I hate not knowing.
My birthday and Christmas were great growing up. The part that has always sucked, though, has been the waiting to open the gifts wrapped prettily with my name on them. The Not Knowing while I had to wait to discover what was in that pretty wrapping paper was more agonizing than the thrill of finally getting my chance.
Maybe it’s why I became a newspaper reporter. Every assignment was a directive to Find Out What I Didn’t Know. It didn’t matter if it was something as simple as how how this year’s Best Garden winner felt about the recognition or if I was sitting in a court room listening to a suspected murderer’s lawyer try to argue his client free because I was always learning more, discovering more, and Not Knowing less.
Please don’t start a sentence and then stop mid-stream after deciding you really don’t want to share what you had planned. Don’t hint at what you are thinking of buying me for my next December birthday in June. And for the love of all things holy, don’t even dare to play an April Fool’s joke on me if you value your life and our friendship.
I just need to know. Always. The more I know, the less I don’t. The more I know, the less I can’t control and the more that I can. The more that I know…the more I can obsess about the things I can’t just because it’s what I’m used to doing.
I used to weigh myself once a week, first thing in the morning after peeing and stripping down to nothing because every ounce counts. My ritual — because you’re damned right there was a ritual — also included the holding of breath and closing of eyes and a silent prayer before opening my eyes and looking down. What I saw each time I got on that scale determined my mood, actions, and self-worth until the next time I held my breath. If it was good, I rewarded myself with love. I ate right, exercised more, and shouted from the rooftops how important it is to focus on how I felt instead of what I weighed. If it was bad I dove headfirst into the nearest source of chocolate and cursed the DNA gods for cursing me with the shallow end of my familial gene pool because what I weighed determined how I felt.
My mother had given birth to five girls. I haven’t been able to share clothes with her since I was in the third grade.
So when I was brainstorming book ideas with my agent and the discussion spilled over into dinner conversation with The Husband, he pounced on an idea that my agent and I had tossed out because it’s too similar to Something Else I’ve Written. I like the not weighing yourself for a year idea, he said. You need that, he said, because you take care of yourself until the scale tells you that you aren’t working hard enough.
I had no response because it’s true. I called my BFF and told her to keep the scale she had borrowed.
And so began my Celebration of Not Knowing.
I’ve never felt so in control.
*** This post originally appeared on Owning Pink