet.
So I’m 45, it’s the tail-end of 2012 and I want it to be over. I think about all the minutes of my life I’ve wasted struggling, worrying, beating myself up. I consider all the thousands of dollars I’ve thrown away on diet books, online weight-loss sites, expensive “buy-our-food-only” regimes–
DukanBest LifeWeight WatchersJenny CraigMediterraneanSouth BeachInsanity!!
–and I get all embarrassed and ashamed and regretful . So that’s a great place to start, right? Shame and regret just make a gal want to get up and take on the world!!
Last year at this exact time, my ten pounds had gone missing. I thought we’d broken up, but it turns out it was just a trial separation. Over the course of 2012, we got back together…..gradually. We had our good times: a few croissants from that incredible boulangerie, a couple of glasses of wine with the hub, a little late-night ice cream in bed with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
And we had our bad times: bathing. suit.
So I’m just wondering now—should I give up and just leave the boulder that is my ten-pounds at the bottom of the hill? (I know. This lame metaphor is really falling apart. I thought about calling this post “Ahab” and going with a white whale, or maybe “Rime of the Dreaded Ten Pounds” and milking the Albatross thing, but I’m on paragraph three already, so Camus it is.).
Is this just how I’m supposed to be? Most of the truly fun, interesting, kind women I know are a little bit un-thin. I’m healthy, thank goodness. My kids are growing up beautifully and the hub still loves me. And how do I let go without, you know, totally LETTING GO (as in: “Whoa, she really let herself go.”)? Again with the balancing.
I had a little health scare last week. The doctor had this eerily worried look on his face when he asked “Any sudden weight loss?”
“Um. No,” I laughed, “I wish.”
“No you really don’t,” he said.
He had me there.
So here’s my new plan: I drive over to Kahakuloa, find me the BIGGEST boulder on the shoreline and take it to Waihe’e. Every day, I get up and push that mutha’ up the hill. When it rolls back down (which I’m guessing it will…..), I heave it all the way back up. Over and over again. After a month or two, when I finally have a rock-hard hiney and boulder-built biceps, I’ll release “The Sisyphus Plan” and make a million bucks off of people like me– who spend thousands of dollars trying to lose ten pounds.
Big effin’ deal. That’s what you’re saying right now. Everyone likes to say how much they like Paris. Lovin’ it the Springtime, lovin’ it in the Fall. Gag.
I’ve been pretty embarrassed about it for most of my life because people (namely, my family–my ex-husband, a few friends) always mocked my cliché, goo-goo-eyed notions of the La Cité des Lumieres. It wasn’t until this past summer, when I dragged the kids and the hubby from Paris to Nice, that I finally came to terms with the fact that I am, in fact, on the right track, baby. I was born this way. My “I heart Paris” is dead-on, and here’s why:
No duh….look at it up there ^ basking in it’s serendipitous loveliness, saying “Uh, huh, huh, Regardez-moi. I am Paree, you know. I cannot help zee fact zat I am, how you say, zee awesomest cité dans le monde.”
Never mind that Paree might follow up with, “You stupide Americaine.” Because, depending on its mood, or the presence of white socks and/or a fanny pack, it totally would. You bet your freedom fries, lots of Parisians are grossed out by Americans. It’s unfathomable, I know. I mean, what’s not to love about us?
One of my husband’s co-workers, who had recently returned from a European tour, shared with us this little story: “I was in the hotel restaurant in Paris and I was so f***ing sick of no one speaking American, so, finally, I had enough. I said to the waiter, ‘You go and find me someone who can speak GOD DAMN American, RIGHT NOW!”
Last summer we did the (Quel horreur!) requisite Open Top Bus with the kids. I have no shame when it comes to fun with my kids…I’ll put on Mouse Ears, dance in the street, take stupid pictures pretending to poke/stabilize/suspend famous monuments. We go balls-out on Family Vacations. Anyway…
The woman in front of us on the bus wanted her friends to know that she knew everything about Paris. The non-stop, top-of-her-lungs, Southern-accented narration included this, my favorite takeaway: “And Edith Pilaf lived right around here somewhere. Edith Pee-Loff. Oh! My! Gawd! You don’t know who Edith Pilaf is? She is (a favorite middle-eastern-influenced rice dish?) a FAMOUS FRENCH SINGER! Edith. Pilaf.” I looked around to see if anyone else was tuning in to this primo material, then I realized everyone else’s head set was plugged in and operable. But it happened.
Multiply these two anecdotes by millions every year, and, well, Paris just calls ’em as she sees ’em.
Let the record show that Paris also reeks of smoke and urine.
“And zat eez because I can and you weel still love me.”
So we just booked a teensy studio for next summer. It’s near our favorite spot, Place de la Contrescarpe. Just the hub and me this time, sans enfants. I will miss them, but they’ll be happily spoiled rotten at Grandma’s and we’ll be at Place Monge market sniffing pommes and pêches, buying cheap, drinkable wine at the hole-in-the-wall convenience store on Rue Mouf, wandering…. nowhere to go. Getting up early-ish and running from Place St. Michel to the Eiffel Tower and back (slightly masochistic bucket list item). And, finally, I’ll have a chance to plant my ass in a proper café and just write, and sip a coffee or a glass of wine, without feeling guilty about taking up a table, while hubby dons his sneakers and, as always, runs around making “friends” all over the place even though he doesn’t speak a word of French (it’s gotta be the aloha–I have no other explanation).
I have to teach a couple extra classes to cover the cost of the trip. And the bathroom linoleum won’t get replaced. And the front yard will remain a barren, mango-strewn wasteland. But we’ll always have Paris and Paris is always, always enough.
“Zat is correct. You stupide Americain.”