There is an epidemic of unhappiness in this world. We don’t want to
talk about it since unhappiness is now called “depression.” Depression
is a bad word because it now means that we’re crazy and we need to go
talk to a psychiatrist or take some drugs.
The stigma surrounding unhappiness makes it hard to discuss openly.
Our current social climate makes it almost dangerous to discuss. So what
do we do when we feel the darkness encroaching?
I believe that the things that have been programmed into us by
society are the major triggers of unhappiness. We’ve been taught from
birth that we have to look a certain way, act a certain way, earn a
certain amount of money (more is better), and own a certain type of
stuff. It is almost as if they want us to feel bad about ourselves to drive us towards impossible goals or simple insanity.
But we can step off of that hamster wheel. We can begin to change the
programming. Maybe if enough of us do it we will even begin to change
society as well.
The first step to happiness is related to that.
We have to start being honest with ourselves. We have to admit that
there are things that we don’t like, don’t enjoy, or simply can’t
In order to begin making changes to the world we need to be open with our honesty. I’ll begin.
I have an issue with cooking.
When I would get hungry as a child, there were times when I wanted to
fix something on the stove to eat. My mother would be busy taking a nap
or watching a television show, so I wouldn’t want to disturb her. I
just wanted to toast a cheese sandwich on the stove or whatever.
Whenever I would begin, my mother would attack me. I was going to
burn the house down. I was going to dirty the kitchen. I was wasting
food. The litany was so horrible that I eventually quit trying.
As a result of that, aside from a few simple dishes my father taught me, I didn’t learn how to cook.
And when I reached adulthood, it showed.
I’ve set the stove on fire. I have burned things beyond recognition.
When I tried to correct that, I prepared food that wasn’t near done
enough on the inside.
I’ve watched people quietly spit my food out in distaste. I’ve seen
them sneak it to the animals or scrape it in the trash. I’ve had people
vomit after one of my meals. I even shattered one of my teeth after a
particularly desperate attempt.
My lack of cooking skills quickly became legend. I’ve suffered from
teasing for decades from people who would try to teach me and fail in
While I have gotten to the point where I can make some simple dishes,
I cringe at the thought of trying to prepare something new. It appears
that I am stuck with the limited repertiore of dishes that my dad taught
me as a child.
I am almost fifty years old. If you watch television, that means I
should be able to cook like a madwoman, taking almost anything in a
pantry to whip up something wholesome and delicious.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
This is why I very rarely share recipes on this website or in my books. I am an atrocious cook and I know it.
So it is time to be honest now.
I cannot cook. I’ve reached the point in my life where I
don’t even have the desire to try. I am content with eating meals out of
a can or a box, supplementing with the simple stuff my dad taught me
how to prepare. If I want something more substantial I’ll visit a
friend’s house to bum a meal or go to a local restaurant.
I am the woman who can tear your computer apart, fix what’s broken,
and put it back together. I am the woman who can change the oil in your
car without breaking a sweat. I am even the woman who can take wood
scraps and build a sturdy porch.
But I am not the woman who knows how to cook.
According to our society, that makes me a failure. Even worse, in the
frugality arena where I roam, that makes me a spendthrift since I spend
more on eating out than I do on groceries because I happen to like
food–I just can’t cook it.
My first step at achieving happiness is to not only be honest about
that fact but to share it with the intention of giving the middle finger
to a society determined to shove my round peg into the square hole
called “cooking.” I no longer enjoy even attempting to cook and I am
okay with that. I am who I am; if someone doesn’t like it they can keep
out of my life.
This Christmas my daughter will be preparing dinner. I will
contribute with a batch of deviled eggs (dad taught me how to make them)
but otherwise I will stay out of the kitchen so she can work her
I accept that part of myself so society can kiss my ass. It’s safer
for myself and those around me if I leave the cooking to the experts so I
intend to do just that.
I have other things I can be honest about as well. I don’t really
care what color my walls are or if my decorations all match. I don’t
care if my yard is perfectly manicured or my house is spotless. I have
many interests in my life but those are not among them.
If society wants to judge me for that, let them. The clock is ticking
on my life so I have decided to no longer care. If someone wants to
criticize me for my limitations I will drop my pants and show them where
they can kiss. Heaven knows I’ve got the real estate back there.
What do you want to be honest about with this coming decade? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
And if you happen to know of someone who doesn’t know how to cook
either, instead of criticizing them, why not send them this link so they
know that they are not alone? Even better, why not gift them with a
visit to their favorite restaurant or cook them a meal? Once they
realize that you aren’t making fun of them they will appreciate it