So, last night I had the girls over. We barbecued and we laughed. Miranda is trying to have a baby and Laura is trying to get used to LA. The whole evening felt like 5 minutes, as it often does when good people get together.
We were talking about babies and savings plans and getting into shape. At one point, Miranda brought up Tanya, a mutual acquaintance she had worked with way back when. Miranda is black. Tanya is black. Apparently, after one particular comedy event, Laura said to Tanya, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to meet Miranda’s mother. It’s nice to meet you.”
Well, Tanya is not Miranda’s mother. As Miranda puts it, “this was a turning point for Tanya in her life.” The woman about lost her mind. She dropped 50 lbs, she started wearing dresses, all because of Laura’s comment. She didn’t want to be anybody’s mother.
Laura could not believe she had accidentally called Tanya, Miranda’s mother. Being comedians, we morphed this mistake into “Do all black people look the same to you, Laura” kind of talk. It was funny. We enjoyed it. We’re close like that.
But, today I’m not talking about race. I want to talk about the “mother comment” as Tanya’s trigger. I’m reading a book about habits and apparently we all have “cues” or triggers that initiate both good and bad habits. For example, you might feel emotional because someone called you an a-hole or they acted like an a-hole towards you and this stimulated a routine. Maybe your routine is eating an entire bag of cool ranch doritos. Thus, begins the cycle. A-hole Action = Cue / Trigger = Doritos = Fatness. Scientifically, this is how a bad habit forms. Cue to Routine to Reward. But, according to this book, it’s ALSO how a good habit can form. Tanya’s good habit cycle would go like this: “You must be Miranda’s mom.” = Cue / Trigger = Workout / Eat Right = Lose 50lbs. = Nobody’s Momma.
Now I love researching things in this fashion. Once, I stopped drinking for a whole two months, which was difficult because I love my evening cocktail or two or twenty. But, I said, “that’s it.” I want the control. I thought to myself, when is the most difficult time to stop drinking in Manhattan? Answer: Christmas time. There are so many holiday parties and there’s so much free flowing booze that being sober around this time is bordering on a Herculean task. I wanted to be ready. So, I read everything I could on the subject. Every single book on stopping one’s alcohol consumption, I read. I read books about how certain blood types lead to alcoholism. I know all about how women and Asian cultures possess less of a booze enzyme in their stomachs, which is why we get even more drunk, even faster. The fact is while your male counterpart is metabolizing his booze, yours is hitting the bloodstream directly. I studied boozing inside and out. It worked, I stayed off the stuff for the entire holiday season.
So, now I’m trying to shift into a healthier lifestyle to lose some lbs. I’ve lost about 4-5 lbs so far, but that’s not enough and it’s going too up and down for my liking. I need to tighten the belt. I’m thinking I need to figure out my cue – the thing that will jostle the electrical switch in my brain into a healthier lifestyle. I liked that Tanya took a socially traumatic moment for her and turned it into a win-win for herself.
I’m currently searching for mine.
The habit book goes on to say how Americans started brushing their teeth. It was advertising that made it happen. An advertising company for Pepsodent said, “Run your tongue across your teeth. Feel that film? Brushing with Pepsodent will get rid of that.” Meanwhile, so did swishing water around in your mouth or eating an apple, but that didn’t help to sell Pepsodent. So, a teeth brushing tradition was born.
I’m trying to find my ewww-get-that-film-off, I-don’t-wanna-be-your-momma trigger.
The only thing that’s coming close for me is naming the body-parts I’m currently finding most annoying. For example, I feel like I’m losing my chin. I’ve never felt that I had any kind of structured jaw like a Marlboro Man or Jay Leno, my jawline has always been more curvy and womanly, but goddermn it – it was there. Now…not so much. And you never realize how important a chin is until it’s gone. It’s like love in that sense. No chin immediately leads to no neck and no neck is never good for anyone. My second bodily annoyance is the appearance of a stomach. I’ve always had an ass, but never a stomach. My mid-section was washboard tight right up until my mid 30s where everything started to tell me to feck off around the torso back area. The first body part to mutiny was my stomach. Now the artist formerly known as, “brick wall” is more of a pouch and I can feel it sway in the breeze. I don’t like it. I don’t like feeling like I’m carrying around a baby bjorn satchel with no baby in it. It just feels wrong.
My solution is to start calling myself, “Chief No Neck of the Swaying Pouch.” I’m hoping this will cause the same trigger effect that being “Miranda’s momma” caused for Tanya.
Heretofore, I will be referring to myself as “The Chief” every now and again. This will indicate where I’m at in my “process,” which some might also call procrastination. Now, you can NOT call me chief. You can call me Sweet Mo or if you want to be positive, Chief Soon to Be Skinny Mo – Chief Soon, for short. (I like the ring of that. Chief Soon sounds like Swoon or it feels like I’m saying this male alter ego of mine is a pre-mature ejaculator. As in, “Chief Soon! Too Soon! Either way, it’s exciting.)
I will call myself Chief and I will mean “Chief No Neck of the Swaying Pouch.” You can call me, “Chief Soon,” which is your way of supporting me. It’s sort of like blog therapy. I come in with this problem and I’m self deprecating about it. You say, no, no, that’s not true and it will happen soon, Chief Soon, and before you know it, I’m there. I know it doesn’t seem fair that you can’t call me Chief No Neck. But, it’s like I’ve been telling construction workers and catcalling black men on the NYC streets for years, “I can talk about my ass. But, you talk about it and depending on my mood you’ll either get a smile or a kick in your swaying pouch and when I talk about YOUR swaying pouch, I’m not aiming for the stomach. DO YOU UNDERSTAND, CHIEF ONE BALL OF THE HANGING THREAD??!!”
Ok, that’s all. Chief Soon is signing off to hit the bike. Sigh.
What about you and your habits? Do you need a cue to get one going or are you some kind of habit savant?
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