And We’re Off

August 3, 2012

It turns out that writing about fearlessness is one thing–it’s a way to put a language framework around something that’s fizzy-feeling and slightly uncomfortable inside (at least to me). The fearlessness that I needed a month ago was a paler version, a way to make myself feel more confident about the day to day, to not feel disappointed when it was time to switch off the bedside lamp at night.

And then Wednesday happened and I needed something a little stronger. Usually if I’m feeling off, a run will set me straight. Sadly, not this time. I needed to get moving in a different way, to move past the fun parts of July, the excuses of setting up and settling in, the profound sadness that came twice during the month and required unexpected trips east. In the end it wasn’t fearlessness that got me going, not a sly sidestep from a positive place, but a decided shove from that scared space. Not long after I wrote my last piece I got myself out, and in a fluky, strange accident I landed myself an apprenticeship at a pretty cool restaurant, with the chef, who seems open to me doing lots of other things, too (like going to farmers market, learning the management side). I don’t want to say a lot about it, because even now, it feels ephemeral, like it could be a joke. Once it’s actually started (something that will happen after I get back from a family trip in a couple of weeks) I will write more.

What about culinary school, you ask? It’s still in the mix, still a possibility. We’ll see. And what does this have to do with what I was doing before? You’re allowed to ask that, too (my dad does all the time). I care deeply about food policy, and how what we eat relates to health and healthcare. It’ll come together in the end, I know it will, but for now, I’m stacking up the blocks. The next step is to really learn how to feed people, to make delicious food, to understand how restaurants work. It took being afraid to actually get to this place, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I was starting this step again in a few weeks, based on what I’ve learned of the restaurant industry, but at least now I know that I can step my foot in the door and explain who I am and what I want. That feels like fearlessness.

Also, this is peripherally related, but a woman I know from Princeton wrote a beautiful piece, “You’re Already Real– and Six Other Things I Know at (Almost) Thirty,” for the Huffington Post. It really resonated with me (especially the “you’re already real,” part) and I thought you might like it, too.

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