When my sister was visiting over the holidays, she got me back in the habit of using my seasoned cast iron griddle. Because of the unpredictability of various cookware in my past, I usually opted to scramble any eggs I would eat. But a seasoned griddle is capable of beautiful things, like producing perfect eggs over easy with runny yolks that can be sopped up with sourdough toast. You get a tasty meal and an opportunity to use the word sopped, which I find amusing and all around satisfying. This morning, while enjoying the buttery, runny fruits of my griddled breakfast food labors, the rambly thoughts in my head went along a path which resembled something like this:
I wonder how you order this in a restaurant? I always just ordered scrambled or poached. Would you say, “Eggs over easy,” or would you say, “Eggs over easy with wet yolks” – because maybe over easy doesn’t actually mean wet…but maybe it does…but sometimes you think people know what you mean, but they don’t. Younger people in food service might not be as in-the-know as those servers like Flo from Alice who would just give you that half smile, nod, chew their gum a couple times and say, “Comin’ right up, honey.” Lots of people must like eggs runny, so maybe not…but why chance it? If the yolk got cooked too much, that just wouldn’t be what I wanted. Should I go into detail, or is there a special code (a one word answer, maybe) that would make me sound like an old pro at ordering my eggs just the way I want them? If I didn’t use the right code, though, would the server go to the kitchen and tell the cook my order, both of them giving knowing looks to each other about my lame efforts at being a savvy customer? Does the cook roll his or her eyes when someone wants something other than scrambled eggs? “Oh, Jesus, now I have to watch the damn thing so it doesn’t get cooked too much.” Would they cook it dry out of spite? Is that what happens when they cook steak, too? “I’ll have my steak cooked medium” seems to mean something different each time. It’s kind of like women’s clothing sizes. Why isn’t one brand’s S/M/L/XL the same as another’s? Hey, it’s Mom’s birthday today! Happy un-birthday, Mom. I can’t believe it’s been two birthdays now that she’s been gone. Remember how Mom would make it a point to tell every waiter, waitress, and cashier during the last year of her life to “Give my compliments to the chef,” even if it was just standard fare? She would insist that each and every meal was the best she’d ever had. I don’t remember her doing that when I was younger. Was it her dementia that made her forget the fancier foods she’d had over her lifetime? Maybe.
This memory – and the reminder of what day it is – is the first personal thing that I wanted to share since the fall and the long, quiet spell I’ve taken with my blog. I am very much at peace both with my Mom’s passing as well as everything that has happened in my life since then. When I think of her, I’m filled with appreciation and love. There was such a simple beauty in what she was demonstrating with her comment – being present, full of appreciation, and free of resistance and judgement. She really meant it when she said it was the best she’d ever had, and whether or not it was due to memory loss is beside the point; in that moment, she was satisfied and happy.
The break I’ve been taking has been like a meditation retreat of sorts – keeping quiet, listening, not talking much. And it has served me well; by putting my blog on hiatus, leaving Facebook, and reigning in my focus, I’ve begun to exist on a whole different plane than before, having regular moments of awareness and contentment with minimal effort. I’m finally feeling a consistent sense of what it means to say “all is well” – to not require other people to behave differently or circumstances to change before I can feel good. There is a regular, clear sense of certainty within me that I was never able to attain before. Now that I can easily identify the feeling of that place, anything less is dissatisfying because it means I’m not experiencing life as fully and with as much presence as I know I can.
The reason I stopped writing here was simple: I was, by writing in detail about what I was working through, lending momentum to those very things I was looking to overcome. I hadn’t figured out how to share stuff without perpetuating the issue at hand and slowing down the change I so wanted. This may not make sense to most people, as it is common practice to bang around with issues – talk about them, fret over them, strangle them with both hands and beat them to the ground – in order to figure them out. While that is one way to go about it, I believe it’s the hard and slow way, the way I no longer wish to operate. So, while I will not write here as frequently, I’ll be back from time to time to communicate what I have come to appreciate and what is working – I feel that anything less does not serve me well.
I’ll close with a quote from the ending to a particular show on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood (you can view it here). I loved Fred Rogers then, just as I adore him now for the simple, beautiful reminders he shared with all of his viewers, every day:
The things inside you – your thoughts and your feelings – are all yours, and you’re the one to decide if you want to share them with anybody. Your thoughts and your feelings are your own.
You always make it a special day by just your being yourself.
And now, I’m off to do just that. :)