Let’s talk about last Tuesday. I was having one of those nights anyone with a desk job could tell you about. I had exhausted myself at work, but had done so in front of a computer. My brain was just about drained of all its good, smart, creative fluid, but my body was still revving. It was starting to feel impossible to sit down and put my hands to the keyboard. Adding on a couple more hours of writing after working all day seemed an insurmountable challenge. First I tried yoga but I couldn’t focus enough to even calm myself down. So I did what felt right: I made turkey balls.
When I want to procrastinate or I feel a migraine coming on, I cook. It makes me feel productive even if pages are left blank. On Tuesday it was turkey balls, which are a little bit time intensive than what I usually do because it requires its chef to grate all the vegetables and cry over the onion. A turkey ball recipe meant I was in a deep state of WTF-itis. I realize I’m getting too old to discuss the “what do I want to be when I grow up” issue in a public setting (I mean, I’ve moved on from LiveJournal, haven’t I?) but this was exactly what I was thinking about as I massaged eggs, ground turkey, and almond flour.
The turkey balls have to bake for 40 minutes, meaning I had to stay alert regardless of how I was feeling, so in between oven checks, I put some words down on the page and imagined a life where I knew what I was doing. I wish I could blame the curated social media pages of my peers for making me believe that everyone has a calling and a purpose but that isn’t true. I have always felt this way. It’s like being in the 6th grade and having a friend who really loves horses. She throws horse themed parties and everyone buys her horse themed presents and she always gets to be the horse when you play farm. Because of her conviction, you lose out. You have to unpick horse as a thing to like because it is not your personal brand. No shit, I’m convinced people have been branding themselves since birth.
I’m really letting myself go a little wacky here (wackier than usual), but like I said five times a day at work this week, Mercury is in retrograde and I am unspooling at a rate quicker than the actual spool on a high powered sewing machine. What I’m saying is…
I never picked a thing. Sure, I have degrees in English and Communication Studies but those are such general selections I was really only one step up from being Undeclared. I didn’t pick a thing and now I’m almost 27 and can’t tell you what my favorite movie is or my favorite store because there is just too damn many to choose from and I change my mind everyday.
I change my mind everyday and the only time this comes in handy is in the kitchen. I can always create something to treat my taste buds, or to soothe a sour stomach, or to keep my hands busy while my mind wanders. Turkey balls give me focus when I find I’m spiraling and full of unnecessary self pity. It doesn’t matter that I switch out basil for dill or red onion for a yellow one, I can make every recipe my own, and they’re still delicious. And the fact that no one is watching me or waiting for me to fail makes it all the better.
Perhaps there is a lesson here. Perhaps not. Perhaps I just really like cooking.