I was standing at the stove the other day, toasting some cumin over low heat (just long enough for it to become fragrant- not too dark), when I suddenly had an out-of-body experience. Who was this woman, patiently coaxing the flavors out of Indian spices on a Tuesday night? This woman who, 2 years ago, would have been hard pressed to boil a pot of water, let alone cook an entire meal of food.
I floated above myself, taking in the olive oil, chopped fresh parsley and other detritus of the World’s Most Involved Potato Salad strewn around me. Clearly, I was no longer resident in my own body- I had been possessed by the demon of The Pioneer Woman, doomed to make twice-baked potatoes and blackberry cobbler for the boys on the ranch until the cows came home.
But then I thought back on my other culinary exploits over the past few months- the dry-rubbed salmon; the homemade salsa, the ambitious (and indulgent) mini NutellaCheesecakes-
and I felt an unexpected surge of pride. Could it be that I have actually grown to like cooking?
This episode forced me to reflect back on some of the other changes I’ve made over the past few years. There’s the ironing. The regular yoga attendance. Somewhere along the way I miraculously developed an ability to drink in moderation. I’m engaged to be married. I even have a wedding website for god’s sakes. A WEDDING WEBSITE.
Shortly after coming to this realization, I was walking down Queen Street West, internally debating the merits of monogrammed cocktail napkins, when I was stopped dead in my tracks by this sign:
Immediately, a wave of shame washed over me.
It felt like a giant, accusatory finger pointing directly into my soul.
HOW DID IT KNOW? Was the yuppie, grown-upness emanating from my pores really that pungent? Someone must have told it about that time I did a juice cleanse.
I’ll be honest, part of the reason I’ve been absent from blogging for so long is that I feel like I no longer fully identify with my former BreezyK persona. When I read back on old posts about crying into my poutine at 3am, I laugh (cause let’s face it, I was hilarious), but with a sort of detached objectivity. The girl who wrote those words no longer feels like me, but a lovable, misguided younger sister.. sort of like Cameron Diaz In Her Shoes. (Aughties movie reference anyone?).
And it’s partially a fear of being told by my readers and friends exactly what that billboard asserted that has kept me away.
“You’ve changed”. It’s a loaded statement. Rarely uttered in a positive tone, and often followed by a long, judgmental silence, it typically implies that the speaker liked the “old you” better.
Would people accept the new, wedding-planning, green-juice-drinking BreezyK? Or would they mourn the passing of my lonely, junk-food-binging single girl persona? Would they think of me as a hypocrite? a phony? Or, worst of all, basic?
I cursed this stupid billboard, whose entire purpose seemed to be thrusting passersby into shameful spirals of self-reflection.
And then I had another thought: Maybe…. just maybe… I was projecting. Maybe this billboard wasn’t accusatory at all, but more of a silent high-five, congratulating you on finally getting your sh*t together.
Because to be honest, the old me kinda had some room for improvement. I started this blog when I was 25. 25! That’s like, Miley Cyrus + 2. Now that I’m staring down the barrel of 30, it would be slightly concerning if I was still unable to cook, clean, do laundry or pay any of my bills on time.
Sure more of my life is devoted to grown-up pursuits like doing hand-written thank you notes and seasonally rotating my closet, but deep down, I’m still the same old BreezyK. I still watch more reality TV than I’m proud of. I still deeply prefer books to human interaction. And god damn if I still don’t love me a good cat meme.
Maybe I’ve changed, but I think I’ve changed for the better. And the biggest part of me that still needs to change? The part that gives a sh*t what people think about it.
Question of the day: Has anyone ever told you you’ve changed? How did you feel?