Cooking Insecurities

Quondam: former; onetime

I used to HATE cooking.

Whenever someone asked me what my least favorite thing was to do, “cooking” was always my prompt reply. Surveys requiring responses for disliked hobbies? Oh, easy. Cooking.  Young men would ask how I would plan on taking care of my future man in culinary ways; I told them to mind their own lives, and I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.cooking-knife-vegetables-meats-cutting boards

Growing up, I was a perfectionist. I liked things to be done a certain way, and I didn’t like to look bad. (Who am I kidding? I still don’t!) Because of these silly fears, I chose not to try out multiple things in fear of failing and being “found out.”

Additionally, I was a homeschooled child. Unlike many of my friends who were one of 5 or 8 or 10 children, I was one of 3. I was four years old when my baby brother was born, so I didn’t have to grow up babysitting or taking on household management to help my mom out. We were all babies.

I watched with envy when my friends could cook up a find tasting meal, change a babies’ diaper, or wrangle kids effectively. Babies would cry the instant I touched them, and I really didn’t know how to cook. Thank God I loved (still do) cleaning though. At least I wouldn’t be a complete lump on a log who just ate and did nothing to contribute.

From those moments on, a soul with mounted insecurity swore to never have children or never cook. It was easy to hide behind my fears and make pseudo-promises to myself. I didn’t have littles in my life, and mom did all the cooking. (Or the nights she was in no mood to whip up a meal, trusty old chips & salsa/cheese & crackers quieted my hunger pangs!)

As time passed, I began digging into the “whys” of my avowed statements. It wasn’t the fact I merely thought cooking took forever, and I was too lazy so no bueno. I realized it was my self-imposed limitations and prides/fears that inhibited me from living out these enriching tasks, namely cooking.

To take a load off her plate, my mom asked me to start cooking several months ago. I initially balked at the request, but since I’m not a terrible daughter and for the sake of her task load, I started. At first, I hated it. But over time, I realized that enjoyment started creeping into my mindset. I actually started looking forward to the process and cooking for loved ones.
Now, I welcome mom’s feedback and corrections. I find joy in the experimentation and the verbalized “yummy!” from my family or friends. It’s no longer about how I look but how I can serve my loved ones. And quite frankly, what does “perfect” look like anyway?

~Lina Marie

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Lessons Learned – Rollins Pt. 1

A little over three weeks ago, my contract with my job abruptly ended. This change wasn’t unexpected as a few factors indicated my time there was about to come to a close though  change always take us by surprise to a certain degree. I learned quite a few corporate and life lessons, broken into two posts, that I would like to share with you all.

  1. Communicate: This seems like an obvious thread that must be woven into every relationship and job, but I learned the importance of communication on a whole new level. Whether I was working on a project and wanted to put questions to rest with updates or needed to leave early due to an unexpected happenstance and my boss wasn’t in the room, letting someone know what’s going on cultivates trust and assurance.
  2. Clarify, Don’t Assume: Instructions, due dates, and expectations can sometimes be vague. It’s up to you to clearly understand what needs to be completed. Or else things will have to be reworked and end up taking longer in the long run. I recall an instance in which I was to add additional locations to a spreadsheet of call center agents in California. I meticulously worked through the list only to be told later I added too many and had to go back and remove unnecessary locations. What a waste of time!
  3. Make Mistakes: It isn’t pleasant having someone reprimand you for a blunder, but you end up remembering for next time and can more thoroughly learn how to accomplish something. Sometimes, I would experiment and make errors on purpose to see how a process worked and why it couldn’t be done certain ways. No one is perfect and when an action is a big deal and negatively affects others, having a teachable spirit makes the learning curve so much easier!
  4. Don’t Take Things Personally: At the very beginning of each month was Month End Close which basically meant each branch closed their books, ensured certain reports were in, etc. Our trainers, for the new documentation system, would be at the branches to be converted to the new system, hence I’d be gDSC_7614iven a list of the trainers beforehand and what branches to add them to. I hardly missed a trainer or their respective location. One go round, I received an email from the training manager about a few trainers who weren’t added properly; she came on aggressively and highly annoyed. Instead of reacting defensively, I went back to the list to double check the list that was provided for me to find that the three names highlighted weren’t even on the original list! I realized the manager was probably stressed, overworked, and overwhelmed, so I calmly stated my case and she apologized. Misunderstandings and emotions are part of the human experience. People will accuse you of things that may be grounded in partial truth, but as long as you have your tracks covered don’t worry about it.
  5. Be Assertive and Proactive: Being kind, engaging, and agreeable has its place, but sometimes you have to firmly make decisions and set boundaries about your workload and you’re willing to do. Employers like to see genuine initiative and self-growth and development. When you do so, you make clear you’re willing to work but you value your time and yourself.
  6. Learn to Deal with All Types of People: I could entertain you with a long tale about drawn out interpersonal conflict with one colleague in particular and the emotional turmoil it caused me. However, I’ll just leave you with this. People are different, emotional, impassioned creatures that will get under your last nerve and try your patience big time, but they’ll only help to grow your character, endurance, compassion, understanding, and grace. There were many times I drove home in tears from sheer exhaustion and frustration with the situation. However, in hindsight, I was grateful for the emotional skin I built. It’ll only make you stronger and take you further.

~Lina Marie

A Weird Season

Rectify: to make put, or set right; remedy; correct, to put right by adjustment

It’s a weird season.Change with seasons of life

Last month, May, was filled with social events, perfect for distracting myself from a motley of emotions brewing within me. There were graduations, parties, weddings, choir recitals, and more. My best friend and I road-tripped to the beach and met up with other friends for about a week. It was all a blast; I was barely home and didn’t even mind being sleep-deprived.

However, just like sitting amidst all the balloons, confetti and mess after an exhilarating party and everyone is gone and the room is silent, June has brought a calm that has made part of my spirit squirm. It’s so much easier having excuses of not addressing sticky emotions and tackling what I’ve been meaning to get around to rather than finally having the time and weirdly, coming home nearly every night. (Isn’t that I wanted in the first place?! Humans are so confusing.)

In hindsight, I realized I put spiritual disciplines on the back burner. My reasons were I was too busy and needed rest anyway. On top of all this, my family has been going through some spiritual changes and confusion. I preferred not to go home, because as much as I love my mother, I didn’t want to listen to more frustration about how lukewarm we are and the disastrous state of world events.

While lying in my car during my lunch break, I pondered on how my priorities have shifted. It’s so subtle but insidious. Cultivating friendships are important but not at the sake of spiritual health, family life, and productive, personal pursuits. I realized I’ve unintentionally wrapped my identify in my friendships. I realized I put too much weight on who texts me back and how frequently. I realized I hardly feel socially drained anymore (ever since I identified fear as the root!) and squirm in discomfort and indecision when I’m at home and ‘should’ be getting things done that I keep saying I’ll do. I’ve come to the point that it’s almost disconcerting if I’m not out with friends or doing something out of the house!

On top of this, a friendship with a guy I liked for three years culminated with long awaited closure and explanation; it was emotionally draining. It felt like a journey I walked on for as long I could remember abruptly came to an end. It’s not a bad thing, only different and naturally takes a period of grieving. Also, the past two weeks, a couple of embarrassing things happened at work, one of which I was confronted with which made me feel more annoyed/embarrassed with myself.

It’s also a weird season because all of my close friends have at least graduated from high school. We’re all growing up, a couple of friends have significant others now, three will be out of the country for a substantial portion of the summer, and a couple have graduated from college already. Not to mention, the incessant engagements, weddings, babies, career moves, and physical moves. It’s made me once again realize, I can’t hold unto anything. Life is fleeting, and I must make the most of the present. However, I’ve also realized that it hurts my heart knowing we’ll all eventually be off in different places and life as we know it will be no more. (If I dwell on it too much, my heart overcomes with sadness and nostalgia.)

With that, I had already deactivated my Facebook two weeks ago. On my calendar for June, I currently have two social engagements for the rest of the month which is nuts but oddly refreshing. I need to learn to say “no” more frequently in the social department. An empty calendar leaves more room for possibilities and reacquainting myself with desires that have collected dust. Life is pretty daily, and I must remember big goals are achieved with little days. (Oh, and when was the last time, I put devices aside and absorbed myself in a book?)

What a weird season. I’m grateful for it though. Aside from plenty of socializing, I haven’t gotten much done the first half of the year. Lord willing, that will change the second half. And perhaps, it’ll be a season deemed successful, not by me, but by Him who sits on the throne.

~Lina Marie