I used to be afraid of blowing my nose in front of my boyfriend. In my head, it threatened to deteriorate the Disney princess mirage I've falsely built up in my own mind. I'm not sure why the mismatched socks, propensity for cheeseburgers and tears, and untidy apartment seemed right on brand, but when I got sick, I did everything to avoid validating to him that I had snot I needed to clear from my head like everyone else. We laugh about it now. I still get anxious wondering if he can hear me pee through the door, but it's all a work in progress.
This past weekend, I made a dinner so horrifyingly gross, that my brain literally played out the break up in my mind. It told me that my inability to cook, despite the many other very successful meals I've made, translated to my inadequacy across the board. My boyfriend, being the appreciative delight he is, choked down some of it before claiming he was full. I took two bites, was well aware it was awful, pushed my bowl away, and spent the remainder of my time trying to ignore it so I wouldn't have to face my own shame.
If there are any Westworld fans - I'm the robot that claims "It doesn't look like anything to me," when something comes to my awareness that I was not programmed to cope with. I wanted this gross bowl of food in front of me to disappear so I didn't have to acknowledge it. I am not well programmed to deal with failure.
For a long time, I was the person who argued against anybody who tried to convince me that "people make mistakes" or that I "shouldn't be afraid to fail". Blasphemy! Failure is terrifying. My obliviously imperfect self genuinely felt, and may or may not still feel, that if I tried hard enough, perfection was achievable. Wanting to be liquefied by my own embarrassment over a crappy dinner so I could simply absorb into my couch and disappear, perfectly illustrates that my struggle with perfectionism is far from over.
I am that woman who wants to have it all - great career, ideal family, physically fit, wealthy, fulfilling hobbies, altruistic, and well loved. Currently, I'm chubby, poor, and living alone with my dog in a 500 square foot apartment, so we have a ways to go. The good news is, as a millennial, the world does not have high hopes for my success, so that's something. I feel so many people who experience a failure, whether it is something as trivial as a failed attempt at dinner or as substantial as losing a job or relationship, equate that temporary failure to a permanent, innate character flaw in those moments. Unfortunately, the pursuit of your best life requires accepting that at some point you'll make the dinner that gives your boyfriend such a stomach ache, he'll wonder if he's been poisoned.
Since by now, I can feel how eager you all are to learn about my recipe, I'll start by saying that mistake number one was attempting to make a healthy version of pasta bolognese. I used black bean pasta and veggie marinara with my ground beef. The kill shot that decided the fate of this meal was cooking the "pasta" the rest of the way in the sauce. For real pasta, this is the play to make as the pasta absorbs a lot of the flavor while finishing cooking. With this bullshit pasta, this was the point where my bolognese sauce took on a blackish hue and seized into a cement, dog food-esque texture. Brutal.
Moral of the story - carbs never embarrassed me like this. I'm sticking to real pasta.