Loopholes – Day 8

Loopholes – Day 8


One of the major problems of having no self-control and also being an opportunist is that there is virtually no way of stopping me from doing what I want to do if I am very, very motivated. For example: Do you think it would be a good idea for me not to climb up the sketchy rope that is hanging from some mysterious anchor in the underground lava tubes? That’s hilarious. I’ll be doing that anyway, and the more you complain about how “dangerous” it is, the less likely I am to have pants on while I’m doing it.

Much like Tina Fey in “Mean Girls,” I happen to be a pusher. No, I also don’t sell crack and I’m not a member of any mathlete team (unless the math is about how many gingersnaps it takes to put someone into a diabetic coma). But, I do tend to test the limits and see just exactly what I can get away with.

I learned this from my mother and father, very young in my life. I grew up in a home where the “rules” were more of a conceptual guideline for behavior, rather than a rigid structure that resulted in consistent consequences. I still remember my mother threatening me in order to get me to clean my room. “If you don’t get it done, you’re grounded for a week.” I thought about that when she left, weighing the potential likelihood of her remembering this threat for more than 24 hours against the fact that I was pretty sure some ancient food product had gone demonic underneath my bed. Results? The food demon continued to spawn and I was “grounded” for the 4 hours it took my mom to realize that I had a choir concert that night.

Now, I am a master of workarounds. Or manipulation. Or whatever cutesy name you like to call it.

So, I managed to eliminate Twitter from every device in my house. In fact, I don’t even KNOW what I did to my phone. All I know is that Twitter can’t even be installed on it anymore. That’s gotta be some kind of divine intervention. Either that, or retribution from the food demons for all the trouble I caused them in my youth.

And then…I found a loophole.

While searching the internets for blogs from all the people that I no longer get to talk to, I stumbled onto a back door into Twitter. WHAT?! I know, it’s desperate and awful, but it’s true. I can click on someone’s Twitter link and get back in. SHAZAM!

Just like that, I’m back in 9th grade, finding ways to hack through the firewalls that allow me to watch Famous Rap Battles instead of doing my economics homework. Sweet.

Not only that, but because it is illicit, it makes it ALL the more fun, doesn’t it? No? Clearly, YOU’RE a terrible person to ask. You’re probably one of those people who follows rules that keep you “out of trouble” and “out of jail” and “from dying in a horrific jet-ski-related accident.”


So, I found a back door into Twitter. But, you know what? It just makes me all…depressed.

All of my cool friends still have their cool lives. They all have self-control and I’m just switching my obsession to Facebook. Everyone is being relatively normal, except me. I’m just an addict whose core problems haven’t really been solved.

Because, the core problem really ISN’T Twitter, is it? (I know, I know. This is not shocking to either of us at this point) The core problem is that I am incapable of monitoring my own behavior in a way that keeps me moderate.

It begs the question: Is quitting helpful? I mean, it clearly makes more room in my life for other stuff. But, if I let THAT other stuff take over my life, then it’s not really about the medium, is it? It’s about the fact that I need to learn how to have balance in my life. But, how can you teach someone whose whole personality is structured around absolutes to have balance?

I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I’d better learn. If I don’t, I’m going to spend my whole life wrapped up in loopholes instead of actually learning how to set and live by my own code of conduct. As an adult, I feel this is a thing I should be able to do. But, it does require a change in perspective that backs away from pushing the envelope and moves towards seeing guidelines as helpful tools rather than barriers that are begging to be crossed.

I still have 20 days. Do you think it’s possible to learn how to be moderate and to set limits in such a short amount of time? I don’t know. There are a lot of angry food demons that would say I don’t have it in me. Yet, I think that if there was a time to act, it is now. If I can learn how to meet my own expectations instead of looking for the loopholes, I think I’ll be less obsessive, less frustrated, and less likely to do hard prison time for breaking and entering into an abandoned amusement park.



You Have Time for Just One More:

11 Responses

  1. This is such a hard topic, because I understand totally and also struggle with addictive behaviors. That said, having other things in life pre-scheduled that pull me away from my computer or my phone have helped immensely. Is it still a battle? Absolutely! But, I’ve learned that if I want to have time for the rewards, I’ve got to get my work done. I don’t know if that will help you, and I do miss reading your tweets. On the other hand, I fully support your decision to walk away from something you know you can’t control. We all walk the tightrope… we just have different vices.

    • willow says:

      I agree. Having things going on is really helpful. My husband suggested putting a time limit that is reinforced by my iPad or kindle as a good idea. It fixes the symptoms, but not the problem. Still, I am feeling really good right now. If I can continue to moderate my online presence, I’ll try coming back slowly and participating much less.

  2. So, I have a different self-control issue. Cookies, chocolate, ice cream. I’ve been very active since I turned 40, and kept my weight steady. My doctor fussed at me a little bit, but was satisfied that it was steady. But in the last 9 years, my knees progressively worsened, and now at 49, I have ZERO cartilage remaining in either knee. When I go up an incline or decline my patella rubs against my femur. Sound painful? Imagine tiny hammers hitting underneath your knee cap. Oy. Anyway, in November I had knee surgery by a renown orthopedic surgeon. His idea was to slice off about one-fourth of my knee cap, the part that rubbed against my femur, in my left knee (it’s the big thing in Europe, I was told). Great idea that didn’t work. In fact it’s made my pain worse. Then, after the surgery, there was Thanksgiving. I can eat whatever I want. Life is going to be better. Then Christmas. Knee is not better, but I just need more time. I can eat all my kids’ candy. Valentines. It’s just one bag of peanut butter M&Ms, right? And then Girl Scout cookie time… Okay. Enough. I can’t relive it.

    My weight went up about 12 pounds, and I couldn’t lose it. I had a book to write, so no time. I told myself I’d exercise when I finish writing in July or August, right? I had a bad week in March at my day job, and I felt bad every night. Turns out my blood pressure was out of control along with my weight. Did I do anything about it? Nope. I kept eating .

    The final straw was when I couldn’t button my work pants. Okay, I could button them, but only after I sucked in my gut. Yes. My GUT. I had a problem, and I was worried. It took the fact that I couldn’t comfortably wear my clothes to make me do anything about it. So much vanity. So, now I’m in my fifth week of a boot camp and going to the gym a couple extra times a week. I ran/walked/limped a 5K this weekend. My knees hate it, and they hurt, but that’s life. I’ve lost only four of the twelve pounds, but I’m committed, and I feel better. I’m in moderation mode, for the mot part (the M&Ms got me this weekend though).

    So here’s my work around. I tell myself if I go to the gym and walk four miles on the treadmill, I can stop at Dairy Queen and have a milkshake… That’s why I’ve only lost 4 pounds. I have no self-control, but I am trying. I did resist donuts this weekend, and yesterday rather than two hot dogs, I only ate one. I’m trying to be obsessive about being healthy, so I can enjoy an occasional Hershey Kiss without guilt. I want to live until I’m 100 years old. I have a lot of stories to write.

    I didn’t mean to go on, but wanted you to know many of us have certain self-control issues. I have no wisdom how to beat it. I’m struggling in my own battle. But I will be supportive for you. I will cheer you on.


    • willow says:

      Thank you so much for your amazing response. It’s nice to hear someone else’s story. That knee thing sounds AWFUL. My dad had that problem, too (Triple-jumper, high school through college), and he had to get both his knee caps replaced. 🙁

      I guess the struggle for self-mastery is just one of those human things that we’re here to try to accomplish. I mean, we could just continually give in to the most animal instincts all the time: Eat. Screw. Sleep. Kill. I think that would make life really meaningless. I think the fact that we ARE struggling means that we are, somehow, attempting to find meaning and purpose in our existence. And, it is the struggle that teaches. For me, I am totally aware that this is some kind of hurdle. I need to clear this one so that I can be ready for the next one, which is probably a lot higher and has more far-reaching consequences.

      It’s super-cool that you are working on it, too. If you ever get the urge to sit down and eat a box of Girl Scout cookies, you can always call me. I am more than happy to lovingly slap them out of your hand. 🙂 (and possibly eat a few)

  3. Callie says:

    You are brave friend, I admire you! Much like Jo, I want to tell you to come back and that we’ll just monitor your use by yelling at you to get back to your life a few times a day…although that may be a little like the inmates running the asylum. I think it’s amazing that yore attempting something so many of us (who are as addicted as you were) cannot. Do what is best for you, I’ll be waiting for your new stories either way 😉

  4. What about just restricting your amount of Internet time daily? (But during the Internet time, you can do whatever you want.) Just a suggestion. Good luck, Willow! <3

    • willow says:

      Great idea! I have tried that in the past, to little avail. I think I will continue my discontinuation for a while longer. I still have 20 days before my account officially dissolves into Twitter dust. I’m doing a lot of soul-searching in the meantime. Hopefully I can learn to manage myself, perhaps by taking notes on people who are doing it well? 🙂

  5. C.J. Sellers says:

    Think of it as a physical addiction, not to twitter but to the fun and sense of validation you had on it. You’ve given yourself a firm time-out. Stick with it. One month from twitter will give your body time to chill out. After that, don’t avoid twitter, remember: avoid having too much fun. Fun is addictive! hee
    Oh fuck it, c’mon back to twitter, biatch. /jk

    • willow says:

      I want you to know that you set off my website’s “naughty word” sensors. Just FYI, there is nothing more fun than setting up the naughty word sensors on a website. I came up with the most AMAZING swear words in the universe. I’ll have to send you that list some day and we can just cuss ourselves blue in the most creative ways imaginable.

      Also, thanks for reminding me. A time out is good. A time out is good. A time out is good…

  6. Joanne Blaikie says:

    Coming from the other side, the woman whose mantra is ‘everything in moderation’ I want to be the devil on your shoulder and say come back to twitter but limit yourself. However you’re not me, you’re you but if you are replacing one with something else then that’s hard on you. Having gone without a car or laptop for 4 days now I’m going slightly crazy. The cool thing for me is social media drives me equally insane as it does happy. people irritate and delight me in equal measure. So I have no problem putting it away for a while and having a breather. Also remember we only APPEAR cool. Remember the things you said in day one. We’re not all that. Keep fighting. It’s early days yet.

    • willow says:

      Whatever. You ARE all that. But, I do need to keep myself focused. As long as I can learn a little self-discipline, I’m on the right track. I really think I can do it, and this Twitter-thing might be the impetus I need to learn this lesson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *