horror joy of Christmas has passed–the tree I tortured and starved to the point of kindling, the stacks of stuff cluttering our living room which were transferred upstairs to now clutter my kids’ bedrooms, the massive quantities of sweets I lovingly baked, ingested then cursed and swore to never touch again, as I lay spread-eagle on my bed, begging someone to have mercy and knock me out (because apparently I really do, as a matter of course, eat small, mostly-healthy meals in my day-to-day, and when I forget this and consume six slices of Hershey Bar Pound Cake in under an hour, my body becomes seriously pissed off and tries to kill me from the inside out)–then comes the New Year.
(And, yes, that might be the longest sentence I’ve ever written. Plus, there was a parenthetical phrase within another subordinate something-or-other and a plethora of commas. Do I get a grammar trophy? Or a piece of cake?)
But back to the New Year. The strangely foreboding-sounding 2013. How alien it feels rolling off the tongue, just like every new year always does. It’s a year full of possibilities, new starts and fine, sparkling opportunities. And, let’s be real, probably more of the same exact crap we all dealt with last year.
Some people do the resolution thing. Other people boycott resolutions and speak of them with the same venom they reserve for the left-wing liberal media and partially-, mostly-, or totally-hydrogenated oils. I’m not against resolutions myself, in fact, I’m very big on them. I make them on a daily basis, and they just tend to take more of a negative form. To wit:
(minutes after eating six slices of Hershey Bar Pound Cake) “As God is my witness, I will never do that again!”
(minutes after taking a spin class) “As God is my witness, I will never do that again!”
(minutes after seeing a picture of myself wearing that adorable, shapeless baby-doll dress I bought because the tall, emaciated Gwyneth Paltrow wears that style all the time and looks amazing) Well…you get the picture.
This year I entertained the idea of making a couple of resolutions. And, as always, I maintained an open mind, keeping my ears open for any good ideas. Many of them centered around losing weight and eating healthier. Here are a few of the ideas I heard floating around out in the culturesphere:
Breathe your way thin.
Where do I begin with this one? Are they saying I’m supposed to breathe instead of eat? Because last time I checked I have been doing both easily and simultaneously since I was born. One does not preclude the other. I don’t really get it.
Okay, I get it, my yogi friends, I’m just being difficult. I know, I know, I’m supposed to meditate and BREATHE when I’m stressed instead of stuffing McDonald’s fries into my mouth. And to that I say…never gonna happen. I’ve meditated. I’ve even done it successfully, I think, where I felt calm and serene afterward. And subsequently celebrated with a satisfying, and thin-cancelling lunch of BBQ and cobbler. Eating and breathing together is just so much more fun than just plain ol’ breathing.
Eat from a place of empowerment.
You mean like, “Hey, cheesecake, come at me, bro. I’m smarter, stronger and I make more money. You’re my bitch, cheesecake. I don’t want you. Look at you just posing there on my plate, cheesecake, fronting. (I talk suburban-white-boy-psueudo-thug slang to my desserts.) Stop looking at me that way. You have no power over me. You’re nothing but a big, creamy…”
(sound of chewing and lip-smacking)
And, finally, my all-time favorite….
Create your own brand.
The person espousing this particular resolution went on to advise you to select three or four words that identify your brand and subtly drop them into conversations with people throughout the year. For instance, Kim Kardashian’s words might be something like Baby! Kanye! White Lipstick! She warned listeners not to deviate from those words or people might get confused as to what your brand really is. Which I can only assume would be tragic.
Well. Can you say aha moment? When I heard this it all became clear to me. I suddenly understood my problem all these years–the reason I’ve never soared with the eagles, so to speak, like all those other people with brands. The realization was chilling. All these years I was just assuming I could amble through life, just being myself. Making things up as I went along. Improvising.
No, no, no, no!
I need to BRAND MYSELF. And pronto. Before all the good brands are taken. Which is, as you know, what always happens. The early bird gets the brand.
But what should my brand be?
I decided to look to the latest example of successful branding: Honey Boo Boo.
Now, this is just my opinion, but I know TLC (on which the show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” airs) knows good and well they’ve got the goose who laid the golden egg and HBB is a brilliant, white-hot brand. I’m also pretty sure Mr. and Mrs. HBB know they are a brand (’cause stupid is as stupid does, and, let’s face it, who has their own TV show, Mr. and Mrs. HBB or you?).
Honey Boo Boo herself may be super-savvy, but I’m betting she has no idea that she’s a brand. And yet, I maintain she’s got the greatest, most mind-blowing brand around. And no, it’s not PAGEANTS! IGNORANCE! PIGS POOPING ON THE BREAKFAST TABLE! like you might be thinking.
In the recent episode I watched–with my mouth actually, physically hanging open–HBB entered a pageant in some remote part of rural Georgia, hoping for the top prize, the coveted Grand Supreme. This particular pageant had what looked like a handful of girls in it who were daintier, more petite, and probably prettier than HBB (although it was hard to tell underneath all that makeup and wigs). But did that stop her? No sir. HBB amped herself up, racing around, screaming about bringing her A game and belly bumping with her mom. And while she did not, in fact, win the Grand Supreme, she did snag the People’s Choice and got to kiss her estranged pet pig at the end of the day.
And it occurred to me–the girl is happy. And that, my friends, is her brand. Not because she strategized and concocted it and uses words to reinforce the delicate illusion. It’s because she’s ACTUALLY HAPPY. It doesn’t matter what she does or what’s happening around her, if it’s a sweaty, gnat-infested fireworks show or mud-wrestling or a tickle fight with family members who could literally crush her or a dinky pageant that she doesn’t win, it’s THE BEST DAY EVER. If she’s feeling a little bit chunky in her swimsuit, does she cry and hide in the corner and whine about body image issues? No. She runs around the room screaming about how much she loves her blue swimsuit because it makes her look like a giant blueberry. (Which, I’ll admit, if I thought I looked like a giant blueberry I would probably cry, but–hello–it’s a GOOD thing to her, which just proves it’s all about perspective).
Honey Boo Boo has the Kardashians and Cowell and Beiber and Swift and the Housewives beat, all of them, because she snagged the very best brand. The one that makes people unable to tear their eyes off the screen. That keeps them coming back for more. The most enviable brand of all. Happiness.
Those are Honey Boo Boo’s identifying words: HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY! Just watch for yourself, you’ll see.
Looks like a resolution to me.