New Year’s Eve

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

I’m trying to figure out how fat I’m willing to be. Pretty fat, I think. The problem is that buying new clothes under any circumstances is a loathsome chore. (I used to like it—what happened?) And shopping for fatter clothes just seems intolerable. I’d rather diet. Horrible word. It reminds me of parent, another noun that should have stayed that way. Instead, they both turned into verbs and ruined everybody’s lives. Dieting and parenting. How grim can you get?

Looking that over, I see how unhopeful it sounds. And I started this year by writing, “Of course I adore resolutions. They’re so hopeful.” Anyway, back to my fat. I’ve been writing about it a bit, but not including it in this online diary because it seems so boring and unfeminist. I totally believe in Fat Power! Woman Power! Butt Power! And yet…

Anyway, on December 18 I wrote: I know it’s unseemly to write about my fat, but there it is. I’m forty-seven and putting on weight at roughly the same rate as during early pregnancy. My butt is like a special effect. It’s like HeLa.

Also this: Enzo measured my girth. (His new fish book gives length, weight and girth of record-breaking fish.) I sucked in my stomach and lifted up my robe and pajama top. Cold measuring tape on skin. Thirty inches. “Next, your butt-girth.” He measured around my butt, this time over pajamas and robe (why even try?). “You’re literally four inches away from a four-foot butt-girth.”

To get that story out, I had to break my attempted new policy of not putting Enzo stuff online. Fuck it, it’s my life too.

I see I haven’t arrived at any resolutions yet. All right. I resolve to get up early every morning so I can get some work done. Early means five at the latest. It’s my only hope.

I resolve at some point this year to take some days off work and read my lawyer crime books all at once and figure out what to do with them. I can’t take time off for the next few months, but I hope I don’t forget this one. I made brownies for a snow trip tomorrow, and it made me think of a scene I wrote of two women sitting around eating the long trimmed-off edge pieces from a tray of brownies and talking shit about a judge who wouldn’t dismiss some light rail tickets. It seems sad to abandon them.

And what if I dump my law books and devote myself to my diary, my record, my dear? That’s probably the best plan. But if Enzo really doesn’t want me writing about him—even privately—what am I supposed to do with that?

I understand why he doesn’t like it. Even straight reporting has a feeling of ownership. As Hemingway said, You belong to me now, and I belong to this pencil.