I Google-imaged “The Will to Believe” and this is what popped up. Clearly someone else out there has had an encounter with Mr. James similar to my own. HOWEVER, that is not the point. The point is a lingering redefinition from last week that I found hiding on the back of another page in my notebook: the will to believe. Since that is the official title of this blog, and because I have regretted naming it that ever since I clicked the button above the big flashing banner informing me that once I clicked, I could never change my web address. What can I say? I was trying to be cutesy, since we’re dealing with a Will, and that was the title of……oh, nevermind.
But Guest Prof’s redefinition of “the will to believe” was even more striking to me than some of the things I mentioned in my last post. Here’s what I have written down:
the will to believe = acknowledging/valuing/learning to risk acting out of an inner potential to create by action new things/alternatives
Isn’t that exactly what I’ve been trying to do here? This redefinition gives me new confidence in my initial choice of blog titles and actually sort of clarifies for me exactly what my original purpose in giving up Pringles was. And that’s how, even though I’ve slipped a few times and it’s only been a month, I feel like I’ve come full circle with this experiment.
Not that I’m quitting! Stay tuned!
So in the most recent meeting of my James class, we had a really interesting discussion with a guest professor that helped bring me back to the point of this blog and my Pringles experiment (a good thing, since I have really fallen off that bandwagon I was talking about earlier). Our guest prof redefined some of James’ terms in a really clarifying way: habit as any action which one takes without thinking about it or without needing complete justification for it. I think I’ve been struggling with the meaning of habit and whether I’m facing a habit or an addiction, and this redefinition helped me see my habit for what it truly is: something completely unconscious. Which I think explained to me the incident when I lost control over my actions and the habit took over.
Guest Prof and I had a funny moment when the class discussion turned to habit. I mentioned that I had a habit problem with Pringles, and before he had a moment of recognition, he asked me, “Who?” But then he told me that by trying to break my habit, I was thinking about it, and thus it was no longer a Jamesian-defined habit.
Mission accomplished, right? Too bad i still can’t stop eating them.
All along, I thought I was battling temptation. I thought I was staring Pringles in the face and sticking to my resolution. Little did I know, I had yet to face true temptation, yet to battle a real craving. Now I really know what it would be like to be a drug addict. I was just lying peacefully in my bed thinking about maybe taking a nap on Friday morning after my only class of the day had ended when it hit me. Something took over my body, and I got up and put on my shoes, knowing full well that I was heading for the bookstore to grab a can of forbidden Pringles and that I would inhale the whole tube before lunchtime.
I knew I wasn’t supposed to do this. But somehow, I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t. As it turns out, I wasn’t happy that I did, either, once it was all over. But that’s almost beside the point, which is that I could not control myself. Good old Willy-boy’s principles of habit are all well and good, but they depend on a modicum of self-control, which was something I completely lost sight of in my moment of temptation. I was not myself, which is terrifying.
I told myself when I set out on this project that, even though Mr. James thinks one break from the new habit is ruin, I would not be too hard on myself or give up because of one mistake. I’ll just have to learn how to deal with those more intense cravings.
Overall, this Pringles thing is going well. I’ve even gone running the last three days in a row, which is basically unheard of for me. I think changing this one habit has opened the door to a lot of new habits and patterns that are better for me. So that’s the good news.
Yesterday after lunch, my friend needed a book from the bookstore. I was headed that way, so I stopped in with her. I was innocently flipping through the new Glamour when I realized in horror that the Pringles were right behind me. I dropped the magazine and hurried out, texting my friend from outside to say sorry before running off to class.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I was basically planning to go back after class and screw this whole thing, but then I got a text from my best friend, who lives next door to me.
r u in ur room? want some arab dip?
This was intriguing. What is arab dip? Anyone? Bueller? So I asked.
oops. meant crab dip. sorry, t9.
For those of you who don’t know, T9 is the predictive text mechanism in cell phones that inserts the word it thinks you are going to use. Arab dip? Really? Isn’t crab a more common type?
Regardless, I went over to her room afterwards and had some dip and a popsicle, saving me for another day.
We’ve all found ourselves longing for WaWa at 2 AM at least once in our lives, right? Well this Saturday night my friends and I were desperate, so after a long 45 min search for a driver, we piled into the car and headed over. While I was standing around waiting on my sandwich, I spotted the Pringles. I was in a weakened state and had the munchies, so I knew I had to act fast. As I grabbed a bag of barbecue chips and headed for the cash register, my best friend said, “You’ve already had a whole bag of chips today. Just so you know.” Yes, dear friend, thank you. I have already eaten an entire bag of Doritos, because life without Pringles is just not that easy.
I didn’t put the barbecue chips back.
I did, however, take another friend up on her challenge to go running on Sunday afternoon:
“Wait….” she said, “I didn’t think you would say yes…”
“So, you were just going to blame the fact that you didn’t exercise on me when you really didn’t want to go in the first place?” I asked her.
“Umm…yes?” Good to know I’m THAT friend. So run we did, three laps around the park. I almost died, and I think I left a little piece of my soul out there on the pathway. But it sure felt good afterwards. And we missed dinner, so we had to go out to eat, of course, and that put us at 9 PM before I even thought about starting my homework.
It’s been a lovely weekend indeed.
First things first: I’m still Pringle-free. I’ve had some interesting moments this week, ranging from a feeling of moral superiority while standing in line holding a chocolate bar behind a girl with a familiar green aluminum can to just really really wanting some damn Pringles. Ultimately, I’m glad I’m doing this. When I tackle my homework on Sunday, I’ll let you know what dear William would think. Now, I’m headed into the city to celebrate acing my French quiz this morning.
There’s something I haven’t told you: I really love bacon. Like, I can’t even begin to express how much I love bacon. So imagine my surprise when I opened my email this morning to find a note from my (extremely well-meaning) mother with a link to an MSN Health article comparing bacon (and indirectly, Pringles) to cocaine. Apparently they studied rats, and the effects are similar. You should read the article, it’s fascinating:
I knew Pringles were addictive! I’m even more determined to kick this habit, now. In the spirit of healthier eating, I had a nice spinach salad with chicken and tomatoes, some carrots, and a banana for dinner.
An hour later, I was starving and had a large piece of chocolate cake. Win some, lose some.