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  • Lijing Cobb

The magic of self-control

Following the list of “items not to eat” I drew up yesterday, I had a very simple day as far as my food consumption was concerned: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For the first time in a long time, by the time I went to bed I did not hate myself.

My boy is still on his diet. His weight has stabilized, but we are reinforcing his new eating habits. Yesterday we went to a restaurant, and he ordered his favorite, Mac and cheese. A whole plate of carbohydrates. I told him to eat slowly, so he slowed down his pace. Surrounding him there were fries on everyone else’s plate, and he whined he really wanted one. He ended up having two. At the end of our dinner the kids got ice cream as part of their meal. Instead of sitting there to watch the others eat, my son and I simply left the restaurants. The dieters stick together!


On the radio I heard about Will Smith hitting Chris Rock because the latter made a joke about the former’s wife’s medical condition. Jada’s suffering from alopecia and all her hair’s fallen out, and Chris Rock chose to poke fun at that. The indignant star walks onto the stage where Chris Rock is hosting and slaps him in the face.


There is no escaping this news. I’m sure by now even the person living under the rock knows about it. The drama in that scene can be analyzed to death (and I’m sure it is). I’m also sure that the drama of the exact same caliber is being replayed, has been played, and will be played, countless times by others. The only difference is that this otherwise really common phenomenon has been played out between two celebrities on one of the most anticipated nights in the world: the Oscars. The scandal. The gossip. The back stories.


I think all it was was that one man went a little too far and the other man lost his self-control. If only he had been able to maintain self-control, the energy that has been put into discussing it further could have been used for other purposes. If the actor went so far as to donate all his money to the research for alopecia, the gossip could have been more productive. As is, it was a shame. Something regrettable. An opportunity missed.


For two days in a row my 10yo got up in the morning and told me to stay put, and continue writing. “Mom, you should spend time on your blog. It’s important to you. I can get my lunch together myself. I’ll ask you if I have questions!” Perhaps I’m being a bit too willing to stand up from my desk to help her these days? Perhaps I’m getting a little jaded about this relentless examination of my own life and just want to get on with a little bit more ease? Perhaps she’s trying to tell me to continue to pour more of myself into it because it is worth it? I often imagine how she sees me when she wakes up at 6am, walking out of her door to come to my chair, as I am either writing in my journal or typing on the computer. Is it an image of comfort and reassurance? Does seeing me at my desk stringing words together make her feel good in some way?


Perhaps having self-control is knowing who we are and what we want to do with our lives. Without such knowledge, we have no self to control. Perhaps my daughter intuitively knows that writing is my way of seeking for my true self, and with that, I can then be a more calming and nurturing presence for them, always reflecting on the choices I make, even in the process of making the bad ones.

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