I feel like the world is going crazy these days. Now, I know that crazy times are nothing new, but there’s something frighteningly different happening at the moment that I don’t know how to work with.
Not half an hour ago, a woman in the elevator smugly announced to the rest of the passengers in the car that she didn’t believe that climate change was real. She insisted that the scientists said it wasn’t happening. When one of the other riders gently pressed her on this point, she had no detail. It was simply what she believed and the idea we would challenge her was rude and outrageous.
The events unfolding at the Republican National Convention are a larger, more troubling example of this societal insanity. Patent untruths are being told from the stage while people cheer unstintingly for an egotistical narcissist whose organization openly admits that he’s not actually interested in the work of being president.
I am worried. As a woman (and the member of a family who was touched by an illegal abortion). As a Jew. As a person who counts many members of the Islamic faith among her community. As someone who respects science and the pursuit of knowledge. As a friend and family member to immigrants, people of color, and those who identify as part of the LGBTQ world.
Even if Trump doesn’t win (and goodness, I hope that he does not), the ideological divide in our country that his popularity demonstrates is troubling. How will we ever heal these rifts?
I sometimes wonder what I was thinking, choosing this life as a food writer. I spend my days trotting a path between kitchen and desk, doing battle with piles of produce, always trying to imagine them into new combinations and applications. The dishes are endless and the words necessary to tell the tales never come as easily as I wished.
I think about my previous life, working in an office, going to meetings, dashing downstairs to grab a salad before returning to my desk, and I am filled with perverse longing. I was desperately unhappy there, but at least the physical work of it wasn’t so unrelenting. The kitchen sink stayed clean for days at a time. I was occasionally praised for my ideas. There were other people with whom I got to share the work.
However, as I reflect more, I realize that I’m exactly where I should be. The idea of turning myself over to whims of an employer again feels dangerous and despairing. All I have to do is brush my imagination over the possibility, and I know that it would break me to try that again.
I was never able to be my full self at work. It was as if I had to put a piece of me aside in order to walk into the office building. I always envied my co-workers, who seemed to be able to occupy the entirety of the personalities while sitting in front of their company-issued machines. It was impossible for me. Every evening, as I left for the day, I would gulp the outside air and try to shake off the feeling of constriction.
The dishes, my poky old stove, and the struggles with words that I face every day don’t feel so dire in comparison to that putting aside of self that I did each day.