To me, one of the best feelings in the world is presenting someone with something I've cooked and seeing their face light up as they taste it. It is, perhaps, one of the primary reasons I do what I do. Because even though I truly have a genuine love for food and cooking, the validation I receive in that moment is far more delicious than whatever I'm serving.
Recently, I have identified this as kind of a problem for me.
There is no question in my mind that I'm a people-pleaser--an accommodater. This quality is fairly common in women, particularly those in my age range, and it's always been true of me. It does, of course, extend beyond the kitchen, and into my personal and professional endeavors, and lately, I've been feeling pretty resentful of myself for it. Whether I'm on a date, smiling silently as my companion goes on and on about himself without asking me a single question, or agreeing to pick up a casual acquaintance at the airport when I really have better things to do, a knot begins to form in the pit of my stomach and a tiny voice in the back of my head scolds, "You shouldn't be doing this."
There is so much emphasis in this society on girls and women being "nice," because we're all so aware of what we'll be perceived as if we aren't nice: the "b" word, the "c" word--nothing anyone I know wants to be called. Beyond that, telling the truth about feelings is pretty scary, because there's always the chance that a true declaration can result in rejection. So when you think about it, being "nice" is a lot easier than being honest--at least on the surface.
It's been over four months since I started this blog, and I am thinking that it might be my way of beginning to tell my personal truth. If you've been following it for a while, you may have noticed that, even though I always connect my entries to food, the subject matter has shifted to more interpersonal matters--sort of like my very own soap box. (Plus, it's nice to be able to log in and edit a sentence or two if I decide I don't like the way it sounds. That's hard to do when you're trying to tell the truth about your feelings in person.) But regardless, when I click "publish," it's out there for the world to see, and I have to tolerate any judgement anyone might have, and not apologize for any of it.
My mother recently told me about a dream she had in which she confronted me about this very topic, saying to me, "Gabi, you have to start telling the truth." In her dream, I looked at her with fire in my eyes and replied, "OK. I hate your haircut."
And therein lies my new goal. To respectfully and kindly begin to let people know when I hate (or just strongly dislike) their proverbial haircuts.
Brace yourselves. I know I am.