I killed an hour by watching Celebrity Wife Swap. Bristol Palin vs. Melissa Rivers. Melissa eats moose, Bristol fake-produces the Fashion Police. Turns out that watching this was not a complete waste of time because when Bristol Palin meets Joan Rivers, Joan does not recall what jokes she has made at the Palin family’s expense and Bristol flippantly says, “You made fun of my weight,” and Joan scoffs that off as “just business,” and then she said the greatest line in all of television history: “YOU ARE FINE . . . FOR ALASKA.”
That is the best thing I have ever heard. I have made it my new mantra. Every time I look in the mirror and sigh at my fat arms I just say out loud, YOU ARE FINE FOR ALASKA (Alaska, Wisconsin, same, same). I realize that this might be a step shy of a positive affirmation, but close enough, right? Joan Rivers is correct. Am I on the cover of E! or sprawled across a movie screen? Do I live in Boulder? Provence? No. No I do not. I live amongst the Cheeseheads. I live in a place where real half an half is on the table in diners. Puffy winter coats hide most anything here.
This has brought great relief. I have so much more time to think about other things now that a space has opened up in my brain, one that was previously obsessed with cellulite now has time to imagine myself sitting in a small cafe drawing … I am so engrossed in my work that I do not notice that the Avett Brothers have just walked in to buy coffee. Scott Avett sees me and strikes up a conversation about my work. Later, when he is home, he googles me and falls madly in love with my painting and hires me to do the art on his next album. This leads to a ton of other work, publicity, and then some powerful someone stumbles across this blog and they cannot get enough of me and they contact me about creating a sitcom about my life and are wondering if I am interested in being one of the writers, which of course I am. Ultimately, the show is a hit. This leads to an animated cartoon, similar to Charlie and Lola, but better. This leads to more writing, which leads to a movie, which leads to fame and fortune, all while staying in Wisconsin.
Even if none of those things happen, the ten minutes I spend imagining them are so much more fulfilling than ten minutes spent staring at my double chin. Which, as it turns out, is fine in Alaska too.
I am confidant that stumbling across that episode was a beautifully woven piece of fate, designed to help me shift into being a better human. Joan Rivers, of all people, sparked a change in me. I am more than fine, really, I know that I am. Deep in my center there is a knowingness that I am not only fine for Alaska. I am fine for Los Angeles, even. I am amazing. It’s just that away from my center, in the space that lurks up when I see terrible photos of myself or stare into a fitting room mirror . . . that space of doubt and longing, desperation and insanity…I am finding that filling it with the image of Joan and Bristol, sitting on expensive sofas, alleviates the pain and makes me feel, well . . . fine.