Food, a love story.
Tea and toast
I’m not sure where to begin this week, girls.
Writing to you through the prism of food, of the recipes handed down and experienced by me, of passing on that love (for that is what it is), feels sullied, futile almost, in the face of the ugly, patriarchal world we are experiencing right now.
How do I explain to you, without crushing your purity, your wide open little hearts and minds, that you must protect yourself from adult males?
How do I explain my own experiences of harassment without being forced to relive them, question myself all over again, take the shame and shudder?
Why, you’ll ask? Why would they do this? Why would anyone want to do that to anyone, harm them, shame them, force them? Why?
I’ve never been shy in sharing with you the fact that I don’t have all the answers, happy to admit when I’m unsure of something. In fact, I’d caution you to avoid anyone who takes pride in certainty, male or female, because they are a particular brand of asshole best to steer clear of.
You see, the truth is I don’t know. I don’t know why some people thrive on taking advantage of others, of bullying and shaming into submission in different ways. Of dominating, of hurting, of stripping of basic dignity, of taking, taking, taking.
Of leaving another human being, once whole, once innocent, broken and cynical.
I’m not sure I’ll read a more heart-breaking beginning to a sentence than one tweet that began “After my first rape…”
The urge to protect you both is overwhelming, not only an emotional but a physical response. Every instinct of my own survival mode kicks in on your behalf, too. Hairs on back of neck up, skin-tingling, every sense heightened, in a split second.
The fact I know I can’t protect you from everything is the most heart-breaking sentence I’ve written to date.
So, what do we do now? Well, we have a cuddle and I tell you nothing bad is going to happen to you. I then rage inwardly at the society that demands I prepare you for the threat of abuse, yet seems oddly ineffectual in teaching abusers not to abuse, and I stick the kettle on.
Nothing makes this situation better, but a cup of tea and some hot, buttered toast can soothe, remove the sting, albeit momentarily from the hurt. It’s like a pause button on life, a quick timeout to nourish and quench your thirst, allowing you to get back up again and deal with whatever we have to deal with.
Because that is the thing I do promise you. Whatever happens in life, whatever challenges you face in life, I’ll be there, for as long as I’m here, ready to listen, ready to help, ready to help you heal and move on.
Let me stick the kettle on.