By tonight I’ll be on my third batch of brownies this week, without the benefit of tasting a single one. I don’t particularly feel guilty, or weird about it, but I have noticed that I’m a combination of stressed, and sad which results in an increase in baking.
It’s been a messy week. I realized that I am going to have another niece, and I haven’t even met my youngest nephew. I’m trying not to be discouraged by the realization, but it weights on me and makes me think of elaborate Challah bread recipes- I block out the unpleasant stuff by fantasizing about baking. And then, when I can no longer handle it, I bake and try to find who to give it to.
I noticed this trend in Hermosillo- I’d come from running, exhausted and would start to bake. It’s comforting- the repetitiveness, the warmth, the idea that equal amounts of flour and sugar will always yield the same results. It makes me feel connected to some ancestral, feminine force bigger than myself, and for a brief moment I can relax in belonging, even if it is to an abstract.
I type this with acceptance- part of this life, this constant state of moments and relocations is a sense of loneliness. I am accepting. Most of all, sometimes it involves a sorrow- one that starts with the acknowledgement of blue bonnets along the prairies of my Texas home, and steadily grows into a sorrow for things that are happening and will be happening that you so desperately want to be a part of, but can’t for the time being, like a new niece.I am learning that it’s okay to mourn these things.
At the beginning I tried to relegate the sorrow to the back of my heart cathedral, busying myself with baking, and running and whatever things I could pile on my plate. I did a good job, until it became too strong, and it would pour out like some uncontrollable force. I felt overwhelmed, like I was drowning in the sea of my emotions.
It may have to do with reading Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis” as of late, or it may just be age bringing along with it time and perspective, but now I understand that part of the redeeming and cleansing parts of sadness involves acceptance and continuance. Acceptance that you do, indeed, feel sad. And terrible. And moving along with and in spite of the sadness.
I’m not talking about wallowing so much as mourning- it’s okay to feel the loss of moments, to move through difficult spots with grace and understanding of yourself. You can indeed be a happy person with rainy days. It does not make you less radiant to acknowledge them as such; readily acknowledging the fact that hard days exist strengthens vulnerability by making it more authentic. It’s okay.
For me, this comes as relief, because I am an emotional person, and because instead of being crushed by denying and then inevitably facing hard things, it helps me understand that I don’t always have to swim for my life when an ocean of sadness overtakes me. I can accept that the cathedral is flooding, and wade through, I can float through, and I can really experience the feeling and join it instead of fighting it.
And so, today, I wait. I wade.