09 November 2012

Of Following the Rules

I have rules issues.  As in, I seriously need/like rules.

I think I don't - I like to pretend, because I am fiercely independent, that I don't like to be told what to do.

It is a lie.

I need structure.  I need guidelines.  I need painstakingly clear directions.

Lest you think I exaggerate, you need to know I have had no less than three different teachers, in three different states of our nation, in three different stages of my life who have disliked me on varying levels for my need to clarify.  One praised me the day I asked my first "smart question."  One scolded me in front of the entire class, telling me she'd put more restrictions on her open-ended project if I really wanted her to (though it was perfectly clear this would be a punishment).  One e-mailed me the Webster's definition of the project I was to complete, because I clearly didn't understand enough to not ask.

I'm not kidding.

I have a deep fear of doing something wrong, of earning disapproval, so I map out every detail of what's expected (and somehow meet disapproval anyway).

Only today did I realize this is where things work well for me in the kitchen.

After all, what is cooking but following a step-by-step guide for creating something delicious?  My obsessive need to read, re-read and then check again on each individual stage of the baking process lends itself very well to producing the desired result.

I can cook because I can follow directions.  Because I need to follow directions.

And I like to cook because it's the one thing left in my life with clear-cut instructions - and tangible evidence of my ability to follow them.

It's the one thing left, after the meaningless trophies, the cheap certificates, the cap and gown, that rewards me for following the rules and gives opportunities for open praise.  No one sees the clean bathroom, the folded laundry or the sometimes-behaved children and says, "Well done!"  But they bite into a soft chocolate chip cookie and the appreciation is lavished.

Only one more deep insight unlocked for me today into my own psyche.

I think there's something wrong with me.

1,000 Gifts:
1010. The bright orange of freshly pureed pumpkin
1011. Open windows
1012. Rewarding my children
1013. Re-living fond child-hood memories through my little ones.
1014. Preparing for a weekend of catching up
1015. The bright colors of fall leaves
1016. Pinecone turkeys
1017. A sink-full of bubbles and tiny hands to appreciate them

A product of yesterday morning's photo shoot with my lovely sister-in-law - I feel this photo captures the essence of my crazy life.

1 comment:

  1. That is some amazing insight about cooking. You are so totally right. And the pic is fabulous, too! You all look positively joyful!