Finding Alice

What I Can't Help But Say

Hi there, Loyal Reader – Did you call the Alameda Police to report me as a missing person? After hearing from several readers who wondered if they had an incorrect link to my new site, I’m back! I stalled, procrastinated, and even alphabetized Si’s Louis L’Amour paperback collection instead of writing.

But I’m back, and here’s what I want to say:

Friday March 8th, 2013 will remain in my retrievable memory long after I can recite on command what I had for breakfast or the last four digits of my social security number. After over five and a half years of Weight Watcher meetings, I made it to “goal.”

I stepped onto the scale that morning, squeezing my eyes shut. When I opened one slowly, I saw the digital number was almost half a pound lower than my 60-pound target – a weight in the healthy range for my height and less than what I weighed when I married at 21.

How many women can (honestly) say they weigh thirty pounds less than what’s printed on their driver’s license?

I grabbed the kind staff member by the shoulder and said, “I made it – Finally!” It took a few seconds for her to realize I meant that I reached goal. I started crying. She hugged me enthusiastically and turned to the adjacent weighing station to give our leader the news.

As word spread, members came up to hug, kiss, and “high five” me. Some cried, either having witnessed my persistence or understanding the difficulty of a constant battle. I stood up front for most of the meeting and thanked everyone for making Friday morning attendance a pleasure instead of an obligation. I believe that if it wasn’t for our leader’s charisma and the collective personality and spirit of our group, I might have given up long ago.

Late that afternoon I drove to Anthropologie in Berkeley to fulfill the self-made promise of a new outfit – something trendy and expensive. I tried on several things but purchased nothing. For once it wasn’t because I was too large for their racks. (One jacket was the wrong color and though the skinny jeans fit, I couldn’t bring myself to pay that much for jeans when I needed a new wardrobe.)

So the next morning my daughter and I hit TJ Maxx with a vengeance. I found a body hugging “little black dress” for a third of the cost of those jeans, along with several other pieces to replace larger sizes now banished from my closet.

I wore my new dress to a cocktail party in the City that night – a 60th birthday for a good friend. Every guest I knew complimented and congratulated me. One guy in particular should launch a charm school, teaching lessons on complimenting a woman so she hears it.

He said, “Alice – You look stunning!”

I smiled and said, “Thanks! I feel good.”

He shook his head and said, “No, what I meant to say is that you have always been pretty. But you transformed yourself. Now – You’re ravishing!”

Ravishing? The unfamiliar word “stunning” still rattled around in my head. In more than half a century I don’t remember ever hearing the word “stunning” and my name in the same sentence. But, ravishing? And the way he said it let me know he thought I was pretty all along.

That’s the lesson, guys. Turn down the corner of this virtual page and take out your bright yellow marker:

  • When someone loses a tremendous amount of weight, don’t say, “You look great now!” What a large woman hears is, “So glad you lost that weight, honey, because boy – were you one dumpy broad!”

After an hour of floating through the party on my inflated ego, I chatted with a couple who followed my Alameda Patch weekly column. They asked if and when I intended to get back to writing. I thanked them for the nag, admitting that I had difficulty honoring self-imposed deadlines. I promised to write and post something by today. As I made the promise, I knew I would break it.

Then a woman whose son attended preschool with our eldest joined us. When I asked about him, she said, “He works for Google, has published three books and is working on a fourth.”

My ego deflated faster than a pin-pricked birthday balloon. But it was exactly Imagewhat I needed to hear to get back to the keyboard. (Her son isn’t yet 29 and he is working on a fourth book. Thank you…)

You reach a goal and think you’re pretty hot stuff. Not so fast, sweetheart. Another highlighter worthy line here:

  • When you reach a goal, it’s time to set a new one.

I am attending a four-day writer’s workshop in May. If I don’t want to waste money and look like an idiot in front of complete strangers, it’s time to make writing a routine. You have permission to nag if you don’t see regular posts.  

And thank you for hanging in there. God knows, I missed you as much or more than you missed me.

13 thoughts on “Goal

  1. Janet Deutsch says:

    So very happy to read you again!!!!! And, congrats on reaching your goal.

  2. Alice you look marvelous and I’m so glad that you are back!! Keep up the great work in both writing and maintaining your weight goal.

  3. Rita Virgil says:

    Alice…You Rock!! So glad I was there to share in your awesome moment!! Always love your columns too!! Keep it up!
    Love you, Rita

  4. Jaan Kathleen says:

    I had no idea you were overweight, you always looked fabulous to me! Congratulations on grabbing the brass ring, baby! And thank you, too, for being the kind of person that brings the lump to my throat, and wings to my heart, and you know what I’m talking about, my lovely friend. KUDOS AND THANKS!! XO

  5. Chris Bailey says:

    AWESOME!! Tears in eyes, and LOVING the post and new pic that is more representative of the blooming/evolving Alice I know. The one with profound accomplishments to build on and new goals to go after! Way to go sister!!! Keep on writin’!!

  6. Greg says:

    Well, we had to wait (small nag), but it was worth it, Alice. Great post, and congratulations on making the goal. 60 lbs – wow. (Was I allowed to write that?) Now where’s that guy in the pickup truck? Can’t wait (nag, nag) for the next installment!

  7. Debbie falzone says:

    Thanks for sharing. You are an inspiration. Love your writing too.

  8. Mary says:

    Congratulations, Alice! 60 pounds – wow! That’s spectacular. I’m getting there and it feels good! Great to have you back.

  9. kgfgardener says:

    Here’s to new goals, new life, new you!!

  10. Janice Wilkes says:

    Alice, you were alway FABULOUS! Now, you are just more fabulous! Congratulations!

  11. Jaydee Cohen says:

    Congratulations. You are such an inspiration. You look fantastic.

  12. Alice, what a wonderful column! Congratulations! I look forward to seeing you soon, maybe even sometime when you are wearing your new dress!

    I really appreciate your reminder that all of us only become more fabulous as we change and grow (or, in your case, shrink)!

    Enjoy the May workshop! You write so well now I can’t wait to read what you write afterwards!

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