To Have No Willpower

To Have No Willpower


To have no willpower is to say to yourself, “Self, don’t do that thing I know you’re thinking about doing.” And then yourself goes, “Shutevz, you’re not my mom! Because if you were then I’d be my own mom, and that’d be weird!” and then goes and does that thing anyway. To have no willpower is to face almost constant defeat, every moment of every day, because on some level you’re probably doing something you told yourself not to do. Literally. Every. Moment. To have no willpower is to perpetually lose battles you didn’t even realize you were fighting until you’ve already lost. Let’s break it down into my top three:

To have no willpower toward food

I like to pretend I have an uncomplicated and completely carefree relationship with food. I have a propensity toward foods that would stay edible even if left out on the counter for a fortnight, while maintaining what most astute observers would refer to as an “angular lanky build, not unlike what you’d produce if you got drunk and angrily slammed a series of Tinker Toys together.”  And by and large that is true; I eat what I like, I quite literally almost always just eat what I like, and am generally okay with it. But I’ll be the first to admit that my arteries are probably gasping for air like so many asthmatic pack-a-day-smokers, and don’t think I don’t know that heart disease runs in my family. It is to never ever be able to shake the presence of one’s mortality.

To have no willpower toward food is to stand proud and chastise anybody who dares judge your eating habits, while simultaneously hoping that someone will just walk up to you and yank the two liter of Mt. Dew right out of your pursed lips, slap you across the face, and scream “NO BUT REALLY THOUGH YOU SHOULD PROBABLY CONSIDER WATER.” To have no willpower toward food is to feel the weight of your weight upon the global food market, and then to replay that feeling on loop. It is to eat a plate of Pizza Rolls (fifteen, always fifteen) and feel as if you just dove head first into a cattle trough full of Pizza Rolls, and having the actual difference between those two matter not at all.

To have no willpower toward boys

“AW HELL NO” is what I wish my motto was; I mean I say it often enough. But in reality, if you’re a boy I like, you’re going to get away with murder upon murder before I start to question my own judgment. Worse yet, if you’re a boy I love, I will mathematically prove the world is flat and that I am in fact my own mother before I even approach considering the possibility of the notion that you might maybe potentially not have my best interests at heart. Here’s how texting goes when you have no willpower toward a boy. I call it “Texting: An Internal Monologue,” by Katie Sisneros.

Text him! TEXT HIM! TEXT HIIIIIIIM! What’s the worst that could happen? Well, here’s the worst that could happen: he could not text you back, and then you’ll sit and wallow in a morbid cesspool of self-doubt for an hour or so. True. Yes. In fact, that outcome has about a 70% likelihood. But you’re gonna do it anyway, and you know why? Because if you don’t, there is a 100% likelihood that you will literally never communicate with him ever ever again, because he will assume your non-communication means that you have either died or moved to Moldavia or married an articulate and well-coifed cardiovascular surgeon, none of which are true, so you’d probably better text him right now. Your future depends on it.

To have no willpower toward boys is to strip that boy of all agency and place it upon your, c’mon let’s admit it, less than balanced shoulders, taking as a given that if you don’t acquiesce in some way then EVERYTHING will be over for EVER AND EVER and YOU’LL NEVER FEEL FEELINGS AGAIN then the HEAT DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE will happen and EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER LOVED WILL BE GONE FOREVER IN A SERIES OF SPECTACULAR SUPERNOVAE AND BLACK HOLES WILL EAT BLACK HOLES AND OH MY GOD IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON HELP ME.

I mean obviously I’m exaggerating, except that I’m not exaggerating even a little bit. That is actually what happens.

To have no willpower toward alcohol

This is a tricky one for two reasons. 1) because you know actual alcoholism is a disease that has absolutely nothing to do with willpower, and it’s not one you have. 2) because it is at once caused by, and contingent upon, the previous two items. Your crappy food consumption is often both blamed on, and perpetuated by, alcohol. Your utter refusal to stand strong and not act like a globby glob of emotion toward Boy A is often both enhanced and justified by alcohol. You drink when you need to say something brave, and you drink because you don’t actually have an ounce of bravery. You drink when something hurt or when, miraculously, something didn’t. You drink when your waitress comes up to the table and asks “anything for you?” even though you had absolutely no plans to do so, but the words “yep, whiskey diet please” just sort of tumble out of your mouth like dominos off a table. There’s no discernible reason or cause. Your lack of willpower simply feels less burdensome when you’ve had one or two.


Do not conflate having no willpower with not being a strong-willed person. You have a goddamned handle on your life, by Jesus, it just so happens you have some triggers. Some triggers that cause you to crumble under the pressure of your id. Because a lack of willpower isn’t actually that; rather, it’s internalizing a potentially dangerous notion, which is that second guessing your instincts usually means correcting them. Therein lies the problem: a lack of willpower is a lack of trust, a lack of trust in the one human on the planet we should be able to trust above all others: ourselves.

It’s also a Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco at a quarter to two in the morning and a text message to Boy B that reads “dude, this taco…” because Boy A didn’t text you back last time, and you’re down to grasping the pinky of your willpower as it dangles precariously over a cliff, seconds from plummeting to the earth. And it’s knowing the previous two paragraphs took forty-five minutes to write, because you found a video on Reddit of a kid playing piano for Billy Joel to “New York State of Mind” and then you ended up YouTubing the entirety of Billy Joel’s repertoire and ended up inexplicably on Keyboard Cat and then you had to watch The Lion King’s “The Circle of Life” because it seemed immediately appropriate and woooah. Whoops. How ‘bout that lack of willpower.

Katie Sisneros