Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Recovery Journal: Learning To Cook

I had no idea when I made my New Year's Resolution to learn to cook, that the ingredients I'd be working with would be impulses, behaviors, trauma, re-enactment, and my intention to love. 

I had no idea that I am to learn this way: the TWO 'soufflés' way.  Before me:  One a perfectly formed soufflé, delicious to behold, smell, feel and know.  This is me when I'm confident and whole, mostly around men.  The second, the yellow collapsed spongy thingy you see above?  That's me when my assertiveness collapses, mostly around women.

To learn to cook, I'd be given no ingredients or recipe.  I would, however, have the aid of an expert cook and chemist, for one hour three times a week.  The catch is, they give me no concrete instruction - just general information about the nature of cooking raw ingredients, and what contributes to what.  They answer my questions with  "What makes sense to you respective of your experience?"

Always, in front of me, would sit the well-realized soufflé and the collapsed one.  Well, that's not actually true.  I get their pictures to look at, because I must deconstruct both in my lab to learn what went wrong.  I must tease apart what mysterious ingredients were added in what order, with what timing at what cold or hot temperature, within what containers, using what implements, cooked at what temperature, in what environment, for how long.  I must try from scratch to bake the soufflé on the left.

This is the best description of how recovery feels, today. I am set to task.

Two days ago, I wrote a woman friend and asked if I could reach out to her by phone, every day.  I explained my reason - recovery.  To this end I asked her if I could call, and briefly reveal how I'm feeling and why.  Also ask how she's feeling and why.  Now normal people know this is a building block to intimacy.  But, in my collapsed soufflé world, my social compulsion is this:  Encourage the other person to talk.  Do not ask for emotional support and instead fawn all over her.  In fact, pretend I'm the Rock of Gibraltar.

That's the flashback loop I get caught in.  Always ends up with a collapsed soufflé. Growing up, my task was to be my Mom's Rock of Gibraltar and rose-colored mirror, no matter what revolting crap she was dishing out to me.  Well.  No more repeating the same thing, expecting different results!

So.  Maybe I will make a beautiful soufflé this way:  Not letting myself isolate.  Not letting myself put on my 'social face'.  Not sharing my laundry list of my 'doings', but instead revealing how I'm feeling - the good, bad and ugly.

My friend said she'd be honored to hear from me each day.  Wow.  Honored....!!!  She's not the type to take over the conversation and let me fawn over her. 

My first phone call was yesterday.  Ha!  I'm cooking a soufflé.


  1. At first I thought you were really going to learn to cook. But it didn't take long to get the lovely metaphor. It will be interesting following your journey with the daily phone calls. Boy, that's something I'd have a HARD time commenting to doing or receiving. I should probably examine that under a microscope. I think I'd find it has something to do with independence and privacy.

    My husband used to have a friend who'd call him every day and my husband grew to find it very annoying and would let his answering machine pick up when he was right there. Why? Sometimes you don't have time to process our own thoughts on stuff and aren't ready to answer a question like, "What did the doctor say?" for example or "Did you pick up that part yet?" They'd been friends since childhood but the questions started making him feel like a little boy being checked on daily. Boy, did I unload here!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

    It sounds like you picked your phone buddy wisely.

  2. Your poor husband! Yes, it sounds like your his friend was intrusive, playing mamma. I'll bring up the idea of ground rules with my friend. Keep the calls REALLY brief. Leave her wanting more, if that's possible LOL

  3. I could not handle daily phone calls--sending or receiving.
    I tend to like the written word better.
    Maybe that is why I post on my blog nearly everyday?

  4. I worry when you don't post for a while. You appear to isolate a whole lot less in the real world by choice. Me? I have an agenda in this daily connection. I need to learn it's O.K. to be cranky in person if that's how I'm feeling!

    1. So you are going to become honest with your feelings--and expressing those feelings. I finally got there. I was never allowed to express feelings of sadness or great joy. People know me to be the "nodding doggie-head", never disagreeing, never arguing, just simply being a nice person with no opinion. So--when I started to express my REAL feelings and opinions---well, it hasn't gone very well. Perhaps that is the very reason I withdraw from old friends and extended family? I have ruined their perception of me, and that bothers them--a lot! HAH!!!

  5. Me, too!!!! I'm so glad you don't let your liveliness go underground on your blog. Yeah, on the few occasions my liveliness and outspokenness has appeared within my family I got "You're not acting like yourself." "Oh...I thought you were more like me..."

  6. I am so curious about your perception of yourself being a whole, perfect, beautiful souffle when "around men." Good for you for adding a bit more talk therapy to your day.

    Fortunately, I have always been "what you see is what you get" kind of a gal. People either like me of they don't. Which is why I am not good at politics ... government or office or any organization. There is always politics!

    I look forward to this journey!

  7. "What you see is what you get. People either like me or they don't." I Love this!

    As for my deflation in certain circumstances... It has a whole lot to do with my letting one bad apple spoil the whole barrel. It's a mystery like: Why does the alcoholic take the first drink?

  8. This piece hit me in so many places You used the images of the two different souffles so effectively to convey how you feel in different circumstances. I can relate so well to your feelings. Bravo for asking a friend to hear you. I wish I had the nerve to do the same! Bravo to you for continuing to work on the hard parts of yourself that you need to support.

  9. Thank you, Martha! It feels so good to read what you write. Hugs :-)