Eating Everything on my Plate

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!


4 thoughts on “Eating Everything on my Plate

  1. Kim, this was great, it brought back memories of when my mom used to put that same dollop of mayonaise on my jello, ugghhh.
    Keep up the good work, your therapy is my therapy, lol.

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