who cooks your food?

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Food softens the edges.
It gives us the space to enter into hard things, gently.

That, is what I love.

Food is political, emotional, spiritual, sexual, agricultural, among so many other things.
food is important.

I’ve been attending some talks at my local university, which just so happens to be my Alma Mater.
Last night I had the pleasure of listening to John T. Edge, among others, speak on the title: “Race at the Southern Table – The Debts of Our Pleasure”

First and foremost, I have to recognize my place of privilege. As a white American male, my backpack is very light. Meaning, historically, I have a lot going for me based on my appearance. It is important to say this, because a lot of people are lucky and work hard, but also we live in a world where those things aren’t written in stone.

I am a cook.

I work in a stuffy, windowless kitchen and get paid slightly above Mississippi’s minimum wage. Which is probably one of the lowest in the nation. I live simply. I pay my bills. I have a few beers. I work hard, for little money. I don’t do it for the money.

I do the work because my heart is bound together with yours.

Maybe I am, as they say, an “agri-poser” — or hipster cook with tattoos wishing I had a Pok Pok to frequent on a daily basis. But I don’t. I learned how to eat and cook well in Portland, Oregon. I learned what farm to table actually looks like. I worked under some shitty owners, and I’ve worked under some really great chefs whose kindness, sternness and freedom let me have a voice in a kitchen without much experience.

That is my place. I give a shit about what I do. I work hard. I can’t fall asleep at night because I’m thinking about what it is I’ll be cooking the next day. I get angry at lazy cooks and business owners. When I am in a kitchen, it is my responsibility to own it. Even when my name isn’t on a lease, I own that shit.

That, is what I do.

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But this is the story of the southern table. No doubt one that has seen so many changes in the history of my state. The conversation continues to roll on today as a person who works in the back of restaurants. Southern cuisine owes its allegiance to the African American communities, First Nation tribes and all others who have had to serve privileged class citizens. This, either due to socio-economic class, but also by the color of their skin.

There is a great injustice. Restaurants have a long way to go. It’s a hard business, and Americans are lazy and consume much more than we require. Most restaurants depend on the backs of the poor and minorities and I’ve worked beside people who have really hard stories. I’ve worked with really great, dependable people, and others who can never show up on time. And trust me, laziness comes in all colors and sizes.

It is, though, important to know the stories of the people cooking your food. People are becoming more involved with wanting to know where there food comes from. This is great. I think the next step is wanting to know WHO is cooking their food. Yes, sometimes the Chef will be in. And my biggest mentor worked her ass off in the kitchen.

These conversations are important because as I said earlier, food is important. The future of food is important. The agriculture of our state is so, so important.

I offer this as a conversation.

I am not claiming to be a professional academic or researcher on the matter, but I do have some experience working in the trenches and know that eating food is something people enjoy.

For my people especially, our table is complicated and large and colorful.

We are moving forward, with the ability to look back and to process and to recognize our place in the midst of it all.

That is all I’m asking.

Who cooks your food?

 

dry grove.

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Dry Grove is a lot of things to a lot of people.

In reality, it is a cabin with a lake on a quiet piece of land northwest of our capital city.

For me, it was an invitation.

November of last year, I had been pulled into a text conversation full of buds I went to high school with. We grew up together, and there’s just something about this group of guys that works really well. We all came from the same place and watched each other change shapes and laugh when our voices would crack.

After sharing the news that I had separated, they pulled me in. Granted, it was initially for Saints game conversation, but it always went further. As it goes.

When I went home for Christmas, I was talked into staying a few extra days so that I could come to the cabin and fish and eat and partake in some of the finer things in life. Such as Coors light, homemade apply brandy, and deer back strap, among other simple luxuries.

My first time at Dry Grove pulled me out of the trenches.

I had just found out that my ex had already moved on and I was certain all of it was meant to turn out this way. We sat around the fire, threw up some proverbial middle fingers, and laughed till we fell off stomps and fell asleep in the warmth of cabin heaters and porch lights.

Waking up, I smelled of campfire smoke. I was warm and found myself the only one awake.

I walked out to the dock and sat in the cool morning. Seeing ripples and anxious fish and steam created this intensely welcomed feeling in my heart. Like I was going to be okay.

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This past weekend, we all met up again.

I guess the thing is, we all bring some weight to Dry Grove. We sit in it when the time is right, and we also grill pizzas and fry fish. We make trails and fend off spiders.

We laugh until we fall over.

But the fish were not biting.

The fire struggled to keep.

And our beloved Saints lost to the Browns.

To me, those were peripheral.

I have taken on the role as cook, when I can. So I try to help keep bellies full and nudge myself into place where I feel most comfortable.

It is amazing to have this.

This is my thought, as I sit among my friends going through so many things. So many transitions and loss and the weight of a world full of questions and wonder.

I sit in it and I soak it all up.

I soak up the fire that turned dead wood into glowing coals, and stood transfixed on the burning pine needles pulsing like a heart.

Going on a ride through the woods, I felt the first cool air since I’ve moved back home. I also made friends with a fuzzy caterpillar that decided to fall on my sleeve.

I feel certain that we will leave, and the worries of our days will trickle back in…but for those moments, when you feel okay and safe, they can pull you out of the darkness.

Where there is fire.

And breath.

And warmth.

how it could be

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I believe we are at the cusp of something big and powerful.

Usually when it gets late, the mystic in me comes out a bit, and I’m okay with that. Or maybe I’m just tired and loopy.

I recently read a quote by Thoreau that said,

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

I have grown to love and learn different things in different seasons. In college, I had a heart for justice. I was heavily convicted as a son to the very conflicted Deep South. Over the years, I have had to defend the place I love and call home. I’ve had to tiptoe around its delicate nature, and also brush off the accusations and the fact that no, I do not sound like a hick. Even if I did, how does that change your opinion?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. I work on the same streets where freedom riders and walkers, preachers and teachers and mechanics pushed forward, and where they were also met with opposition. I am always carrying around this history. There is so so much to all of this, and I always want to approach it with humility. I guess there are hundreds of books written on the subject, so I will spare you the essay, and will try to not make this about me. But it is a blog, so I guess that’s a little counter-productive.

There is a weight to changing anything, really. Apathy is debilitating. It knocks the wind out of me. Oh, it’s just so much easier to work for someone else and continue living your life in a relative amount of safety. Trust me, I love that life. And I’m not here writing to make you feel guilty about yours.

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This city, especially, gave me so much. It gave me room to explore and breathe fire. I feel like I owe something back.

Going back to the quote from earlier, I settle into myself for a bit. I like to close my eyes and remember the places I’ve been and how they’ve changed me.

I think about how marriage and being a husband made me soft and squishy. It made me love another fiercely and gave me something to devote my life to.
Before that, I was putting some time into various organizations that I thought were doing good. I traveled to India and Chicago and they both knocked me flat on my face.

Any effort I have had to change the world has resulted in me falling on my ass, and scratching my chin, and probably my ass, too. Most of the time saying, What do I really believe anymore?”

It’s really easy to get consumed with facts and failure rates. But lately, I can’t think of any life changing occurrence that didn’t leave me feeling stronger than before. When you’re met with resistance and pain and failure, the only real thing to learn is that you are still alive and able to move on!

Bigger and brighter and wiser and stronger.

So I have that hope, deep deep down.
That it is possible to change — I mean, thank God we change. Right?

And we just need you, okay?

We need you to be brave and hold loosely.

We need you, screw ups and wandering souls who from time to time smoke too many cigarettes.

We need food for the revolution.

I can at least do that much.

But this isn’t something you will see in the paper. It starts small, and to be honest, sort of stays that way. But when a lot of people do small things together, things happen, and are already happening. That is when it becomes part of our daily lives. How we treat our butcher. How we buy our food. What our kids get to learn, and that we shouldn’t have to be afraid of our bosses.

There is a part of me already doubting. I already recognize the voices that tell me, and my generation are a waste. But really, part of it comes from watching you.

And before we get too comfortable with the way things are,

just for a minute, we like to imagine how it could be.

Because the price of anything, is the life you exchange for it.

small moves.

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It’s all kind of fragile.

I keep thinking that, as I work and come home and think about the balance created by the stars and star stuff we are made of.

I don’t know what’s holding it (and us) all together. Food systems and water and pollution. It seems like the load is too much.

I mean, yes, it is too much.

There was a time in my life when I thought I could change the world. Everything is so radical and exciting when you feel fire running through your veins. You think if all you had to do was convince enough people, everything would change.

I suppose my passions have shifted a bit over the years. I am still convicted about the lack of justice and equality, and mourn heavily with our friends who live in poverty. That will never change in my heart.
As a cook, I’ve become friends with people who have been homeless, addicts, in jail and are still currently dealing with some if not all of the above.

The kitchen has always been a place for these people. It’s no wonder that I’ve ended up there, to be honest. Yeah, the sudden rise of “how cool would it be to be a chef” has a lot of folks flocking to the nitty gritty, but I will say, things are different here.

I’m struggling a bit.
I grew to love and cook food on a deeper level in Portland. It’s a foodie city. Its economy works (decently well) around restaurants and farms and purveyors. Its markets are set up to inspire people to learn and cook with such wonderful, fresh ingredients.

This is not about me calling out a place. This is only me, moving back to a place with massive potential, and a lack of systems. These things take time, I do realize.

I also want to recognize the folks that are already here doing the hard work. And for the people who have come and gone. For the workers in the fields, under the hot sun not making much of wage either. I write this, in the same spirit as to why you do what you do. I realize I am sort of new again to this whole thing. So I am always humbled, and realize there is a lot I need to learn.

On a daily basis these days, I contemplate what it would be like to own my own spot.
Somedays I get to talk to people about it. I find it encouraging.
Other days people are less so. Saying that this place isn’t ready yet. That it will fail.

I’m getting sort of..antsy.

In the sense that I can’t afford life here, as cheap as it may be at times, on a cook’s wage. I see other friends of mine in the same position. It’s really pitiful, this whole minimum wage thing. And honestly, I’m not learning a ton, and realize that unless I am being challenged, the wage doesn’t compensate for knowledge.
I go back and forth in my head, that if I’m going to change my occupation, this will be the place, because I surely can’t support myself here for too long. It would break my heart to have to move out of the kitchen. It has been part of home the past five years.

In my head, I am constantly hearing myself say, “Well, if there’s nothing left to burn, you have to catch yourself on fire..” And while that is the intro to one of my favorite songs, it resonates deeply.

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I am not in this industry to make it rich.
I do want to help change it, though.

I want it to be cool.
I want workers to be respected. I want them to feel pride in what they do.
I want people to open their minds and hearts to different food cultures, and dining experiences.
I want people to support more local establishments.
I want local restaurants to challenge, but also support each other.

Otherwise, it becomes stale and stagnant.

If you’re not going to make it better, then I will.

Somehow, I will.

I am the biggest proponent of time. I’ve only been back living in the south for almost four months. This is tiny. But I am seeing potential, even among the naysayers and those who tell me this place isn’t ready. Or that I will fail. And that it is hard and expensive.

I know, I know, I know.

A place, just like a person, must keep challenging itself if it wants to grow.

I want to grow.
I want to grow here, truly. I don’t want to leave again because I can’t find what I need. The systems are not yet here, in many ways. But they are certainly on their way. You can hear it, sometimes. I see it, in little ways. People wanting more.

The South ain’t in no hurry to change, and I am not here for those reasons.
But it will start small, as it always does. With a few friends around a table with some ideas.

And who knows what it will turn into.

I just know I am ready. I’m ready for people here to live better, stronger lives. I want this for myself. I want this for my neighbor.

I feel the heat rising from my feet, and it’s a nice thing to feel. I know this sensation. Of being a little antsy, waiting for the right time to move. I love it. I love how it scares me but how it feels when you start to move.

Small moves, dude.

small moves.

patty pans and puppy bellies

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These days, my life is about submitting,
and surviving,
and pushing through barriers I keep around my heart.

I dislike that I am so very stubborn at times.
I also have a thing with male authoritarian figures.

Maybe that’s why I work better under women chefs than men.
But let me digress, as I do.

Because my heart is feeling a little wild and raw today.

I am all over the place in my head, trying to figure out what is good and real, and what’s fleeting and exhausting. Wouldn’t we all love to know what is good for us now and also 20 years from now? Yeah. Same. I’m working it out, apparently.

As I digest this life, it is often sour and turns in my belly.
Then there are moments like yesterday, where I felt like a kid, wandering through rows of vegetables and scratching the bellies of tiny puppies with a cup of sweet tea at hand.

There was the sweat dripping off my face and onto my glasses. The bugs buzzing in my ears and the new community forming around my heart. I was a little overwhelmed, as I get from time to time in these sacred places.

Rows of tomatoes, branches hanging deep with em’ and some that were showing off a little earlier than their green branch mates.

Squash blossoms and pattypans.
Sweet onions and crunchy okra.

My heart swelled.
My new friend Dale said, “The way Josh sounds when he talks about cooking, is the same way I talk about eating..which means he really loves to do it…”

I stick my head down, because when people say things like that, it puts me on the spot and I smile and shake my head approvingly.
But I will never apologize for being shy, or quiet. I like being a gentle presence.

Yes, fortune favors the bold, but also the meek will inherit the Earth.

so they say.

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I am flustered.

From work being busy, and me being in the awkward position of not knowing where things are, but working damn hard at trying to be good at what I do. And that my apartment is missing something, and I can’t figure out what it is. I think maybe people. Maybe some more color. A different smell.

I am going in a million different directions, sometimes.

But yesterday, I walked down the rows of vegetables, smelling heads of broccoli and bending deep down for the perfect blossom. Flies and bees and white moths circling the heat and stench of a proper garden. Goats, horses, chickens, and cute baby things.

I scratched the belly of the puppy that was playing with my shoestrings, as I found it trying to dig through my groceries that were just pulled up from the ground.

I was also overwhelmed with everyone’s kindness and generosity and humor.
I am still so thankful when I get to receive in abundance.
Even when it’s just a brown bag full of squash, it is a little bit of heaven on Earth.

You see?

Every day, I glide through people like them rows of vegetables, not knowing of the battles they carry in their own hearts.
Should we have kids?
What’s wrong with me?
I am so tired of feeling lost.

I battle my own.

Why is it so hard to accept love back?
I don’t even know how I deserve this…
I hope I’m doing a good job.

I let them flow through me,
and I breathe in deeply.

Yes, I deserve the love that I give.

And I will remember to keep my plow to the Earth.
Breaking through the surface, to plant and nurture and grow.

And harvest,

reaping what I have sown,

giving thanks to the Great Mother who still holds me close,

and the Great Mystery that dwells inside of my heart.

 

 

the boy who ate his vegetables

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I sat over a plate of turnip greens, cabbage, baby lima beans and a trinity of fried chicken things.
Gizzards, livers and thighs, oh my!

Across the table sat my lunch companion. I know her as Gran.

She asked me a question that I get a lot. “When did you start to eat this stuff?” I laughed, and stared at the remnants of what used to be vegetables, only now as pot likker, and few stray beans. Granted, many of them veggies were cooked down with pork, but damn, was it good.

My answer to her question?

I have no idea.

Look back far enough on this blog, and you’ll see a bit of that change. Learning how to love and care for food in Portland was substantial. It’s a town full of folks who take it seriously. I thought chefs were bad ass and I wanted to be one. I knew I’d have to start eating pretty much everything I could. Let it be known, I am not obsessed with the glorification of what it means to be a chef. It is hard and most of the time, thankless work. I assure you, if you cook food for a living, people will, though I don’t quite deserve it, call you a chef.

I was anxious to learn how to cook and eat the food of my own people. I don’t want that to be lost on my generation. I want to own and absorb it. If I do ever have kids, I want them to know what it’s like to have gravy drippin’ off them elbows and that proper grits take a little time.

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Embracing food is to take in a place. It’s to breathe in smoke and spice. Some places, you have to take it slow. I was shown what food could be — how acid and salt and fat create layers and depth.
Like a good story, food is passed on through our bones, and onto the bones of our kids.

It echoes deep, and it’s eternal.

It is repetition. Ritual.
At its most basic, survival.

So, where do I go from here…
I’m not going to tell you what to do.
That you should stop feeding your kids this or that. I have my own convictions, and it’s not my place to speak into any of that.

I do know that there’s always time to open up.

There is always time to do something you wouldn’t have done yesterday. And there’s something else new you can do tomorrow. It builds and builds, and you will look at yourself and say, “Whoa, I kinda like that!”

And you grow and grow and grow, as tall as a tree or maybe just high enough to see over a fence.
You’ll find yourself slurpin’ down pot likker and it will drip off your chin.

That’s what I’m catching up on. Feeling a food. Learning shapes and smells.

Turnips and peas and summer time tomatoes.

I was never the boy who ate his vegetables.

But today, I closed my eyes, made myself present,

and ate em’ all up.

 

 

world’s (not so) strongest man

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Pain is so very isolating.

Mix that with being alone, and it is the recipe for a long day. I’ve been having too many of them.

Currently unemployed, and I am still in transition from one place to another. I have the grace of my family keeping me going, and the hope that things will shift and settle into place for me at any given time.

Two months is just a blink, I know. I’m so ready to get going with things. I’m ready to embrace my calling and to live my life fulfilling whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. Now..what is it that I’m supposed to be doing again?

Ah yes.

Therein lies my big question.

What am I supposed to be doing? I scream it towards the heavens. God, tell me what to do!
(and with a laugh I say, “Please?”)

It’s not easy like that. It never is. There comes a point where you just have to start going. Momentum is important. Like watching the dudes in those World’s Strongest Man competitions pull a cement truck with a rope. They key is momentum. Being super freakin’ strong also helps.

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I’ve had so much time to sit around and think and think and think.

I often don’t feel very strong, at least what a person would need to pull a cement truck.

Being in between is a purgatory of sorts for me. Neither here nor there, awaiting some sort of judgment from the higher ups. And I’ve been that way for a while. Not just in Mississippi, but since that big shift occurred in my life.

Granted, I am making forward motion, very slowly. Some days I am left alone with a few voices in my head telling me I will not amount to anything, and that I will dissolve into oblivion. You should know by now that I’m being dramatic. I also know these voices aren’t my true self. They are though, the weakest and most vulnerable of voices that I acknowledge from time to time.

I have a place I will be moving to in a few weeks, and I am beyond excited to create a home there. It’s my own space. Something I haven’t had for a while, and that I consider a great privilege. I’m excited to be able to have a dinner party, plant some herbs, and ferment vegetables on top of my refrigerator. (Sounds like a proper bachelor’s pad!)

When I visited the space, it was currently occupied by a college kid. It smelled like two week old damp towels and Axe body spray, but I looked past it all and saw what it could be.

I suppose I do that with any space I’m given. I’m lucky that I’ve been given the tools to create a good space for myself wherever I am. Social interactions don’t nearly exhaust me like they used to because of this space I create for myself. Maybe because I’m more aware of myself in the larger scheme of things, and it allows me to connect without making it all about me.

I am doing a lot of work on myself.

Being alone, as much as it hurts sometimes, is good. It makes me feel strong when all other signs tell me I’m weak and lazy.

Put me in a place where this is love and an inch will go a mile.

Starting over. Hrm. Not quite.

Adding on, maybe. Readjusting. Stretching and moaning, with the occasional grinding of teeth.

Setting the broken bone is quick, but the healing takes time. Small moves, but substantial.

If any of you ever find yourself in the middle of Mississippi, I have a place at the table for you.
I’ll feed you something I’ve been wanting to try, and I’ll show you a southern sunset, which is most particularly beautiful in these parts. I’m not sure why.

I’ll be sitting on my back doorstep, barefoot with a hot cup of PG Tips and quiet tune in the back,

and it will be so good to see you.

 

the horizon.

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I saw my horizon.

Eight months ago, I sat slumped over in a bed, imagining what it might look like.
I knew it was important, that horizon. That moment I would be driving into it, with the sun slowing setting behind the curve of the earth.

Driving into some of the quietest parts of Colorado, I sat and stared into it. I remembered being so lost and down. How stuffy it was in that room, where everything happened. Where I imagined this part of my life changing in ways I’d never imagined.

If I was able to fall asleep, I would think about this horizon. My symbol of change. My symbol of moving.

The hills, waning and waxing like the moon.

I kept my eyes on the horizon.

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I thought deep about my pain. Those hard goodbyes where all I wanted to say was this: Thank you. Thank you for taking care of me.

So much pain in goodbyes.

But I kept my eyes on that horizon.

I passed some buffalo, quiet but strong as they stomped through the tall grass. They didn’t mind me pulling over to watch for a while. It was kind of lonely out there. I’m sure a couple of weary travelers marveling at their grace and enormity was okay.

I started feeling stronger. More at rest. Less weary, more so ready to get goin’ – that’s what I would say. “Ah, gotta keep goin’ gotta keep movin’.”

And so we drove. A busted tire on the side of a white mountain. All of my belongings hanging on Monarch Pass — I reevaluated their worth. My stand mixer sitting alongside some cookbooks and an old writer’s box that I hold very dear to me.

We kept moving.

I realized the horizon never ends.

Which is why, in the depth of my sadness, it was all I could see. Something to move towards. Something that would take me to another place.

And now, I find myself resting on a bed, deep in the belly of Mississippi. Tired. Sad. Excited. Relaxed. Ready.

Ready for what might happen next…

ready to steady the wheel on that horizon.

it’s like coming home.

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I was having an impossible day.

Dead end after dead end.

I was still so angry and sad and hurt.

And tired.

Dude. So, so tired.

I sat down and wrote an email to my boss. For one, I knew she would understand that I needed to leave Portland, but also, she had trusted me with starting up an evening dinner service for her business. It was a job I wanted to do, not to just get by, but because my boss is one of my best friends, and I wanted to work hard for her.

Deep down, I needed some space from this place. To heal and move and to move onward. (And the luxury to have this space in the first place…)

She responded with grace and love, and for that, I am so thankful. She wasn’t surprised at my pull to go home, far from it.

So begins the process of leaving a place.

I am no stranger to this feeling. A place is meaningful to me because of its people, and the relationships I hold. And I hold them deep when it is good.

But I couldn’t stop seeing her in everything.

My heart would ache knowing that it would be this way for much longer than I needed.

No. I am not running away.

Running away would have happened last summer. I dug my heels in deep and prepared myself for the decisions I would make in the future. I mourned this Fall. The leaves changing. I thought to myself, “I won’t see trees like this for a long time..” as I teared up riding through the Gorge.

Yes, I am coming home in March. Home for the time being: Jackson, Mississippi.

Mississippi-welcome-sign

My sister just had a beautiful baby.

And I am so relieved to have back the intimacy of a family who has always loved and accepted me, and has met me with grace at every corner.

At the risk of taking the prodigal son parable to a place that may seem unfamiliar to many, I will say there is a lot in me that feels good and strong about this decision. I did not leave and gamble away my life. (Or maybe I did.)

I grew to love, and to love another deeply. It changes you. So no, I will not be the same Josh that left over five years ago, but I will be loved and will love you better because of this.

As they say, you have to leave to come back…

My heart is heavy for the ones I will have to say goodbye to, for certainly a season.

They are the ones who kept me here, kept me fed, kept me feeling loved and wanted. They are the only ones who have kept me sane in the midst of wanting to run away from my problems. They are my family, too.

But also, they have their own lives. Their own babies and homes and careers. They are doing big things, that I was so happy to be a part of. Their presence will never leave me.

I suppose that’s the thing. As we move from place to place, we continue to carry the great love we have known. It changes us.

As I transition out of this beautiful place, I will mourn. I will share last drinks and meals and finish strong.

I am coming home.

My heart is full of both sadness and joy.

And I will make room for them both.

Sh*tty Time Machine (Thoughts on Feeling Strong)

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It is important that I choose this blog as a platform for my voice.

One of which, doesn’t say much on any given day.

The thank you and hellos of going to the store. The banter of the cashier talking about their art show. The usual. I like it.
And then there’s work banter. Which goes downhill pretty quickly. Two or more cooks in the kitchen, and the conversation gets dirty, fast. I’m not sure why. Maybe it helps ease the tension and makes doing dishes a little more tolerable. But I know now I will never make sausage in front of them.

These days when I talk to people more than 10 minutes, I feel like I’m talking their ear off. Usually I apologize, for the sake of saying the things that are at the forefront of my mind. Sometimes I feel weird, because not everyone wants to hear about my idea of madeira jelly with chicken liver pate or that I really do, love dinosaurs.

Especially now, as my intimate community has shrunk (and at the same time, expanded) to a house of full of people, who are deep down, sweethearts – but don’t have too much history to work with. And that’s okay.

Louis C.K. has a joke about divorce being a sh*tty time machine.

That in a marriage, you become somewhat cut off from the world of single people. Time goes by, but at its regular pace, until you decide, or are forced to step out of that relationship, and land in another world. Like Brooks Hatlen in Shawshank Redemption saying, “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry...”

By now you know I’m being a little dramatic.

With that being said, I am glad I feel safe enough to speak about things on my mind.

I’m glad I can do that here, and to another human being, face to face. Because I do have a lot to say. We all do. Some of us just say it with fewer words.

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Lately, I’ve thought about having a core group of maybe four people who will call me out if it looks like I’m starting to go a little crazy. If I start collecting things that have no business being collected, or decide I want to build my own rocket ship, they will grab me by the shoulders and give me a shake as if to say, “Get with it, man!”

But right now, I think I’m okay.

I surround myself with the comforts of old and new. My lovely cookbooks and warm lights. Good speakers and a painting from my Great Grandma of two mockingbirds perched on a Magnolia branch. (Both the state tree, flower, and bird of my Beloved home.)

I guess today feels strong. I feel like I have a lot to say, and tomorrow could be different.

I do, however, feel it all on my chest. And each day I decide how heavy I want it to be. If it needs to be built stronger, or if it needs to crumble. I’m learning to be okay, and to listen to both.

The truth about sadness, is that eventually, it is met by something good and powerful. To say happiness, is kind of farce at times, because I don’t really know if that’s a real thing. I suppose that’s why our country embraces the pursuit, but tends to live somewhere in between. Seems a little more realistic.

But alas, I will save you from the other side of my jumbled conscience. It will not show its head at this hour, at least.

I will leave you with a quote given to me by a dear friend this past week, from Khalil Gibran’s, The Prophet,

“And shall it be said that my eve was in truth my dawn?”