Haunting # 3: The Cooking School Incident

Imagine summer’s end of 2009.

* Before I lost all of that mental, emotional, and physical weight
* Before I totally de-junked, and transformed my bedroom
* Before the wireless router, iPhone, or laptop
* Before getting to know Mr. Tim Beale, AMS (All Media Solutions), getting to deejay weddings      and other events, and becoming a competent videographer
* Before I made my entrance into the world of handmade jewelry
* Basically, before anything that is currently good in my life, a much more miserable time
Get the picture? OK, moving on . . .

     Acting on my (largely suppressed) interest in both foreign and fancy cuisine, I decided to look into possibly going to a culinary school. I actually found one in Norfolk, VA, not too far from where I live. I found an address and bus directions. I even set up a meeting with some people who worked and taught there. Thank you, Internet.
I gathered some pocket change so that I could ride the MAX bus line. For people who don’t know, MAX is an offshoot of the HRT bus line that people can use to get from the Peninsula to the Southside and vice versa.
I packed a bag with a sandwich, a drink, and some chips. And maybe some other snacks as well. I made sure that the Sansa mp3 player I had at that time was fully charged. This whole affair was quickly becoming a day trip and things were going quite swimmingly . . .That is, if I hadn’t made one slight miscalculation: telling my mom that I was gathering information on the Virginia Culinary Institute (the name of the place) for a friend when I was using the ‘family’ computer. Remember how I said that I didn’t have one yet? Yeah . . .Anyway, this minor blunder will be relevant later. . .
The day of my appointment with VCI came and what a beautiful day it was. My bus ride to the location was pleasant and I had no problems finding the facility over in Norfolk whatsoever. The buildings were impressive and so were the people that I met with there. They showed me all around the place and explained all of the Institute’s programs and internships. In a different world, I would have definitely signed the dotted line and enrolled, not giving two you-know-what’s about what anyone thought about it. And if only I had better transportation arrangements
My issues aside, I truly enjoyed myself that day. I had made a plan and followed through with it. I especially enjoyed riding the bus all around Norfolk and taking in all the sights. There is unquestionably WAY more to see and do there than in the city I live in.

It was really a shame that such a lovely time had to come to such an ugly and f*cked up end. It’s about that miscalculation I mentioned earlier. It came back to bite me in the ass in a big way. Let me explain.
I guess my mother didn’t appreciate being fibbed to about who I was digitally scoping out the Virginia Culinary Institute for. I can understand that, but there are two things that still bother me about what happened after that:
1) Why in the world would such a tiny, harmless white lie cause the conflict (read: freakin’ ambush) that I’m about to describe? Maybe my fibbing wasn’t the issue. Maybe she felt that I was somehow insulting her intelligence when in reality I was just trying to avoid the drama and nonsense that transpired anyway.
2) Just what made my mother so sure that I was lying? I mean, not everyone has a computer, and I don’t care if it’s 2009.
Ok. On with the story.

~The Freakin’ Ambush~

     I arrived home after my trip “across the water”, as we say locally, sometime between 6:30 and 7pm. My mind was buzzing with thoughts of how I’d ever be able to pull off this cooking school thing. It wasn’t until later that it all went down.
Since I spent most of the proceedings in my usual spaced out state, there isn’t much that I can really recall in detail. But I can, however, provide some select quotes and highlights from the . . .um . . .festivities?

* “It’s a pipe dream. You not gon’ do it.”
* “You’re lazy. You don’t like to be on your feet and you don’t like to help people! A couple years ago, you wouldn’t help me with-” whatever the hell it was. A computer thing. Why does that still matter anyway? And also, I had been working as a cashier at Wally World, on my feet for hours, helping people all day long. And tolerating it rather well. As I relate this tale of foolishness, a new question surfaces in my mind: just why is it that assisting all those complete strangers day in and day out so much easier than having a real conversation with my own mother? Very puzzling, indeed.
* “If you were so interesting in cooking, you’d cook things here in the house.”

     Fear not, my mom ending up eating all those and other demeaning comments she made to me then . . .and on other occasions and I will gladly tell that story. But first, I simply must talk about . . .

~Myself, During the Ambush~

     For the most part, I did what I usually do during such “discussions” with my mother. A lot of sitting or standing there looking bored, tuning her out, and making plans in my head about what I was going to do when it was all over. But unlike almost every other time I’ve had to deal with this situation, I tried to defend myself. I tried to tell her that I only seemed lazy to her because that was the only side of me that I would let her see. It was right around then that the habit of being more active only when she left the house was beginning to take root. Because of the stupidness like what I was currently facing. It wouldn’t be until more than a year later when that habit would pay off. Immensely.
I will admit that back when I was saying all this, my presentation was on the underwhelming side. I was struggling to make myself heard through all my of feelings of powerlessness, frustration, defeat, and being overwhelmed and bewildered by what was happening.
It was then and there that I made the most sacred of oaths, to myself and every deity I had ever heard of or read about. “This is the LAST TIME that I will EVER find myself in this position,” I swore. “I can’t believe what’s happening right now. I’m actually being belittled, spoken down to, insulted, and chewed out just because I had an idea and took steps toward trying something new and different?! Seriously?!”
After that, I made a decision. It was one that would forever change how I would go about my business from that moment on. “The very next time that I come up with an interesting idea or want to try something outside the box, I’m NOT going to let her find out about it because she’ll just want to kill it. And I don’t care how much I have to lie or how inept and inert I have to appear to be! Listen to what she‘s saying. She already thinks I‘m inept and inert anyway. I can live with that, but I can‘t live with THIS!”
I had never experienced such righteous indignation before this moment in 2009, practically a lifetime ago. This was the true beginning of the person who would longer care about trying to be “good”, avoiding being seen as “bad”, or trying to squeeze herself into a mold and role that was never meant for her. The person who would no longer tolerate carrying around poisonous guilt and toxic shame. Especially when she found out that she hadn’t really done anything wrong. Well, besides listening to the wrong people. She would become the person who would only concern herself with doing what was right for herself despite how wrong it would seem to certain close-minded people. The person sitting at her computer and finally spilling the beans about her origins.
“I reject inactivity for the sake of a false peace. The culinary school idea is the straw that broke this camel’s back. This is the LAST IDEA OF MINE she’ll ever crush! I swear it!!!”

That is a promise that I’ve kept.


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