Six years ago I was in a much different place in life. I was a military wife living in Mannheim Germany with my husband on an army base. Six years ago is also when I posted my very first Instagram photo which happened to be a picture of this vegan pumpkin pie. Yes, I was also once a vegetarian. I guess i’ve been just about everything at some point in life. I’ve been a student, a housewife, a vegetarian, a runner, a crossfitter, an omnivore, divorced, a lesbian, a cook, and a man all before the age of thirty.
Through all of these things, cooking was where I found my escape. Especially in those lonely times as an army wife in Germany. I can still appreciate this photo because making food was the only time I felt I had any sort of worth. I made my food with love, and filled it with dreams of better things. I felt it was all I could do to please people in my life… in this moment, my husband.
I have often said that anyone who goes into the food industry has a disease. Some may also call this passion… but the reality is it is a disease to please. No one else in their right mind would work long hours with low pay and most likely no breaks. (unless you smoke). You put your heart, sweat, and soul into the food, and it is all for that first bite. For a cook, it is that first bite that makes it all worth it. The moment when someone takes a bite of your food and a slightly or not so slightly sexual sound escapes from their mouth. A “mouthgasm” they might call it. That is the moment you successfully pleased. It is an addiction really.
I will be honest. Lately I have been feeling burned out with cooking…but seeing pictures like this reminds me how it has always been there for me as an escape in my darkest times. I may not be a chef at a five star restaurant, or a cheftestant on Foodnetwork ( hey but there is still time right? )but it still has the same reward it has always had and that is not only providing an escape, but a way to show love, and a way to connect people from all walks of life. Nothing brings people together quite like food.
It may not be the most glamorous of careers. I will never be rich, I may grow frustrated or burned out, but as long as I can feel like I can contribute a good memory or moment in someones day with a bite of food, I think everything is going to be okay.
The key to happiness is an unachievable pursuit. This is something that has been playing out in my mind for a few weeks now. My life has changed a lot within the past few years, and lately I have been getting a little frustrated with myself. I always seem to be reaching for something. Whether it is something that has to do with me, my job, relationships, or etc… ultimately I am just reaching for happiness. But when will I be happy? Will I ever be happy?
Happiness has no finish line. It is not a race, nor is there a path to it. Happiness is more like the pretty flowers along a path. You have to stop and smell the roses. I am not saying that I am not happy right now. I feel pretty fortunate and blessed for where I am at in my life, but I may always have that need for pursuit. I always have this sense of urgency that tells me that I need to push myself to the next step, or the next path in life. Feeling stagnant makes me a little crazy.
When I think about what it would be like if happiness did have an end… I think of how boring life would be. It is all about the pursuit, and your state of mind. The end of anything is rarely a happy occasion, ( unless it is after a massage, but hey…those are illegal. ) Lets face it, happy endings in movies are not realistic. Life does not just end after you win over the person you love, after you get the dream job you always wanted, or after surviving the apocalypse. We write our own story but we don’t get to decide when to roll the credits. ( let’s not weigh suicide as an option here. )
I am realizing that happiness relies a lot on your state of mind. There is a lot that we can do to help our state of mind, ( like therapy, exercise, relationships, reaching life goals.. etc ) this is to the extent that we can control the feeling of being happy. I feel more at peace letting go of the fact that there is not ONE simple thing that is going to lead me to my permanent state of happiness. Being happy is a lot like exercise. You have to keep up with it and continue to do the work. You can’t just reach your fitness goal and then stop working out. You have to work to maintain it. Nothing good in life comes without work, not even happiness. People who claim to be happy without trying are not truly happy…they are just truly great at lying, or perhaps did too may damn drugs. ( or are currently on drugs ).
I still have a sense of urgency to find my next path in life, but I am feeling more at peace acknowledging the fact that I am not searching for a finish line to happiness. Life is all about the journey, and you only get one. Enjoy.
I had the privilege of leaving work early yesterday. Well, I guess you could say it was less of a privilege and more of a “you are a bad lesbian” reality check. It started snowing around 5pm… only 3 hours into my shift and I chose to leave because I have never driven in the snow before. When it comes to driving and cars… I did not inherit the ability to fix them, or park them. ( I am probably the worst parker you will ever meet ). The only thing I inherited was the ability to look super gay driving my dads truck while wearing my token piece of flannel. The flannel enhances the facade that I could bust out my tool box or jumper cables at any moment and perform my butch fix-it magic. Nope. Unfortunately, I am a fraud. I think my 3 years of being a domestic goddess are to blame.
Truth is, I have run many more miles in the snow than I have driven.
Miles run in the snow = 100+
Miles driven in the snow = 0
I lived in Germany for nine months. Most of those months being winter months. It’s not like I have never seen snow before.
I used to love to run in the snow. There was something about it that was so peaceful. I could step out my front door, off of the military base, and into the German Forest. It was like entering my own Narnia.
When it snowed, the forest was completely silent. All I could hear was my breathing, footsteps, and the loudest of all–my thoughts. It was one of these snowy days that I broke down in the middle of the forest. Leave it to me to save my tears for a time when they would nearly freeze my eyes shut. I fell to my knees and asked God why I was here. Why couldn’t I just be happy, and how was I going to get myself out of Germany let alone a marriage. I was so scared. Thinking about it still gives me goosebumps.
Sometimes when I feel fear creeping up on me, I think back to this day and see how different my life is now and how everything has worked out. I had never been so scared in my life but somehow I made it through. God took care of me, and I survived. I made it home and followed my dreams into culinary school. I forget sometimes that there have been so many things that I have been fearful of but I haven’t yet experienced a time where tackling the fear has brought out more negatives in a situation than good. Where would I be now if I had let my fear stop me? Failure is probably one of my biggest fears, but when I think about it…failure doesn’t really exist as long as you learn from it and pick yourself back up. Like a good friend once told me. “Failure is the best teacher.”