You are in for such a treat with this beautifully written post from Kendra of My First Kitchen! I don’t even remember how I first found Kendra’s blog last year, but I have read every post since, both because the recipes are so approachable and because she is a true kindred spirit. She shares a passion for the important stuff—you know, like back-and-forth e-mails discussing LOST episodes, of which we have traded many. Side note: if you are in the North Carolina area, she teaches cooking classes (!), and I envy everyone of you who goes. Kendra, come to Chicago!
I used to take myself way too seriously. Like waaaaay too seriously. I made lists about everything. I made lists about what I should make lists about. I documented how well I did on sticking with my list and berated myself if I didn’t completely follow through. Everything was quantified and justified and rationalized. Then the guilt started.
In all honesty, it’s not terribly calming to live life where you experience some measure of guilt everyday from self-inflicted tasks and self-inflicted consequences. It’s pretty exhausting actually. I got tired of being the drill sergeant to myself… and yelling in my own face proved to be quite difficult. I lived most of my life that way, and it’s a tough habit to break. I didn’t leave myself any room to fail, and anything close to not doing what I arbitrarily intended equaled failure.
The one place where I seemed to allow myself freedom to fail was in my kitchen. When I cook, I can’t go wrong. Sure, I make food that doesn’t taste as good as I had hoped, but I don’t beat myself up over it. I laugh, eat it anyway, and think about the next thing I get to cook. Why do I give myself such freedom with food? For a long time, I didn’t experience that anywhere else, but I knew that was the feeling I wanted to permeate my life.
Cooking is about more than just the food for me. It’s spiritual somehow. It helps my soul rest and gives me freedom to just be me. It’s okay if my waffles burn or my chicken dries out. As long as I’m in the kitchen, everything is okay. There’s freedom in food, and I’m okay if that sounds a little crazy. And as time has gone by, I’ve started to see that same freedom in the list-making areas of my life. I’m not my own drill sergeant anymore… as much, and it’s such a happier place to be.
I hope your soul finds rest in something. Food, music, the outdoors, people… whatever it is, capture those moments and enjoy them. Hopefully you’ll begin to see that freedom in other places, too.