In addition to being a place for insightful political commentary, cunning witicism, and a softness of heart that even Jesus is jealous of, my blog has become somewhat of a stomping ground for insights on how others view my life. Admittedly, I bring it in. Everyday that I write a blog post I am asking for people to tell me exactly how they feel about me. It’s like celebrities who go out to eat. What? Did you expect to be able to sit down and have dinner? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Over time, I’ve learned to take what people say, no matter how unfounded, ridiculous, and unwanted, and hold it up to my life– like a fat girl holds up skinny pants– to see if in some way, what they’ve said could be insightful. Usually it’s not. Not because my friends and readers are not insightful (most are highly articulate and intelligent people), but because I’ve learned (be prepared for one of the great realizations of our time…) that often times people use the critique and criticism of others as a way to bounce things off themselves. Those who cant do, teach, and those who can’t change, criticize.
How did I come to this earth-shattering revelation? By being a criticizer, obviously.
I know that for most people this is hard to believe. Soft-spoken, open-minded, all-loving Caroline? She couldn’t possibly be a criticizer. But the truth is that I am, and it’s because I can’t change.
I, Caroline, can’t change.
But here is a cleansing breath. The changing of the summer shades, the switching of the cold-weather wardrobe– this is the iCaroline. This is my criticism of myself. And next time I criticize you, remember that I criticized myself first… something you may want to consider.
1. On Marriage
The iCaroline admits that marriage is not her strong suit. There is something about the will and whim of others that I have never agreed with, and managing my expectations has always been a difficult task. Let’s consider CASE ONE: A FAT TUESDAY.
Last week I was using my upcoming menstrual cycle as an excuse for misery and disgust. I would not consent to making a meal, and neither would I consider what it was I wanted to eat, leaving hubs with no choice but to make a choice and endure the verbal lashing and marriage bashing that would certainly ensue. I’m a delight. He’s thrilled with his eternal choice.
Hubs works and goes to school full time on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, and most of the time I busy myself with plans, but sometimes I sit on the couch and focus intensely on something that makes me angry. After I’m good an angry about it, I stew on it until the hubs gets home. Sometimes I’m surprised he hasn’t found a new way home, something that keeps him out all night. On this particular Tuesday, he called to let me know that he was going to swing by CVS and pick up some allergy meds for me because he noticed I was out. I told him it was too bad I was on a diet, otherwise I would want some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy too. Too bad for that diet.
I hung up the phone and waited for my ice cream, hoping he’d remember that I liked a banana to go with my ice cream. It was about that time that the vortex of hell opened up and made a go for my soul.
The hubs arrived without the ice cream. I couldn’t believe it. Wasn’t I the kind of girl who would read his thoughts? Know what he wanted before he did and provide it at any cost? Personal, emotional, or financial.
No, he said. I really wasn’t.
But looking into my eyes, I think he saw the madness. The kitten he married wasn’t there. The vacant eyes led to a vacant soul and beneath it was nothing but malice and the will to kill for chocolate pudding swirled ice cream. He decided he needed some ice cream, but he’d share it with me. He was even feeling like a banana.
Moral: Hubs is a saint. I’m a shit face with two personalities and an uncontrollable habit for consumption.
2. On Exercise
A few weeks back, in an effort to follow through with my mission to be anorexic by October, I tried to cancel my gym membership. The ideology was that it was too expensive and I didn’t really go that often. Clearly I could save money, plus be motivated to find more recreational forms of exercise: tennis at the community courts, hiking around the…, chasing after homeless people.
When I called, I was honest about my situation. Fat girl, no fitness goals, in debt, must cancel.
What they heard was: desperate fatty willing to pay thousands to keep the dream of the Barbie Body alive.
Thus I began working out with Lindsay, the pixie with a thumb print ass who laughs politely when I heave like a fat kid at camp with low blood sugar. She really is great, and her enthusiasm for the lunge rivals that of my mine for baked goods, and between us we make an odd couple. Her giggling and demonstrating with ease and agility, and then covering her mouth politely when my stomach fat keeps me from completely an exercise. I’ve become a target of my own defense mechanisms. There I am, lying on the floor, wondering what I’m going to have for breakfast… or if it’s anyone’s birthday at work. We always have the most delicious cakes.
When I informed the hubs of my decision to buy exercise I couldn’t afford, he was supportive. He told me he wanted me to work hard so that I would be happy with myself. I’m sure he just wants me to get some stamina going–so I don’t have to take a three day breather after sex. But he was loving and supportive, and even offered some compensation… in three years I will have paid off round one of my trainer.
Lindsay inspires me to do crazy things like get up and go to the gym before work, a habit that optimism tells her will become second nature, while the iCaroline knows that when the sessions are up, so is the dream of a better body.
Last week it occurred to me that unless I was willing to go into substantial debt maintaining this insane routine, I was going to have to cut our relationship off at the knees. As I lay on the flooring, staring woefully at the water fountain, I told Lindsay that it was important that we be honest with eat other. I needed her to tell me that I was out of shape and that she felt sorry for me, mostly because she could tell–from her experience– that I was incapable of having a better body. In return, I’d let her know that she was out of her fucking mind for thinking that any functioning member of society with even a SMIDGEN of normalcy would get up and do the shit she makes me do. For $134/month, surrounded by spa treatments and thousands of dollars in equipment, she had fashioned a mountain climber out of a sit up mat and two sweat towels. This is not the Congo, Miss Goodall, this is Equinox. We can use the Stairmaster. But no. We would tie sweat towels around my feet and try to run up a lacquered mat for 30 seconds– mostly just to prove that it cannot be done.
No fucking shit.
My dilemma is clearly the elemental identifier of who I am. The iCaroline may not be a beach body blonde with a penchant for sunshine and shimmery lip gloss. At the heart of me, being over served and eating cake is what makes living pretty okay. But yet every time the summer rolls around, or a mirror sneaks up on my naked self, I find a swirling of self-doubt and hatred. Who is that flubberfuck? Who ate Caroline?
Moral: I am aspirational, but not athletic… and most of all? I’m fucking lazy.
3. On Life
I once remarked on the very blog that I was horrified to learn what most people find exciting. It’s why it’s so hard to find stimulus. Where once there was education, there is now nepotism and competition, patents and intellectual plagiarism. It’s not exactly a breeding ground for the open exchange of ideas. Someone will steal your thought, make it better, and then invite you to a gala to celebrate his or her success. Like the plot of every Disney Movie every made…
Where once there was political discussion, there is the idiocy of arguing over fundamental beliefs that can neither be changed nor explained. Guess what? Sarah Palin is a miserable whore bag. But guess what else? Some people love miserable whore bags.
And where there once was stimulation, there is now TV.
The iCaroline knows that I should read Newsweek, The Financial Times, The New Yorker, and the NYT, but the iCaroline also embraces that I don’t like to read those things. I like that my knowledge to comes from secondhand, unreliable sources. I like knowing that most of my information is uninformed and ridiculously biased. Sometimes, I even like winning an argument by lying. Mostly because it makes people crazy.
But the iCaroline is about more than basic knowledge about me, it’s about basic knowledge about you. I can identify my crazy, explain it, hide it, or even be embarrassed by it, but the truth about being crazy is that it can either empower you, or make you very, very sad. And sad people, even without trying, become very lonely people.
When I write about my life, when I tell people I’m crazy or bitchy or mean, I’m only trying to show you that you’re not alone. I’m not asking for correction techniques, or what I could do to become perfect, or even perfect to you. I’m showing you how I function. I’m helping you become an more introspective person and friend.
Because I me, I expect more of you.
Beneath the funny is a very true story about how my life unfolds.
Exhausting, isn’t it?