Food magic

I’m convinced more and more that food is magic. The way we select ingredients, the intention in preparing them, the connections we build—yes, food is magic.

Do you ever prepare food when you’re upset? You make something you’ve made countless times before. All of the ingredients are the same—you use the same proportions, cookware, the same procedures—but something is clearly off. It tastes different. And not only that, but it feels different. It’s why even though I followed my dad’s recipe to a tee, it still doesn’t taste quite the same. Yes, food is magic.

And when you prepare something with love, isn’t it noticeable? As soon as I have that first taste, a tingle of celebration and content sparkles in my taste buds. There’s also something unmistakably healing and soothing about food. Yes, food is magic.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s a privilege to be able to work with fresh ingredients. I was invited to pick lemons from my aunt’s backyard:

She is not my biological aunt, but in my culture, anyone in my parents’ generation would be considered an auntie.

Determined to celebrate these gifts, I decided to bake a lemon treat. I ran a Google search of all things lemon and stumbled upon this recipe for Meyer lemon pudding cake.

I had never known true labor in cooking until I whisked egg whites by hand! Is it time to invest in a copper bowl and hand mixer?

To be honest, I’d never baked a cake from scratch before, nor whipped egg whites. Growing up, the oven was used mostly for storing other cookware. But I was determined to bake my heart out, and the result was—yes—magical.

A play on power, passion, peace, and balance

I’m experimenting with a series of paintings. I finished the first of these today as a gift for my best friend, whose birthday was earlier this month.

Happy birthday, S!

Planning a peaceful afternoon of painting, I finished this piece after responding to my ex, who recently reached out to me for my birthday, which just passed this long weekend. I said that we should cut contact. I was in tears.

While contemplating this piece, I channeled power and passion. Today as I wrap up, I seek peace and balance.

Fear Factor

I finally finished streaming Season 1 of Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You. I’d avoided it for some time, knowing the premise and wondering if watching it would be too hard to bear.

The plot revolves around Arabella (Coel), whose drink was spiked while out with a good friend. As she becomes alert, she dips in and out of visions that seem so of place that she reckons them to be imaginary. Stumbling through an anesthetized haze of her own unconscious doing, she pieces together the occurrences of that night and realizes she was raped.

I first heard about this series almost a year ago through close girl friends. “You’ll love it, but it might be triggering. Watch it when you’re ready.” Similar sentiments were echoed in my women’s circles, where discussions around healing sexual trauma came up frequently. I wasn’t ready to watch it then either. With my relationship collapsing in a disastrous fire, my 2020 ending with someone following me home, which was then followed by a new phone stalker, the last thing I wanted to witness was someone else’s trauma, no matter how fictional. I filed a police report, changed my number, and called it a year.

I stayed off of social media for a few months. I was afraid of being found. I wasn’t sure who to trust. It wasn’t the first time I’d been stalked or followed, and the fear that simmered underneath my seemingly cool exterior scratched against suppressed memories of sexual assault. They itched to come out, those irritated, oozing memories. Years of therapy and still, they managed to hitch hike to my present. They were calling me to revisit the past, to soothe what was raw with a meticulous tenderness, rather than covering them with my usual hurried, frantic wrapping with heavy, opaque bandages.

I understood Bella. Numb the pain away. Sometimes the scariest person to confront is Self, that which holds the repository of emotions which span from bliss to apathy to the most ugly. And maybe the scariest part? These emotions have the ability to breathe life into our memories and shape our truth. These emotions give color to truth, and there are some colors that are simply unforgettable, no matter how forgettable we’d wish them to be.

I think about the title of this series: I May Destroy You. Who is “I?” Who is “you?” When we silo the words in between and the ends are all that’s left, do “I” and “you” become reflections of each other? What do we release when we let go of what’s keeping the ends apart?

Just like Bella, watching this series and the subsequent jogging of my own memories has left me feeling a bit unraveled. But unlike the Self of my past, my Self of today need not worry about the rush to composure. I’d rather that the pieces fall into place rather than forcing them to fit.

Capturing bursts of gold

I haven’t painted in a while, and I’ve taken a total pause on my pet portraits. I’ve been dreaming up some ideas that I’d like to get on canvas, and this weekend is the first in a while that I can devote to just makin’ stuff.

I whipped out my sketchbook to rough plan and try to capture those amalgamations of hazy images in my mind. More structure? Less structure? I’m teeter tottering between something definite and defined while allowing enough space and wiggle to produce something spontaneous and abstract.

I flipped through some of my sketches to jog some flow back into my wrists. Though I add dates to every sketch, I tend to jump around, with sections of book covering some dark days over varied time frames, others doodles of strangers or landscapes, and others covering mutations of my favorite shapes.

In flipping these pages, I’m looking for bursts of gold. You know, those little nuggets that are buried in sand but glimmer just enough that with the light angled just right, reflect a ping of something novel?

The last thing I drew was a tree. I always struggle drawing and painting trees, and I feel like mine always feel so forced.

A fantasy bonsai from Hell

There is something wild about trees that I have not been able to capture. How does one capture something so wild?