There is an old adage, something about the cobbler’s children not having any shoes. I am feeling this acutely. I cook at school, I cook at work, I read about cooking, think about it all the time and more often than not we have Chinese take out or pizza at home because when I am home I am too exhausted to even think about cooking.
It’s been better lately. I made soup on Thursday and I did a big grocery store run to stock the larder. Keifel made dinner one night last week. We all eat breakfast at home (if I eat breakfast) and I generally eat lunch at home unless I am at work and then I don’t eat anything. Julian takes his lunch. It’s dinner, that most important of meals, that seems to be the sticking point. At least I think it’s the most important of meals from a social standpoint. It’s when families and friends have a chance to reconnect over a communal repast. It’s a kind of social glue. Sadly, in this country at least, a nightly dinner with everyone at table seems to be going the way of the dodo. I don’t want the same to be said of my house.
Again, all this insanity reminds me what I really want out of this odyssey. I seem to have to remind myself of it every day. I don’t want to work in a restaurant. I don’t want a job where someone else is setting the hours I must work. I need to have that control and there are ways for me to do the things I love — writing and cooking — and make money on my own schedule. I just have to get through this semester and the next and the summer and I am done with the school part and can really begin to think on how all of this has to come together and what I need to do to kick myself in the pants. The level of exhaustion that I am currently experiencing doesn’t translate into a driving ambition at the moment. It does feed the self doubt to the point that it is fat and happy and sitting on my shoulders like mine own private (fat) monkey.
Despite my hyper self criticism and doubt, I do slog through and get up each morning and face the imagined peril. Keifel is almost entirely responsible for that. He’s supportive without being a cheerleader. He tells me when I am being silly and overreacting and he tells me when he’s proud of something I have accomplished. He is also trying to convince me that I will someday be able to support him in the manner to which he intends to become accustomed. I know that he believes in me and on the very dark days when I am too tired to function, that is the reason I put the jacket on and march off to gas fires of the hotel grill.
I never thought that school, or not at least culinary school, would make me wax so philosophical about my life or make me examine so closely what it is I really want out of this life. It has and does. And what I keep circling back on is the fact that I seem to have tied up my sense of self worth somewhere along the way with making people happy and the best way I know to make someone happy is to feed them well. (Obviously there are others… I’m married after all… but we’re talking big picture here.) I do seek that validation that comes when I put a plate in front of someone and they make that sound, that “Mmmmm, oh god this is good” sound. That, more than just about anything else, validates my existence. In my ruminating I haven’t quite decided if that’s sad or not.