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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

We were naked in bed. I looked down at my doughy white belly and mumbled something about being fat. Michael told me that this was untrue. I said "next year, I'm going to be skinny." Michael replied with "a healthy skinny." I said "No. I want to be so skinny you can see my bones." Michael said "No. You mean a healthy skinny." I didn't argue with him, but in my head I was still stuck on the idea of being that kind of skinny where my bones poked out of my skin and you could count my ribs. There's a part of me that really considers this, wonders how to achieve this. I would eat one Jelly Belly a day, a piece of fruit and a peanut. I have never been skinny let alone bag of bones skinny, but I now wanted desperately to be skeleton thin. I've never been an extreme anything before.

My whole life has been one of practicality and moderation. I rarely snack between meals. There's never a cookie a day. My dessert at lunch is fruit (with the exception of the other day when I ate what was left of Mom's sweet potato pie/casserole/deliciousness). I may accept the offer for candy one out of the ten times asked. That's not to say that I will not eat the occasional cupcake or bagel that is brought into this office. I will devour that shit, but the cupcakes and bagels are maybe a bi-monthly event around here. I am a moderate drinker with three beers being my usual limit. I walk thirty minutes a day at the moderate speed of 3.6 miles per hour. My tattoos are even moderate. If I were to have a tombstone "everything in moderation" would be my epitaph. 

My entire life I have sat on the fence line straddling mediocre and advanced. I was one point away from being put in with the "gifted and talented" kids in third grade. Too smart for my class and too dumb for the advanced class. My talent is average with a singing voice that was good enough for a scholarship but lacked the ambition and drive for much more than that. I don't really care about the number of publications I have (not really that many) and I am mildly proud of myself for that journal cover I got once. Actually, I think I was just as impressed with the Christmas wreath I made for the door.

I am not one to over indulge or deprive myself. In fact, I have a thing about being hungry. Fear of hunger may be a good way to put it. I don't want to get caught between meals with a gnawing stomach and no snack. If faced with this situation I will either suffer and feel woozy and anxious or I will go to the cafeteria and buy all of the food. All of it. The hardest part of that juice cleanse I did once was making all the juice to take with me to work, because the anxiety of not having enough was crippling. I have no idea where this anxiety and fear comes from. We were poor at times growing up, but never so poor that we didn't have food. 

I know that saying I want to be skeleton thin sounds dangerous. It puts to mind eating disorders and illness. I'm not looking to give myself an eating disorder or poor health. But maybe a little deprivation is in order. Maybe I need to go hungry for a bit, work through that anxiety. Maybe I need to do what I am afraid to do. How shameful and ridiculous is it for someone like me to be afraid of going hungry when millions of people in this country go to bed at night with gnawing stomachs and uncertainty of where their next meal will come from. At least I know I can have more than a Jelly Belly and a peanut for lunch. I have the means and then some. In fact I will be delivering my box of canned goods to Harvesters this weekend. I have collected fifteen cans or so of food for the 15 Can Challenge. You can help too by making a donation to Harvesters. All you need to do is click on the word Harvesters in this sentence.

So don't fret. You will not be counting my ribs by this time next year. I'm too lazy to be extreme.