I confessed about pie a couple weeks ago and how I love dessert, I decided to focus on my bubblegum sins. (Yes, I chew a lot of gum, but that's not what I mean.) Bubblegum for the brain.
I remember a friend once referred to Billy Collins' poems as this, but I'm going even more bubblegum, out of the poetry world and into mass market paperbacks or as I call it- beach reading.
Forgive me, Reader, I have committed many literary sins in my life time from reading Rosie O'Donnell's book Celebrity Detox: (The Fame Game) to Andre Agassi's book Open: An Autobiography (which was ridiculously long, but yes, I finished it...)
So what pack of bubblegum have I opened this summer? Oh, you might be surprised what you learn here--
I confess I just finished reading Valerie Bertinelli's book, Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time and honestly, I was lost in it and read it in 2 days. It was a fascinating beach read to me. I'd recommend it if you're a woman who likes a little pop-culture biography and who has struggled (physically or in her mind) with weight.
Here's some things you may not know about me that might explain why I enjoyed this book so much--
1) I loved the band Van Halen as a teenager.
And not just in that, "Van-Halen-they-are-cool" way, but in a deeply obsessive way to the point where I wore a ridiculous amount of Van Halen pins (now called "flair") I purchased from Tower Records at Northgate Mall on my jean jacket and you could not see the walls of my room because I had so many posters of Eddie Van Halen & David Lee Roth.
At one point, a girlfriend and I planned an Ocean Shores Rock Concert one summer at her beach cabin and we spent all summer designing rock posters for it convinced it would happen.
I also corrected people when they referred to Eddie Van Halen just as "Van Halen" pointing out that his name was Eddie and that he had a brother Alex who was the drummer and that they should each be called by their first names so no one gets left out.
My favorite album by them is Women & Children First. I attended the Van Halen concert in Seattle in 1984/1985 and the David Lee Roth concert a year or two later. I still like listening to classic Van Halen.
2) The women in my family have a weird thing about weight that has taken me years to get over.
Though I'm wondering if many of us who grew up in the 70's with mothers constantly on diets have these same body issues/weight concerns. My nana, who is 98, still comments about having dessert before she has it-- Nana, you're 98 years old, you DESERVE dessert!
I recently read an article in More magazine on Kyra Sedwick (Kevin Bacon's wife) where she said something like, "I threw out the scale and don't weigh myself anymore because I'm never the right number." When I read that, I thought-- omg, that is exactly right.
I was not a cute, petite girl growing up. I was the awkward tomboy who was more chunk than lean. Looking back now at photos, I see I was of normal size, but then, I always felt larger than most.
My older sister was known as the pretty one and I was known as the smart one, roles we would both constantly want switched-- she did everything she could to be seen as smart and I tossed every ounce of tomboyness to be seen as pretty. It didn't work, labels stick. We each developed an odd sense of who we were (either smart OR pretty - never both) andI still carry a bit of an insecurity about what I believed I wasn't (pretty).
And while I am thankful to never have gone the route of bulimia and anorexia (though there's a joke in our family that none of us could ever be anorexic since we all love food so much), I know even now at 41 I feel better when the scale says 135 instead of 140.
So reading Valerie B's book was interesting to me to see how many other women have these bizarre beliefs about their bodies. She thought as a teenager she had "child-bearing hips" but looking back she was very thin. I remember covering up my stomach with a beach towel when I was 16 and in a bikini when someone took a photo. Looking back now, I see that I too was insane. I was 5'7" and a 130 lbs. Why on earth would I have thought that was fat?
I've learned to love my curves, muscles, and hips. I've learned to feel grateful for my body, to see it as this incredible machine that produced another life and that gets me from one place to another. But yes, some days I still like the chunky monkey I was (or thought I was) growing up.
3) I love biographies and learning how people's lives played out for them, how they arrived where they arrived.
If you look carefully, you will see there many layers of confessions in this post. And while they are confessions, they are definitely not sins. Just struggles. Just parts of who I am. Just someone who can sit on the beach and read, but make sure to look deep into my beach bag, it's not just poetry, it's not just a Poets & Writers magazine, Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds or Practical Gods by Carl Dennis. There's always some cotton candy, some Bazooka bubblegum. I like sweet and easy sometimes and especially when the weather is blue skies and a cool breeze.