Today, I was in the kitchen and I was going through the motions to make dinner. Suddenly, my mind wandered back to a time when it was just me. I remembered thinking that I would never be the type of woman that had a family. I didn’t think I was the relationship-type or that I was somehow relationship-challenged. I also had fear of not knowing enough dishes to make dinner everyday. I had a fear about not being able to cook well enough to be comparable to my grandmother and mother. I thought that I would never live up to what I envisioned in my mind. My grandmother had her own garden, gut fish and baked cakes from scratch. It’s a lot to live up to, especially when you work on a daily basis. I still have a goal to one day be that type of homemaker, but for now, I am working my way towards it.
Today, I cut up a pineapple. It used to be that the only time I tasted a pineapple, it came from a can swimming in super sweet (and unhealthy) syrup. I was intimidated by the pineapple because of it’s rough exterior. To look at a pineapple from the outside, you wouldn’t think that it could produce some of the sweetest and sunny fruit that the tongue could ever enjoy. One day, I didn’t let my fear keep me from trying a natural pineapple. I placed the pineapple on the counter and sliced. The tough exterior yielded easily with very little resistance. Quickly, the yellow interior was exposed and I realized that I knew everything that I needed to know to slice the pineapple. Once I realized that, I haven’t bought a can of pineapples since. The natural pineapple tastes much better. We all enjoy it. Since overcoming this fear, I now realize that things aren’t as difficult as I think they are. I am more willing to try new things and I think I will one day accomplish that dream of cooking with spices and vegetables from my own garden.
I was thinking that the pineapple could serve as a metaphor for relationships. The bad or lukewarm relationships are similar to buying your pineapples in the can or frozen. It’s sweet, filling and it serves it’s purpose. But, the bad relationship has additives to make it look like or taste like what it’s supposed to be, when actually, it’s lacking all the nutrients you need. You think that it’s less work because all you have to do is open a can or twist a cap, but you will pay for it in the long run. The natural pineapple looks intimidating. It looks like it’s too much work. It looks too hard. You have no guarantee that when you slice into that pineapple that it’s going to be fresh. You have to look from the outside and use your judgement to pick the right one. But, if you are willing to take the risk, you can find something sweet and beautiful inside. And when you taste it, you will understand what you’ve been missing all this time. Is the work worth it? Yes, it is. And once you have it, you won’t want to go back to canned. Or, once you have a good relationship, you won’t want to go back to a bad one.
So, what have I found out? I found out that even if I don’t know enough dishes to cook everyday, I am not afraid to try something new. I have a partner that will either tell me that I should make it again or silently walk to the menus and suggest that we order something. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to know everything about relationships. All I have to do is try. I have someone that is willing to be equally as patient with my learning and I am with his. It’s what keeps me cooking. It keeps me trying.
And I know that we will all enjoy the fruits of my labor.