So last night I burned dinner. CHARRED it.
Not blackened; not crispy; not grilled. I took a bite and it was like eating a charcoal briquette.
And then– this part is embarrassing– I was a total whiney brat about it. I banged things, and said bad words, and sent epithet-laced texts to my friends.
It’s a little ridiculous. You know when you KNOW you’re being ridiculous, but it doesn’t matter– you can’t stop anyway???? That was me last night. Let me show you my masterpiece:
I also roasted some cauliflower, and it tasted like styrofoam. I also made some spinach, and that was delicious, and then my daughter ate it all.
And boy was I pissed about the whole thing!!! I thought enlightened thoughts like,
It isn’t fair, food HATES me.
Why do I even try when I’m DOOMED?
If you don’t like medieval jousting, that’s fine, but if you don’t like cooking, you’re a loser and a terrible mother who neglects her child by giving her prepackaged food that come in plastic that will give her cancer. Because you are a loser who doesn’t like cooking.
Also camping. Why does everyone like camping?
I didn’t say it was logical.
Most of us do this, though. Our minds get away with us.
We let some stupid burned broccoli spoil a perfectly lovely evening.
We get 120 wonderful emails and we obsess about the lone mean one.
We go to Brand Camp and have SO MUCH FUN and then on the plane we start worrying about all the persnickety chores that will be waiting back at home.
Anne Lamott says that her mind is a dangerous neighborhood, and she doesn’t go there alone after dark.
My mind can be a dangerous neighborhood any freaking time of the day, and when I step into the kitchen and try to cook, it’s like someone breaks a bottle and hides in an alley.
To add insult to injury, nothing’s worse than feeling crappy…. and at the same time judging yourself for being so shallow and entitled and pathetic that you feel crappy about something so stupid in the first place.
The trick is to take good friends into the bad neighborhoods of our own minds.
Friends who make us laugh, and gently poke fun at us, and don’t mock us for being ever so slightly precious and pedantic. These friends are things like a sense of humor, and a well-honed deep practice of self-compassion, and an inner timer that says, “Okay, you can wallow for twenty minutes, but then you have to get over yourself.”
It helps too if you have friends in the real world who will post amazing things that will snap you out of a funk. I took three minutes last night and watched this video of the incredible earth we live on:
And just like that, I was back into wonder.
Suddenly the whole broccoli thing seemed hilarious. I couldn’t wait to write and tell you about it. Broccoli!!!?!???! I am losing my shit over broccoli??!?!!!??! When I get to be ALIVE?!?!?
It cracked me up.
I know it might sound very breathless, very EARNEST, but honestly the fact that I get to be in this body and live on this earth is so amazing, so fucking miraculous, that it takes my breath away sometimes.
I have hands!! They can touch things!!! There are peonies in my HOUSE!!! Good lord, the richness of it.
In one of my favorite novels, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Vivi says in exasperation to her daughter, “You can’t figure me out. I can’t figure me out. It’s life, Sidda. You don’t figure it out. You just climb up on the beast and ride.”
And it is indeed one hell of a ride. With beauty, and laughter, and horror, and little run-of-the-mill irritations, and paint on your toes. And I love it. I love ALL of it. Even me when I am being ridiculous. And even you, when YOU are being ridiculous too, except of course I’m sure you never are.
Happy June, and merry riding!