Sitting alone at the dinner table, staring at my plate which usually had broiled round steak, sliced tomatoes with a dollop of mayonnaise, and some kind of green vegetable, for hours was common in my childhood. Broiled round steak? The worst cut cooked in the worst way. I spent hours trying to chew the rubbery steak even taking it out of my mouth to see if I had made any progress in step one of the digestion process. My mother, sometime in her life, had heard and believed a good vegetable at dinnertime was a slice of tomato with a spoonful of mayo right on top. I can still see her arms coming over the top of my head with a fork and knife as she cut the tomato into four slices. Makes me shudder!
“Now, eat everything on your plate- and I mean everything!”
3 hours later the meat is cold and hardened. The tomato is runny and the mayo turning bad. The kid is crying.
Not a good message to eat everything on the plate. I never made my girls finish their food, but they did have to try it and thanks to “Ant Annette” we incorporated the no-thankyou- helping of kid unfriendly foods. The result; two grown ups with an open pallet, unafraid of food, unafraid of tomatoes, even in a salad, with dressing made from mayonnaise!
Not one time did my mother ever force me to finish me dessert. It just happened. I have met people who don’t like pie and it baffles me- how could anyone not like pie? Or cake? Or anything made with sugar, flour, eggs and and oven?
Forcing food is like forcing life. We cannot be told to enjoy a moment. We just do. And, we cannot be told how to enjoy something- be it with miracle whip or with friends. I wonder how round steak effected the rest of my life. Did I force it, pretending or trying to like it or was I letting or creating it to happen? Do I even know the difference?
I dreamt last night about an old curmudgeon who hated my guts. He liked everyone else, and I tried to tell others about how much he hated me. No one would listen. I lean Jungian, so I felt this dream needed to be figured out. According to Jung, the old man and everyone in the dream is a part of me- I am the old man who hates me, I am the others he likes, and I am the perplexed dreamer, wondering why the hate? For years I tried to be content and at peace with life- but I have been forcing it. The old guy in my dream needs to go- the criticizing needs to stop, and I need to lighten up on me. Wayne Dyer has told me in all of his books that I need to find and do what I am made to do- to create my day, and understand my connection to the Universe. I also listen to Joel Olsteen; he tells me every Sunday that I can have it all; and be happy, and that I DESERVE it!
Deserve sounds like dessert, so I looked it up. Deserve is from Middle English, and it meant to devote oneself to something. Now it basically means to qualify for merit. I struggle with the idea that I qualify, and I think that may be common. Dessert is French, and it means literally to clear the table and serve. It is a treat, the last course. I have devoted myself to clearing my table; I proclaim I deserve dessert!
Being 49, as a woman, I do feel like the last course is ready to be served. When a woman turns 40 it is like we now, socially, have one foot in a grave. We are old. When a man turns 40 he is just leaving home for the first time…”Bye mom and dad! I love you! It’s time to start my life! I am dating a 20 year old!” For me, dinner is over, and there were some things I like and some things I didn’t like, oh and some things I need to wipe out of my memory because they were…distasteful. So the best part of life is next. With this course I will choose only what I truly enjoy and will savour. I will take as much as I want. I deserve dessert!
Mom, I promise from here on out I will eat everything on my plate!