table for one

table for one

"let's get cooking" has always been a strictly metaphorical phrase for me.

i hated cooking growing up. my mom would have to force me to help her in the kitchen so i knew what temperature at which chicken was fully cooked or how many teaspoons were in a tablespoon. (i think it's three, but i'm not super sure though so don't quote me on that hehe.) but i didn't just hate cooking because the measurement conversions don't make sense. even as a young girl and teenager, i knew there was more to cooking than having a good tasting meal, i didn't want any part of it. 

being a woman comes with many expectations, spoken and unspoken, reasonable and irrational. growing up, naturally, is a period of time in which you are being prepared for the world you're soon to be released into as a fully-functioning, capable, independent adult, and that's why i hated being a girl growing up. now here's the thing, i'm not saying that being a girl was a struggle for me and i wanted to be a boy, but i did often envy the way growing up looks for a boy, (and frankly, sometimes i still do) and here's why. as a girl, you grow up with a pretty narrow path when it comes to how your future is imagined, either by you or those around you. you grow up dreaming about meeting your prince charming (in the woods, preferably), falling in love, getting married, having the most beautiful babies ever made, growing old together, and dying peacefully laying next to each other just like in The Notebook. but newsflash, that ain't every girl's dream, especially mine.

growing up, yes, i was thrilled at the end of every barbie movie when the main characters fell in love and lived happily ever after in their dream house in perfect, plastic worlds. and of course i loved playing house, especially when my brother was born and i had a real, live baby to play with (though i'm not quite sure josh enjoyed it as much as brianna and i did...). yes, i had a play kitchen and loved making waffles and fried eggs. but play kitchens and playing house are something i grew out of in more ways than just me outgrowing my old toys and my brother outgrowing our play crib. 

when my sister and i played house, we always fought over who got to play the dad. why? because he got to leave (the house, not his family so don't be concerned haha). the dad got to go out and be whatever he wanted to be. the dad was the one that asked what he did or what his dream job was, the mom got asked how many kids she had and what she was making for dinner. the dad had room to dream. why? who said that women weren't allowed to leave the home unless it was to take their son to his soccer game and their daughter to dance practice? why weren't moms viewed as individuals, having a life and dreams independent of their life as a wife and mom. i'm not talking about leaving her family, i'm talking about her being seen as a woman first, before a wife and mom. that was something i was able to recognize even as a young child that made me resent being a woman from a very young age, and that is not ok. 

every child at some point in their life has been asked what they want to be when they grow up, but not every child's answer is taken seriously. when a boy says he wants to be doctor, he's encouraged to get good grades and work hard. when a girl says she wants to be an astronaut, she's told that's such a fun idea. now, i can't speak for everyone. i'm confident there are many girls out there that had people that could see a life for them that expanded further than their front porch, and pushed them to reach and work for it, but i'm also confident that many aren't. and you know what's crazy about that, it's women that are telling these girls that some dreams are just unrealistic. but you know what, it makes sense.

all these women were ever told or shown is "your husband will be expecting dinner to be ready no later than 5:47 so plan your day accordingly, and don't forget to tell your kids when daddy had a bad day so they know not to get in his way. also the laundry is all your responsibility, and don't bother being bothered when his underwear never makes it to the hamper, that'll never change. make sure to keep the kids quiet, your husband probably had a long hard day at the office and he'll want some peace and quiet when he comes home. but he wants to be greeted at the door so make sure to kiss him hello, but make it quick, he has a conference call in five." i could keep going but you don't feel like reading all that and i don't feel like writing it. here's my point, it's no surprise women are being taught this by women because this is all women are being taught. a woman's role is molded around those around her. she is expected to live and die for her family. she says she'd jump in front of a car to save her kids, but in reality she wouldn't have to, society's expectation of her would push her out in front of it before she even had time to see her child was potentially in danger. ok i'll stop now for real cause i know you get my point. 

i've always been a dreamer. i am not that girl that felt called to motherhood, though i have mad respect for them cause girlfriend, motherhood ain't no joke! when i was ten i read a book about nate saint, a man who was a pilot, a missionary, and a martyr, and ever since then i've wanted to be all three. do you know how many people directly told me that they didn't think that was a good idea? that i should change my mind? that they would pray for the Lord to make my path more "clear?" that that was a little bold, a crazy childhood dream that i'd eventually grow out of? the audacity! i refused to be limited by the expectations placed on me because these women didn't want to dream bigger than their 10x12 kitchen. (ok i'll calm down a bit, i hopped on my soap box for a hot sec!). but these women always asked me, "what about having a family, don't you want kids?" in my head my response was, "uhm excuse me what about pilot, missionary and martyr excluded having a family? my family comin with me sis!" out loud of course all i said was, "yeah, i've thought about it." i always walked away pissed. like why does this random woman who don't even know me care so much about my future family?? sis go work on your own, yo kids out here wylin! (ok jk i'm back and sassier than ever lol). 

other people telling me what i can and can't, should and shouldn't do is something i've refused to let effect me to this day. i mean, somebody's gotta tell these girls that there's more to life than beating that biological clock, and if you don't wanna tell them, i will! i'll show them that they can be whatever they wanna be! if you wanna go to the moon, sis sign yo name on it! you wanna be a surgeon, cut em up girrrrllll. you're called to be a mom, raise them babiieeesss!!

point is, go live your life girl! womanhood isn't a trap, but it oftentimes feels like one.

so, back to cooking. i hated cooking because i felt like i had to do, that i was expected to. i thought that if dinner wasn't done every night by the time my husband got home i failed the day. but here's the thing, something i learned just these past few months, i need to eat too!!! food is not a male need, it's a human one! some of y'all are out here like "wooowww only took you 19.75 years to figure out that you get hungry too." yes, i experience hunger, (quite intensely, anyone who has seen me hangry can attest to that), but it wasn't until i lived alone for a week this year that it dawned on me that cooking is for me too. my family recently moved and the first week we had the house my parents decided to let me get a taste of living on my own, so i lived alone in the house for about a week and a half and let me tell you, i've never felt so good. i was freaking thriviiiinnnnggggggggg! i had my house so clean, my laundry was always done, i baked three times a week just cause i felt like it, i went grocery shopping alone with my own money and cooked meals for myself that slaaaaapppeeeddd. it was during this time that i realized why i never liked cooking: it was never for me. no one ever told me that i was allowed to like what i made, that it didn't just have to be my husband's favorite meal or the meal my kids hated the least, i was allowed to live for and enjoy myself, and sis, so are you. 

so to the girl who was never told, if you like chicken alfredo and want it every day, make it every day! if you wanna travel the world before getting married and settling down, go see it all! you absolutely deserve that executive position so fight for it! you are not confined to only motherhood, to only being a trophy wife. so cook your favorite meal, put on your favorite outfit, and set the table for one. 

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