There’s never been much that I’m confident I’m good at… until about six years ago when my first husband left me. I came from a family of horrible cooks. Nothing ever had any flavor, and everything was burnt and dry. But Nick could cook! I spent two years watching him and trying to mimic him, but it seemed like every time I tried to cook a meal he would come in to “help” and next thing I knew I was watching him perform is magic from afar. But I did learn a lot from watching. Prior to meeting him I didn’t know of any seasonings aside from salt and pepper (and ketchup, which unfortunately was a necessary seasoning in my home growing up). By the time he decided to end our marriage I knew a lot more than I did going in. So I guess you could say that between the skills I acquired, the daughter we made, and the dresser I got out of the divorce it was all worth it. I spent the next several years experimenting with different herbs, spices and ingredients and in the end I was sure of one thing about myself: I was a dang good cook! That was my very first beautiful, glimmering piece of self-identity. Learning this about myself helped me to overcome social anxiety in a big way. I LOVED showing off my skills, especially my dessert making skills. I was happiest when my house was full of people to feed. I felt like I had a place in the world and a reason to feel worthy to be in the presence of others, and for the first time in my life I HAD FRIENDS!
You can imagine the emotional struggle I encountered when I realized I needed to go raw. In a big way a part of myself that I loved died. I mourned a loss. A person cannot cook well without tasting, and now I cannot taste. I used to get a feeling of excitement when my husband would announce that someone would be coming for dinner, now its more of a feeling of dread. Not only because I don’t know what to make, but because I will have to cook something, which means I will have to smell it, and fight with the kids over not eating it, and worst of all, there’s the ever present tension and arguing between my husband and myself.
When I first went raw and was mourning my identity loss, I didn’t know that there were books full of raw recipes. When I did discover this I was full of hope and excitement, SURLY my skills with food could carry over from cooked to raw once I figured out what I was doing. I do still believe that I am good with food, but after many hours spent searching recipes online, after checking out every book the library has on raw food, after borrowing recipe books from a friend, and after spending much money on food only to throw it away, I’m really losing hope that there are any raw foods that are actually edible! At this point, there’s not much more irritating to me than people raving about how delicious raw food is, and how they can make raw versions of dishes that taste even better than cooked. There must be something VERY wrong with my taste buds! Which isn’t surprising, really, I’ve always had a “specific” palate. One thing that has been nice is the all-you-can-eat fruit buffet in my kitchen, but the winter selection is quite wearing.
I miss feeding people. I miss pleasing my husband. I miss having that purpose. I miss the harmony in our home. But I don’t miss the over 60 pounds that I’ve lost, or my size 18 jeans. I don’t miss my daughter having stomach aches everyday and feeling like there’s nothing I can do for her and worrying that something is very seriously wrong. I don’t miss having panic attacks or feeling nauseated all of the time. I also don’t miss scrubbing so many pans, or grease splatters around the stove top every day. And I DO NOT miss craving sugar all of the time and feeling like a prisoner in my own skin.
So after all this loss, what did I find? I feel like I’m slowly stripping away layers of an artificial me. I’m beginning to see who I am, who I’ve always been underneath it all, and who I am becoming. I’m reconnecting with my child-self. I’m healing past wounds. I’m reconnecting with nature and finding peace in daily life. I’m learning to love all of God’s creations, and am seeing the word through different, clearer, eyes. I’m seeing myself differently. I’m seeing myself and a “seeker” rather than a failure. I’m becoming a more positive thinker, and by so doing, creating more positive feelings and events in my life.
Now, if I could ONLY find a handful of delicious recipes so we can eat something other than salad with cooked dressing, and if only my husband would allow me to make raw food for guests!