Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why Wafting the Scent of Taco Bell Out of My Car is Essential to My Sanity

Let me start off my saying, I am NOTICABLY CHUNKY over this time last year. Let's say thirty pounds. Which considering I comforted myself with all things comfort food, comfort drink (adult beverages) and a lifestyle that can only be described as BEDRIDDEN, I'm almost proud to say IT'S ONLY THIRTY POUNDS. I mean, that is only, what, 2.5 pounds a month? After two years of sloth-like depression - I'D SAY CONGRATU-DAMN-LATIONS/

However, to my parents who value APPREARANCE (read: thin/skinny/emaciated-even-better) over all, I knew this 30 pounds was gonna be a BIG FAT PROBLEM. (Get it, “fat?” I know, I'll try harder.)

However, I, being the Manipulative Mind/Reverse Psychology Expert that I am (essential to my survival), decided to launch a pre-emptive strike in hopes I would NOT HAVE TO HEAR from my MOTHER about my chunky HIPS & THIGHS.

“Mom,” I said, “My friends and I all joined a weight loss club… I'm already down 3.2 pounds.” (True & True).

Apparently, after seeing me (Chunky Hips & Thighs & All), she couldn't hold her tongue (I thought after 24 hours I was in the clear… I'll never learn). I should have known when she came up to my room to “have private girl talk” that she was going to have something to say.


Even after I said I was addressing it, even after I said I felt I had finally turned a corner and was getting back into working out (not true but I'M GONNA, I'M GONNA TURN THAT CORNER, even after I said I found this conversation kind of humiliating.

I said, “I think what I've been through the last two years, I'm not ashamed that I got depressed and gained this weight.”

She was lost in her own thoughts, “What are you ashamed about?” I said, “I SAID I'M NOT ASHAMED.” She said, “Everybody has problems.” “Really,” I said, “Everybody's cousin gets murdered?” (I know, bitchy, but her DISMISSIVENESS pushed me to the edge. And I did leave out, “And EVERYBODY'S Mom has a nervous breakdown a month after the trial?”

But she didn't even hear me. Instead she was busy turning the HUMILIATION DIAL from “I Really Think You're Being too Sensitive, Dear” TO “I Will Crush Your Self-Esteem into A Power Like Substance.”

She said, “Is this why your not dating much… BECAUSE OF HOW YOU LOOK?”

At that point, I was so blinded by my anger that it actually made me go deaf. I can't remember anything that was said after that.


My Grandmother's in the hospital. My mother and I are going to visit her. I go to gas up the car. It's 1:30pm and I've only eaten a bowl of cereal. NOW THAT I HAVE THE FEAR OF GOD OF EATING IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER, (My older sister hasn't eaten in front of my mother in over 20 years. My mom sent her to fat camp two years in a row as a kid. My sister was maybe six or seven pounds overweight. Maybe.)

But I know I'm going to be hungry. We could be at the hospital for hours. That's when I see THE MECCA THAT IS TACO BELL. As I pull in front of the menu, my heart starts beating faster. “Mom will smell it on my breath!” “WHAT IF SHE CAN SMELL IT IN THE CAR?”

“Can I take your order please?” “Yes, um, what on the menu smells the least?” “Excuse me m'am?” “Would you say, a chulupa or a gordita smells more?” “Uh…a chulupa?” “Then I'll have the gordita.” “Can I get you some hot sauce with that?” “Dear, God, no! The scent of that will get trapped in the upholstery for months!”

I get my food and start driving home. It is raining. It is 20 degrees. Still, I drive with all four windows down. Rain is coming into the car, it's all over me and the seats.

I intermittently drive, take a bite of my gordita and WAVE ONE ARM AROUND TO GET THE SCENT OF DELICIOUS OUT OF THE CAR. I think it's working.

SHE'LL NEVER KNOW. I'M SOOOO SMART. I AM SOAKING WET. I am a grown woman who can't eat in front of her own mother. I feel ridiculous and stupid and angry all at the same time.

I SAID I WOULD NEVER BECOME THEM. I would not be “a sneak.” Like how my Mom said she quit smoking when I was twelve but she was still sneaking outside until I was 19. I would watch the orange glow of the cigarette and I would know. Or like my Dad. He hides a 30 pack of beer in his car and will only sneak in three or four at a time. He'll only drink it after she's gone to bed. The evidence goes in the recycle bin which he takes out. NO ONE IS THE WISER.

I don't want to be like that. I have every right to eat a 250 calorie bona fide taco with chicken (protein!), cheese (calcium!), sour cream (dairy!), lettuce and tomato (FIBER GALORE!). I could EAT TEN IF I WANT TO.



MY LIFE IS MY OWN. But only if I don't let myself become them.