There was a commercial in my past that continues to haunt my life. It was of a boy asking an owl how many licks it takes to get to the middle of a Tootsie-Pop sucker. The owl says “lets find out” and starts licking. “One…two…three…CRACK…Three!” He bites the sucker after the third lick and proclaims the answer as three since he is unable to resist the temptation to rush to the treat in the center.
I have a confession to make: I am a victim of my choices. A willing, sometimes eager participant, but a victim never the less. You see, I am possessing of a compulsive personality trait that nudges me toward actions that (in the long run) are less than optimal. As a result, I am an overly large person (allows me to make the “valid” point that “I carry a lot or weight in this [any] organization”) that knows the ultimate result of poor lifestyle choices (and even cares about the choices) but still makes them anyway..
I am not as strong a person as I like to tell myself I am. I live alone and have “complete” control of my surroundings, so I should be able to do what I want and enjoy the freedom of my choices. Instead, I am compelled to follow the Pavlovian programming of nearly six decades of historic influences. I want to go in one direction and find myself several miles off course, drifting further away as the tides of history drag me out to sea.
I was not abused as a child, nor was I raised in a (abnormally) dysfunctional home (I believe we are ALL from dysfunctional homes, some are just more dysfunctional than others). My younger sisters and I lived with both of our natural parents (no abandonment or divorce related issues) in a small(ish) town about 50 miles from here (in [REDACTED]). We were raised in neither affluence nor poverty, being raised in a rather middle class environment. We had everything we needed, much that we wanted, and were, in general, pretty normal and happy.
And yet, I have fuzzy memories of denial and hoarding (probably skewed by a childish point of view – of course I WAS a child at the time, but…). I didn’t get to eat cookies and ice cream when I wanted. I had to share, and sometimes (often? always?) had to let my siblings go first (because I was “older” and by extension “more mature”). I had to go to bed before I wanted to and couldn’t watch what I wanted to on TV (sometimes I could sneak downstairs late at night to watch TV when spending the night at grandma’s house, as long as I kept the volume way down). I had to do chores and clean my room at the most inopportune times (like when my mom told me to), and wash the dishes far more often than my sisters. It just wasn’t fair.
Now I am an adult and am empowered to make my own choices without needing to get input from others (the kid has grown up, married, and moved away, and the wife left, divorced me and remarried years ago). Or so the theory states. Yet when I am confronted with a choice of actions the ghosts of the past haunt me and shove me in directions I don’t necessarily want to go. I often finish the bag of cookies now rather than leave some for tomorrow (lest the invisible sibling hordes steal them away in the night). I will eat beyond satiety to make sure I get “my share” and won’t have to go without by others consuming what could have been mine. I buy things I don’t need (but think I want) to drown out the echos of “no’s” from my childhood . I stay up late to play video games and sleep in late because I can (now). My sink is full of dirty dishes (clean ones are in the dishwasher when I need them), clean clothes in the hamper from the last laundry run (dirty ones in a
heap pile stack in the corner) and the bed is made twice a year (whether it needs it or not) for the annual inspections. In short, I do what I want and am miserable as a result.
What I really “want” is to be able to enjoy eating my cake without the hassle of making, baking, and breaking down the process afterward. I want to be fully indulged in my selfish desires without the downsides of effort or repercussion. I am insane (along with a large percentage of society). I read and apply (briefly) suggestions and rules from books, web pages, and media presentations about how to organize, simplify, and enhance my life, to acquire great habits and positive lifestyle changes and break self-destructive behaviors that damage my self esteem and physique. I have a juicer, rice steamer, and vacuum food saver to improve my choices in eating and storing healthy foods. (I do NOT have a Nordic-Trac in my basement. Never went down that rabbit hole, although I DID have both a treadmill and a personal gym at one time.) I have yoga and tai-chi videos, shelves of self-improvement books, follow several (many?) blogs and sites about health and fitness.
I am neither fit nor healthy. I don’t juice, steam, or suck air from the packages I put in the freezer. I am about as flexible as iron and as gracefully balanced as a still top. in short, I am only a good intention. I am a really, REALLY bad implementer of change. I have asked for answers and wisdom from others and have heard the CRACK of my desire to make hard changes shatter to get to the yummy center of self-indulgence. I lack the patience and perseverance to stick to actions long enough to implement real change, preferring instead to continue along the path of pain and weakness, whining all the way.
Yet, this project (the blog) has been different (so far…). I have been able to continue to keep up the 3-a-week schedule (barely) for over a month. This is nearly a record for me to keep up an activity without a fat/sugar/calorie-laden treat dangling on a string before me as an encouragement to continue. I may not be losing weight (except the reduced fat in my typing fingers) or becoming an Olympic athlete from this activity, but the success provides a glint of a shimmer of a shadow of a possibility that I can accomplish other dreams as well. So it is (at least in theory) worth it. I may actually be able to overcome temptation long enough to become a better, more positive person. It is worth the attempt. But maybe the announcer in the commercial got it right at the end after all…
“The world may never know.”
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