A little background before I get into the inspiration for today’s title…
Three years ago I spent the morning in Manhattan, officially crossing off the first of a long list of culinary goals on my bucket list. By way of an adorable morning radio show host, I landed a short TV segment on CBS’s Cooking on the Couch. I did a demo on chicken parm while John Elliot asked me about cooking and the gluten free thing. We laughed, we had some lemon ricotta cheesecake and then it was over. It was completely surreal but every bit as exciting as I anticipated. At this point, it honestly feels like that was a lifetime ago. So much has happened…so much has changed.
One of the more entertaining facets of social media, Facebook in particular, is the ‘On This Day’ application; a feature that can show you the history of your Facebook activity on that particular date ever since you created an account. Hilarity can ensue when old pictures pop up, you catch a glimpse back into the potentially poor decisions made in college and nostalgia finds a way to make you smile. The downside to this feature is that it shows you everything – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is no filter. Once wonderful events may have different meaning to you now as life is ever-changing. The unpleasant comes back with the enjoyable, residing next to each other in your newsfeed as though the drastic change from one emotion to the other was completely normal. I say this because the good things can occasionally be more painful in the present than they were in the past. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic, it is just a particular opinion I happen to have about these things.
I knew this particular day was coming up but it somehow slipped my mind this morning, even after I looked at the date a few times…then I took a look at Facebook. I was reminded of the joy I felt that day, the nerves I had as we drove into the city and the complete euphoria I experienced getting to cook on television – a seemingly untouchable dream
from my childhood. I was lucky enough to have both my grandmothers in the studio that day, along with my parents, and I’m eternally grateful that I have that day captured in pictures in case my mind ever disbelieves the fact that it happened. After a couple minutes of reliving all the positives of that day, my smile disappeared and sadness came over me. I don’t know where it was hiding but when it appeared it caught me off guard. The notion that it was in the past – part of a career and a journey I had expected to have for many years to come, but no longer did – made me catch my breath. I continued to scroll through the feed in the hopes that something else would make me laugh and I stopped on the post from two years ago:
One year ago, to date, I spent the morning at CBS Studios in New York filming a cooking segment. It was the experience of a lifetime, and the first official thing I got to cross off my bucket list. No matter what happens personally, professionally or otherwise, I will always be able to look back at this….
I was still in working in kitchens, I was still living the dream and I never imagined that less than six months later my entire world would be turned upside down. I had no idea that the last statement of my post was so fortuitous or come to carry the weight that it does for me now. Staring at my own words, I realized I had a point. Despite not being in the industry anymore or working my way to running my own kitchen, no one could ever take away my experience of cooking on TV. With a lingering sense of being unsettled and more bittersweet than sad, I scrolled to the most recent addition to June 24th’s history on my Facebook:
Two years ago I went to New York to fulfill a dream. Here’s to going to bed to get up early and start to pursue another… #embraceyourreality
I honestly can’t tell you right now what dream I was going to start to pursue, but I was clearly having a better day than I did today. The post has an air of optimism and ’embrace your reality’ seems hopeful more so than a state of consolation. As I’ve been looking at grad schools and trying desperately to land a food writing gig, I took it as a sign. *Anyone that knows me is aware that I believe everything happens for a reason.* I am trying to focus on this new life, this new reality…and some days are definitely less successful than others. This is still a relatively new wound and sometimes, for no apparent reason, a handful of salt gets poured into it. I still love everything about the industry and I don’t think that will ever change…so for now, it’s just about riding the wave, holding on for dear life and embracing my new reality.