I ate an entire loaf of challah yesterday. Bread is my kryptonite.
I am admitting it because I think the internet is where people lurk then emerge with mock surprise when they are caught lurking, as in, “What?! Oh, you! You’ve caught me here without a stitch of makeup on!” But they are in full faces of makeup; and they’ve been laying in wait — primping, and preening; preparing their dreck, and snark, and their carefully photoshopped DSLR photos.
So, yeah. An entire loaf of challah. Not fruit; not veggies; not anything macrobiotic or vegan; not a nice smoothie. A loaf of bread, and nothing else. I can’t say I’m exactly proud of it. But it’s the truth.
I am at a weird transition place in my life, and I think it is because I have a birthday coming up. When I was 13, I sat and I mapped out my entire life. I picked random dates and deadlines, and I set up all the things I was going to do and be and accomplish.
Shockingly, I’ve met every single one of 13 year old Meredith’s mandates, and I’ve accomplished on time all the tasks she set out for me.
But I’ve got another mile-marker coming up, one that I know is completely arbitrary, and one that my idiotic 13 year old self set in stone.
(My 13 year old self, who was admittedly precocious, and perhaps even prescient, was not able to actually see the future. Though, she DID view these ads, so maybe she knew more than I am giving her credit for…)
I am not going to meet that goal. It’s not humanly possible for me to meet that goal.
It’s a weird feeling, to be as wrecked over this thing as I am. Or maybe it’s the transferred sadness. Maybe my versatile heart protected me from feeling the awful, shattered feelings about the vile things that have happened to me, near me, around me over the last few years, and I’ve transferred them all into these somewhat meaningless things that my 13 year old self decided had meaning, back when choose-your-own adventure automated phone menus still gave you instructions for what to do if you were dialing from a rotary phone; and the internet was brand-new to the ordinary suburban consumer; and Food Network hadn’t even been invented.
I would like to think I’m more adaptable than this. Over the years I’ve learned so many presto-changeo skills — I’m a veritable chameleon in a carry-on suitcase — but staring down this mile-marker without a clue as to how to proceed without the guidance of my 13 year old self calling the shots feels…
And then again…
I’ve been letting a 13 year old dictate my adult life. Somehow that fact never occurred to me before, and that now seems equally scary. And perhaps it explains some things, too.
And upon realizing that, I suddenly feel a whole heck of a lot better.
I had expected, at this point, to be building my family. Instead, I find myself, newly divorced, eating entire loaves of bread to nourish my marathoner muscles.
But what I didn’t remember until this evening is that the challah loaf is meant to commemorate, symbolize manna sent from heaven — divine food; sweet like honey.
This moment in time for me is both an end, and a beginning. I am not going to hit this benchmark this year. It’s a first for me. But I am also going to fail at something, and have to sit in the feeling, which is something I had intended to do in this new year. And it marks the start of a new beginning, and the start of present-day decisionmaking in my life.
My 13 year old self would have had me as a snarky, photoshopped, mommyblogging disaster right now. And I have been tearing myself up because every day, a new facebook post pops into my newsfeed informing me that I am behind the 8-ball and I am not a part of the in-crowd. I am neither married nor a parent. I have failed at what I had intended to be and do.
But perhaps I am meant to be exactly what, who and where I am. The next six weeks will not be easy ones, but the challah from yesterday was a delicious and necessary step over the threshold of fear. And in my heart I am beginning to realize that the bread is not kryptonite, after all. Rather, it is heaven sent.