Identity

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Some days one plan after another falls through and you feel that needling voice telling you “no one wants to hang out with you because you are annoying, you aren’t any fun, and all of the cool people are hanging out without you.”

Days like these I forget the times my friends have saved me; the times they have shown up in the middle of the night to feed me or the times they have met me with flowers and vodka.

Days like these I struggle to remember who I am. I forget that I am a passionate, creative, entertaining person who knows how to please taste buds and live in my imagination. Instead of being the person I know I am, I often make cookies from a half-priced bag of chocolate chips I picked up at Safeway and drink stale wine while watching old sitcoms.

Surely I’m not the only one who struggles with this. At least I hope I’m not. If food is one of the strongest areas for community then it is also a region where we feel great isolation. We are often perceived as a nation with crippling health problems, obesity and diabetes high among them. Many deal with continual weight fluctuations as they try the latest fad diets and become obsessed with reality TV shows promising the joy of healthiness.

I have gone through the dark days of isolation. I know how hard it is to come through and make a single good decision — “I will eat a salad before I eat all of these gooey cookies” or, “I will contact yet another friend to ask them over for dinner.”

I have gone through days when the bad decisions are the easiest decisions — “I will eat what is at hand; I won’t prepare anything that takes time, that will taste good, get me moving, or be fun to make.”

But I have also fought against the lethargy to make a good decision even though it’s hard and takes more energy than I feel. I know how rewarding it can be to sit down to something you are proud of creating; enjoying something that you know will both nourish and delight you.

It’s hard to recognize the truth when someone merely says to you, “snap out of it.” But when someone shows up at your door, knowing you’ve had a hard day and makes you soup or a sandwich, doing the right thing food-wise becomes much more appealing.

Middle of the night surprise meals

So I encourage more impromptu picnics, more surprise visits of the culinary kind, more meals shared together instead of eaten in loneliness and depression! A wise man (who’s name I cannot remember) once said, “The biggest problem with loneliness is that we all walk around believing we are the only ones who suffer from it.”

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