I was rummaging around in the fridge for another dose of cream to go in another cup of coffee when the red orb registered through the foggy vegetable-tray: apple. I hadn’t eaten an apple yet. I fished one out of the bin and…
Back up: One of the side effects of how we run the household chez Soques is that, when My Sweetie travels, my meals become a subject of concern. If you strip away the gender stereotypes, you can see the “I have to freeze a week of meals so they don’t starve to death” trope blossoming forth. It’s not only my twenty-year non-participation in meal-making. It’s also my objectively abysmal eating habits when I was single…it’s easy to have high triglyceride levels when all you eat is Brie, crackers, and cornflakes. (With coffee!) I am notorious for focusing so deeply that I don’t remember to refuel until I have a headache—at which point I’m too hungry to be willing to spend more than three minutes in meal prep. Hence the Brie and crackers routine. Or, lately, guacamole and tortilla chips, with a side of lunch meat for protein.
But for whatever reason, when preparing for this trip of his I planned my week’s solo eating in the rhythm My Sweetie uses. There should be two, maybe three, new-made dinners. There should be fish. There should be leftovers, to strategically deploy on the other nights. And I wove these plans into my tried-and-true technique repertoire, to better maximize my success.
And lo, dinner worked. Baked fish with vegetables and herbs for one; a 9″ broccoli-cheese quiche, which would feed me for 4 days. Still, it isn’t the raw fact of cooking that has me looking quizzically at myself; after all, I get quite defensive and will tell all and sundry that I can cook, I simply choose not to. What has me bemused is why I’m cooking this time, why I’m happily cooking these things,
why I ate an apple each morning for breakfast this week.
Back up again: My Sweetie spreads his mantle of love and care over his household in part by feeding us. Part of “feeding us” is ensuring we eat in a well-balanced way, and part of that insurance includes a bowl of fruit salad every morning. (We Austin-based Soques women are “if you drop it in front of us, we will probably eat it” people.) However, if My Sweetie is not here, no bowl of fruit magically appears…and usually, therefore, I don’t have fruit with breakfast. But not this week-?
During my struggles with depression and anxiety in my late teens, my friend and fellow-sufferer Stephanie introduced me to IALAC. If you did any social-emotional learning activities in the 70s and 80s, you may remember it: I Am Lovable and Capable. Stephanie picked up an interesting twist on the original story/activity, however. She taught me to, on the darkest of my dark days, to hold out my hand, tap a finger while saying each word, “I am lovable and capable (pause) BECAUSE,” and then state out loud a person’s name for every finger. Stephanie, Bob, Tracy, Ms. Murar, Grandma Fitz. I could keep going if I wanted to, but I couldn’t stop before I’d reached five. And after having named those names, I had to then live into their care for me. For the rest of the day.
I discovered this week that I’m not preparing—and eating—food simply to avoid accountability discussions. (This is a thing that happens at our house; ask A, or B.) Without noticing that anything shifted, I now want to live into My Sweetie’s care for me. Which, oh yeah, includes a quick apple.