How I Thrive & How It Consumes Me

I love food. I enjoy being in the kitchen. I enjoy meal planning and coming up with how food fits together for me to feel whole. I would spend most of my day in the kitchen looking through the cupboards if I could – even if they’re mostly bare. Funny enough, I don’t make the best meals or exclaim that I’m a great cook. What inspires me is using what I have…and sometimes (a lot of times) it’s just a so-so meal. BUT I take pleasure in knowing that I’m not wasting food, that I’m being resourceful, and that I am being creative in using what I have to nourish myself.

During this pandemic I primarily relied on my significant other to prepare meals. One, he’s an amazing cook and I prefer his meals over any prepared or delivery options. Two, I was scared that my cooking wouldn’t be good enough. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life cooking for one, I know that I’m not a great cook, and I don’t really have the mental space to dedicate to high quality techniques. It just doesn’t inspire me…but I love to eat it.

So we started doing one of the meal delivery services in order to have meals on hand with easy preparation and less decision making. That definitely didn’t inspire me. When there are a ton of ingredients and timed cooking, I get stressed. When a recipe says it’ll take 30 minutes, it takes me an hour. I just continuously feel inept at providing. Experience doesn’t help. The only thing that would help me feel better in these circumstances was learning new knife techniques or shortcuts. The specific directions just stress me out. I don’t like eating the same thing all the time, so I was always in need of referencing directions. When the stove is on I get nervous that I’m going to burn the pan, burn the food, burn the house down – so I feel frantic and rushed. I don’t enjoy it.

Fast forward, I’m on my own again. Again. I don’t have someone cooking amazing meals for me. I know that I rummage cupboards. I know that I feel better when I have fresh foods on hand, otherwise all I eat is carbs. I love carbs. So I received my first box this week of one of the grocery services that operate off of reducing food waste. No recipes. Food that would have been discarded. Right up my alley. I’m meal planning to cook larger portions on my days off so that I can have left-overs on my busy days. I’m cooking items that can be easily combined with others so that I don’t get bored with what I’m eating. I’m inspired again. Again.

So how does this consume me? I find that my biggest roadblock is in romantic relationships. I didn’t have the best roadmap to a healthy relationship growing up, so I’m having to piece things together as to what a healthy intimate relationship looks like. My therapist references that my nurturing personality attracts those that need nurturing, or that I’m looking to fix people. Personally, I don’t have the energy to fix someone. I have random strangers approach me because “I look like that type of person.” A stranger has literally said that to me. I do, however, like the idea of having a partner where we can support each other with our insecurities. Isn’t that what we all want? Someone that we can pour our hearts out to with all of our imperfections, and that they still want to be there to hold our hand and love us?

Am I rummaging in the cupboards for my partner? I don’t want a ready-made person that is so perfect that my insecurities kick in. I like rough edges, and someone that I can be truly lazy with without feeling like I have to have makeup on all of the time. I like having elements that fit together without a preconceived plan of who my ideal partner is. Is that where I’m falling victim? I don’t have that plan of who I am searching for. I only have elements, and I’m not quite sure how they fit together. I’m also reluctant to want to make that plan. I enjoy having room for improvisation, for imperfection, for forgiveness of self (yours and mine). What I do want is someone that knows how to be on their own. Someone that is comfortable with themselves so that we can come together as a team to support each other in our separate but unified journeys.

I guess that’s the key that’s been missing. A lot of times people can appear to be comfortable and secure with themselves on the outside, but as you peel back the layers you realize that they aren’t so they won’t allow you to get close enough to allow themselves to lean on you. It’s okay to lean on me. I won’t bite, I promise. But if you’re an amazing cook, I will definitely eat your meals. Just know that my cooking won’t be nearly as good, but it makes me happy to rummage.

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