The Day I Thought An Egg Ruined My Life
“Could you just not do it that way?” I blurted out.
I could blame it all on being tired, I guess. I’m an introvert, which means sometimes I run out of words completely. When I’m tired, even forming words into sentences seems like too much effort. Being kind and explaining my ideas gently is nearly impossible when I’m running low on energy.
I just want a quick snack so I could get on with my studying for the night. My boyfriend and I had just talked about my favorite way to make a fried egg: a well-heated skillet, plenty of butter, and don’t cook it too long after the flip.
My boyfriend, offering to make it for me, cracked an egg into a pan he had just put on the stove. And that’s when I snapped at him.
So while I could blame it on being tired, really I was just afraid.
I actually thought an egg was going to ruin my life.
I was stuck. Not because of the actual egg, of course, but because of what it would mean for our future.
In between the split second when he cracked the egg into the cold pan and I shattered, the worst-case scenario for my life flashed past: I would be stuck in a partnership with someone who couldn’t even bother to make eggs the way I like.
For a moment, shame and fear took over. I felt like my options were to blurt out anything, even if it hurt him, or silence my own preferences. I cannot live with the silencing; it’s taken me so long to find my voice.
I grew up in a community where female submission was the highest value a girl could hold.
I have seen so many women submit to being used, who cater to the desires of husbands and families while their own needs go unnoticed, who are pushed to the back by their churches or social structures, who succumb to the weakening of their voices and powers until they can barely whisper. It’s a lie of Patriarchy that says the most spent, silent woman wins.
I am terrified of that happening to me.
In my years of dating through my twenties, I’ve flittered about without forming too many deep romantic affections. I haven’t had to confront the fears involved in actually partnering my life with someone else.
But now, there’s someone else in my kitchen, and I’m learning to make room for him without shrinking my self.
My kitchen has always been my meditative place. I like being in there alone, losing myself in the half-creative, half-familiar process of cooking. I’m a planner and intuitive, so cooking uses the best parts of me. It’s relaxing, after a long day of solving other people’s problems at work, to decode my cupboards and refrigerator and make something for me.
It’s an active reminder that I can nourish myself. It’s my practice at gratefulness for small things, like the smell of the Viennese cinnamon that my sister got me for Christmas, the sound of popcorn reinventing itself under pressure, or the sight of a bright yellow egg yoke sizzling away in a pan.
And since I’ve been living with myself for a few years now, I am pretty good at making all my food exactly the way I like it.
That’s not something I’m ashamed of; I’m actually quite proud that I know my desires and can accomplish small goals. I never want to lose my ability to take care of myself.
But I’m also feeling the strong tension of this other thing, too. This thing that is made up of friends and children and partners and families that pulls us out of an isolated “I’ve got this one, thanks,” and asks us to be vulnerable.
It asks us to let someone else make the eggs, even if they’re not perfect, because partnership matters more than perfection.
It asks us to speak up, strong and kind, and trust that we will be heard.
It asks that we apologize for blurting out our truths in an awkward, hurtful way.
It allows us to try again. (He did, by the way, and that egg was delicious.)
I don’t know much, but women, I want to hear from you. How do we have strong, steady voices and listen in turn? How do we be self-caring, and good friends or partners? How do we fiercely pursue our desires, but not to the disadvantage of others? How do we deal with the shame that chases us every day and says you don’t even deserve a good egg?
Originally published at A Deeper Story