Take it In or Shake it Off?

February 9, 2012

The questioning has crept into my head, the self-doubt, the wondering if I’m crazy, or dumb, or entitled (check all that apply, right?). For the last several weeks, I have felt secure, proud that at twenty-nine I have finally identified my passion and came up with a plan to embrace it, live it through. “I will go to culinary school,” I said some time in November or December. “I will learn to cook and then I will figure out how to make it a business that holistically combines bringing people together through food with what I have learned about poverty and nutrition and urban development and agriculture and food systems. At first I was tentative, and I didn’t have any sort of two-minute pitch down. The more comfortable I became with it, the more confidently I said it, and the more people in my life, some who know me well and some who don’t, responded favorably, “I love that for you!” Or, “That’s such a great idea.” It felt like validation.

This week, it feels like, what am I doing. Why don’t I take this perfectly good education and just apply for jobs like everyone else? (Assuming that there are nonprofit jobs out there and that I can get them). Who am I to think that I can start a culinary business just because I love cooking and connecting people? I feel passionate, but I also feel like I should be on the SIPA job board looking for other options. I feel nervous. I feel like I need to hustle and get myself into a real kitchen very soon to at least get my feet wet, or my hands in the flour or whatever the appropriate cliche is. Learn something about, you know, running a business. How do I go about convincing people that I can do this thing that I’ve never done before? How do I remember that myself? And at what point do I welcome the questioning voice and offer him a seat in my brain so that he can pull me in a different direction, or kick him out the door and stay focused on this thing that might be a gigantic failure?

I apologize for the Carrie Bradshaw-style questions and the narcissism, I just seem incapable of doing anything today beyond watching these doubts swirl in my head. I welcome thoughts and advice, (including you, dad).



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