Wednesday, May 10, 2006

dream :: the cooking contest

My dream before I woke up this morning:
I am standing at a long counter with some other people, taking a cooking quiz. It's multiple choice, and whenever I skip over a question, it becomes a blueberry that drops onto the counter, and I am supposed to collect all the blueberries in a paper bag and give them to the teacher to count, and then I can try them again. I have about 20 blueberries.

Meanwhile, the instructor - a middle-aged man - is sampling some of the things we have cooked. He seems to like the herbed bread I have made. But then it's time to take all of our cooked products to the table. My bread - sort of a ciabatta - is in a big warmer, alongside the other students' ciabattas, and it suddenly looks pathetic next to everyone else's. I see big loaves that look professional and delicious - various concoctions of flour and herbs sprinkled on top. But mine is small, and it's still wrapped up in the Schwan's plastic wrapping it came in. (I guess I did not even make mine from scratch.)
Blegh. I woke up feeling down and out of sorts. Steve was up early and off to work before I was out of bed. I don't know why I feel so discombobulated. I think it's a number of things, actually. The dining room table is cluttered with camera boxes and bags and newspapers and magazines and doula notes and other scattered pieces of paper. The house is cluttered in general. When the house is cluttered, my psyche feels cluttered. Steve folded all the laundry last night after I went to bed early, after I spent the whole evening playing with my camera and the computer and not doing any housework. I feel like I haven't been pulling my weight.

It's been one of those weeks where I've been preoccupied by my own "stuff" and feel like I'm not giving my full attention to work, to Steve, to marriage, to housework, to being part of a couple. My mind has been elsewhere. These obsessive streaks I get into are nothing new, and when I was single, it was a wonderful pleasure, but now I have another person in my life who sees how I can retreat into my own little world sometimes, and it makes me look at myself through another set of eyes. He hasn't said anything, but I notice it. I don't want to give anything up - it's a part of who I am - but I don't want to neglect the other parts of my life, either, which are important to me. And once I am a mom, I know I'll have less time to pursue my own "stuff," so I'm going to have to be more intentional, I think, about staying present to what needs to be done in the moment.

That kind of scares me. It's part of my fear of "losing myself." Steve knows this. And he seems committed to doing what he can to protect that part of me - to relieve me for an evening or a Saturday morning so I can go to a ballet class or a bookstore or just take some time for myself. (Just as I will protect his time to go running, etc.) I truly appreciate that he "gets" that need in me. I think he can identify, since he has the same need. But even so, it's going to be an adjustment. I welcome it, of course - I'm totally excited about having this little boy - but this aspect of it makes me a little apprehensive at the same time.

Anyway, I don't know if any of this has anything to do with the dream. I'm just writing stream-of-consciousness now.

Twenty minutes later: I just had a nice conversation with a friend, so I feel more uplifted.


Christina said...

Allow me to share some related thoughts from two recent episodes of Oprah. Your entry seems to tie into a theme the talk show queen has been exploring lately (maybe I've been watching too much TV!)

Just yesterday, Lance Armstrong's ex-wife Kristin told Oprah that she lost herself in her marriage because she didn't allow herself to maintain her hobbies and passions. Another engaged woman told Oprah she is afraid to marry for the same reason. Her fiancee promptly said: "I love you because you are an interesting, independent woman."

So keep up those ballet and bookstore outings! (And how great that Steve gets and supports that.)

Meanwhile, last week Teri Hatcher was on Oprah, talking about her new book "Burnt Toast" and how she learned from her own mom to always eat the burnt toast in life and deny any pleasures. Oprah's psychologist (Dr. Gail) said that's a common mistake many well-intentioned moms make. Moms can make sacrifices, but they should allow for leisure, too.

Oh, and while I'm indulging in Oprah talk, you should check out a new book inspired by Oprah's magazine. It's called: "What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self," edited by Ellyn Spragins. The book offers some insights on motherhood (among other things) from famous, talented woman. It would make a make a great graduation gift, too.

Emilie said...

Lucky you to have time to watch Oprah, Christina. Enjoy it while you can!

Along those same lines, I've also been reading a book called "Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety," by Judith Warner, in which she talks about how mothers today (or at least, recently) have become so obsessed with being "perfect" parents to their children (getting them into the "right" schools and after-school activities, throwing the best birthday parties on the block, etc.) that they are losing a lot of themselves (and their common sense) along the way. Good food for thought. I hope not to let it happen to me!