This story is kinda for couples, but it can also apply to besties, family, and colleagues equally well.
So, my main squeeze has been really inspired lately by this particular diet lifestyle. A doctor researched the specifics and wrote about it in a book.
Something that you may or may not already know about me, is that recovery from eating disorders was my first significant spiritual practice. I think about food *a lot*. (in both helpful and unhelpful ways, naturally; very human, right?)
I am fairly used to being one of the “weird eaters” in the room, due to my allergies and boundaries that keep me off the slippery slope with food.
I am used to flying somewhat solo when it comes to taking exquisite care of my food choices. But, of course, the more people I can share the excitement with, the better! So I got extra YAY when mistah main squeeze started looking up recipes, supplements, etc., in the book.
Most often he and I take care of our own food. Occasionally we treat each other to dinner when we’re both out. No big deal, it just works out. We’ve talked a bit about that often-unspoken expectation that “the man” pay for everything. For a wide variety of reasons, that’s just not how I wanna roll. No judgment, I would rather just have the money be more splitsies. That approach seems to keep my own lurking weirdness at bay.
But once these recipes in the book came into his life, this fire started to burn inside of me to cook at his house. (He has far more kitchen space than I do. I love my tiny house, but the tiny kitchen does limp along when it comes to cooking for 2.) Anyhoo, I offered enthusiastically to go to the grocery store and pick up the items for a meal from the book.
Things you should know as background flavor:
A) I live on a constant precipice of bossing everyone around and telling them what they should and should not do. Of course no one wants to be around that, except for the kind of people I don’t want to be around, anyway. So I work hard to not Should on others (or myself). It works great when someone *hires* me to give them my opinion! But I gotta keep that contained in the personal life, or else I go all Lucy from Peanuts.
B) One of my core fears is of losing loved ones. Whether it’s death, garden-variety abandonment, freak accident where their memory gets erased…I also live on an edge of not dissolving into tears constantly that life is so precious and will end for all of us one day. This manifests in me as wanting to play doctor/nurse/nutritionist/health guru/physical trainer/therapist/whatever else would help, to my loved ones. I am one of those who peeks at the ending of books, just so I can see what happens and then relax into reading it. I often do like to know Serena Williams’ match results, or else I am so on edge during the match that I can’t concentrate and enjoy it.
C) I am implementing something called Profit First in my own finances, which you will hear ALOT more about from me in the future. I will talk anyones’ ear off who wants to hear about it. Suffice it to say, I am even more aware of my financial details lately. During this journey it is being revealed to me ever more in depth, that I have a fear of success that links back to #2. If I get too successful/too wealthy/too happy, the people I love will leave me. Either they will feel threatened by it, or start to think I’m shallow, or will say, “You’re not who I used to love. I no longer recognize you.”
D) I am not domestic. I do not have a green thumb. I do not have that kind of cooking touch where you can just throw things together here and there, and magic is made. I am many thumbs in the kitchen, so this kind of thing, while I think it’s a great idea, it does not come easily. (Even though conditioning tells me it “should”, as a woman.)
So some of you right now are like, have we gotten to the grocery store yet in this dang story? We’re getting there!!
So the scene is, I’m at his house and we are both looking at the book. We go over the list together and decide how we both want to modify the recipe. We get through that stage, and then he kindly asks, “Can I give you some money for my part?” Or something like that. I say, with my fearful tension growing a little bit, “Sure, sounds good!” Ugh, if I could replay the scene, I would have instead said, “Are we sure about this? I’m getting nervous I’m gonna mess it up. It’s like you’re investing money. What if I blow it. What if it doesn’t taste the way you want it to. What if this reveals I’m not the woman you thought I was?!”
He handed me $15 in cash. I did some quick math in my head. Somewhat guiltily and quietly I say, “I think the bill will be higher than $30 for these ingredients.” Actually, I felt *very* guilty at that point. Like it was my fault for shopping wrong in advance. I had the kind of feeling that he had handed me $1K for the craps tables and I said I couldn’t possibly have fun there for less than $2K.
He had no charge that I could tell and just said, “oh really?” and went and got another $5. No big deal, right? Easy breezy, right? I wish.
So then I get to Whole Foods, and the shopping I do for myself like every other day, becomes Judgement Day, since this lovely man’s money is on the line too. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Oh the pressure! I had to go through his pocket and his head to then get to this stomach! Long winding road to the heart!
You get the picture. I’m sure you can tell already the twisting angst I felt. What I wanted to share is what helped:
~ I imagined telling him in a neutral way about my experience, and the positive things he was likely to say. I would much rather spend time with his loving self in my mind, than that harsh critic.
~ I did inquire of the critic in my mind, what was she getting at. That’s how I know some of the fears from the Background portion of the story. It sounded like “But what if he dies tomorrow and you spent too much of his money and that is his last memory of you, of wasting his money??!” Yes, that voice can totally say something like that with a straight face. It was good to hear it with some separation from believing it.
~ I caught the impulse to inventory the receipt with him item by item when I got to his house with the groceries. I thought about how unlikely it would be for him to want to play judge and jury to my defendant. To my improv homies, I would love to play with that character with you. “I’M SORRY! GAHD I AM SO SORRY TO HAVE SQUANDERED YOUR $20!!!! CAN YOU PLEASE FORGIVE ME, EVER??!!!”
~ I said prayers of gratitude for the growth practice and the money and time to go shopping at Whole Foods, for a healthy meal to share together.
I had a feeling that some of you out there might be able to identify with that critical, vigilant fear-mind. I send love and deep breaths, and hope you will remember to laugh and tell the truth as soon as you can, the next time the thing comes for you.