Conversational

When I meet someone new, there are two burning questions that I like to ask them: what is your favorite food? What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done?

You learn a lot about a person based on their answers. The first one is benign, simple, almost folksy. Sometimes I ask what is your favorite movie or what is your favorite animal if I want to switch it up. It’s such a little kid question. But it’s interesting to see where people’s minds go with it. It’s not the same as asking “If you were on death row, what your last meal be?” Favorite food can go in so many different directions. Is it your favorite thing to eat every day? Something attached to sense memory or nostalgia? Is there something special about what it’s made from or who makes it? Really, it’s a very emotional question.

Asking about the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done is an intimate question. It’s vulnerable. It’s the opposite of what is your favorite food. It’s a question for adults. What kind of risks have you taken? Are you ashamed of them? Does the question make you uncomfortable? Or are you trying to show off?

I love asking these questions of people, however I have found that people tend to mistake my interest in them for something else. Namely, they think that asking those questions means I want to cook for them and fuck them. Which is disappointing. If I wanted to cook for someone or fuck someone, I would just do it.

My favorite food is ribeye steak, medium rare, served at a restaurant, with all the accoutrements, and a glass of wine. The kinkiest thing I’ve ever done is crimson showers, but that’s a whole story for another time.

Death Wish

We don’t speak. I tell myself that it’s because he was horrible to me, and he treated me badly, and I deserve better than that. Which is true, but it’s more than that. If that is the only reason we don’t speak, then why don’t I feel more angry? If that is the only reason, then why I am consumed with guilt and shame? And I’m talking about more guilt and shame than usual. What the fuck do I feel so guilty about. What am I so ashamed of. Maybe it’s that he treated me badly, and I let it happen. I let it happen because it felt fucking good. To finally have another human being validate my deep self loathing in such a visceral manner. Maybe we don’t speak because I hate who I became and who I was with him. I hate how weak I was, and speaking to him is a reminder of my deep personal shortcomings. I can’t speak to him, because I’m trying not to indulge my self loathing. I’m trying not to be that person, to myself or anyone else. I don’t want to speak to him and be reminded of how bad things can get. How bad I can be to myself. I am ashamed of what happened. I am a coward for blaming him. I don’t want to be reminded of the darkness in myself, and that’s all I can see any time I think of him. The horror inside me, and I would let it consume me whole if it could. But it can’t, because it didn’t, and now I have to live with the scars and the bite marks of trying to be devoured by my own undoing and failing. I cannot look at him, and I cannot talk to him, because I cannot forgive him for leaving me here, alive and intact.

We were monsters together, and we were monsters to each other.

Pro-Tiki

Lately there’s been a lot of anti-tiki backlash in the bar world because tiki bars fetishize Pacific Islander culture. While I agree that fetishizing PI culture is gross, there’s something about this anti-tiki conversation that is missing.

As someone who is part Filipina, I realized that I needed to take the time to unpack: how exactly do I feel about tiki bars? I know that someone of my fellow PI people feel uncomfortable going into tiki bars, but personally I have always loved tiki bars, especially the trashier, kitschier and more throw back tiki bars. To me, there has always been something blatantly gauche about the tiki bar, kinda like a bad racist joke we all know is racist but we still laugh at anyway. Yo, this shit is ridiculous. Granted, there is that subset of Alameda white people who take tiki culture very seriously, but, again, weren’t we always kinda laughing at them?

But that’s not it. That’s not how I feel about tiki bars. To me, tiki bars are quintessential Americana. And seeing as I’m a quintessential American, I think there’s a lot to be said about how and why America has manifested tiki bars as an okay thing in our culture. On a grander level, America is all about colonialism, cultural appropriation, and separating people from their heritage. Let’s be honest about what America has become: it’s a place that people can go to so that they can become lost children. So that they can divorce themselves from their heritage and traditions. So they can start something new, irreverent and iconoclastic, all morality be damned. Whether by choice or by coercion, America is a land of inauthenticity. And what’s more inauthentic than a tiki bar?

But that’s still not it. There’s still my personal experience of tiki bars. Or, rather the mentality that spawned this land of tiki bars. Or, to be blunt: yellow fever. Yup, that’s right, I am a yellow fever baby, born of white father who indiscriminately loved all things Asian. Which is why he married my mother, who is half Filipina. (And also why he had a variety of hob nob Asian ephemera around the house, including Korean wedding dolls, a Chinese scroll painting, and a few Japanese knick knacks. Not a very discerning man, clearly.) My father married my mother in the 1960s, back when race mixing was still fairly taboo and before we had the language and the awareness with which to unpack the various racist microaggressions that white people committed against people of color. So it will come as no surprise for me to tell you that, yes, my father committed a lot of racist microaggressions towards my mother. It’s something that I grew up witnessing, and, unfortunately, because of that, perhaps became a bit comfortable with.

Which is why I like tiki bars. My parents’ favorite date night spot was Trader Vic’s, the original tiki restaurant. There is something about the white fetishization of Asian culture that is normalized to me on such a fundamental psychological level that I don’t think I can ever truly divorce myself from it. So walking into a tiki bar feels…familiar. Comforting. Perhaps a bit like Stockholm syndrome, but, fuck it, sometimes there’s something comforting in the things that are bad for you. Like alcohol.

This is what’s missing from the current conversation about tiki. For those of us who are too far gone into whiteness, what does tiki mean to us? What does it mean to be the product of the yellow fever mentality? When PI activists say that the white fetishization of PI culture is wrong, how do we feel about our parents? About ourselves? How are we supposed to feel when the tiki bar, which in some ways is a reflection of our lived racial experience, is branded as ‘wrong’ and ‘bad?’

I’ve always been confused about how to feel about being mixed. A lot of mixed people feel that way. So this is nothing new to us. I have always felt that I belonged at the tiki bar. That I made sense. The garish fetishization of PI women, the culturally insensitive reproductions of religious artifacts, the cultural erasure masquerading as cultural celebration – yup, I am very comfortable with that. I don’t think it’s right, but I know how to be okay with it because growing up in a mixed household, I had to be okay with it. Granted, being at a tiki bar felt okay for me, but I definitely looked around at all the other mother fuckers sitting there and wondered why the fuck they were okay with it, too. The tiki bar can be home for me and all my other hapa friends, but everyone else? What the fuck were they doing there?

Here’s what’s missing from the conversation about tiki bars: interracial dating. To me, that’s what tiki bars were all about: white men fucking Asian women. White men who kicked it at tiki bars were basically signaling that they were down to fuck Asian women. Which at a certain time was a risky thing to do. I guess what’s interesting to me now is that within white tiki culture, you don’t see nearly as much race mixing as before. What’s worse: a white couple at the tiki bar or a mixed Asian/white couple at a tiki bar?

Eh, I don’t care about which is worse. So much of this irritates me. What irritates me the most, however, is mezcal. Or, let me back up for a second here and take it back to my personal background. My father married my mother because she is Asian, and he wanted to piss off his white mother. However, my mother is half Filipina and half Mexican. She was raised by her Mexican side of the family and despite being mixed identifies more with her Mexican heritage. But that’s not why my father married her. In fact, he pretty much ignored the fact that she was Mexican and treated her like she was 100% Filipina. So in addition to being a witness to Asian fetishization, I also have the lived experience of the cultural erasure of my Mexican heritage by my father.

Which brings me back to mezcal. And mezcal bars. Specifically, white owned mezcal bars. Can we have a reckoning about that? Can we do that now? Before white owned mezcal bars become so normalized that it gets absorbed into American culture as something that’s just fun to do like the tiki bar? Because that’s what’s happening right now, too. I guess there’s something sickly ironic about the fact that tiki culture was born of the Korean War and Hawaii’s statehood. Tiki culture flourished here in California after the Japanese were put in internment camps here. And this love for mezcal is exploding during one of the most xenophobic presidencies in the history of this country and while Latinx children are being locked up at the border. It’s almost like: as soon as we oppress a culture we can then start to reinterpret it as American and reabsorb it into our bloodstream. Like I said: a country full of lost children and inauthenticity. It’s what we do, and we do it well.

Redefining the tiki bar isn’t going to change America. It’s not going to change the fact that we are all Americans, and that means that we are in some way complicit beneficiaries of America’s tradition of cultural atrocities. Of course I support the anti-tiki activists. But I am still very confused about my place in that, about my racial background, about what it means to be American. I’m not sure if I should be loud about this or if I should just…yeah, I don’t know what to do. Does being part white invalidate my opinion on tiki bars? Or does being part Filipina prove their point. Is my existence violence? Or am I overthinking this. I don’t like Asian fusion food because it’s just white washing Asian cuisine for people who think that Chinatown is too ‘ethnic.’ I resent that every mid-tier American restaurant now has tacos on the menu because how can tacos be good at a restaurant where they don’t make their own tortillas and salsa? It’s lazy menu writing. But preferring authentic cuisine isn’t a referendum on my existence as the product of interracial dating.

I love the Black Lives Matter movement for bringing these new conversations about race to the table. Credit where credit is due: we wouldn’t be talking about tiki bars if BLM hadn’t empowered us to talk about our race, too. Thanks for that. But it was only a matter of time before these conversations became personal. Or, rather, interpersonal.

All of this is just to say: if bars were still open, I’d still be drinking at tiki bars, and I’d be judging everyone else there, while at the same time feeling very confused about how and why I was there. But bars aren’t open, so I guess I’ll just be drunk at home indefinitely, which is great because drinking at home means I don’t have to confront the moral crisis of racism in my kitchen full of non-ethnically charged decor and glassware. Cheers to that.

We Can’t Keep Living Like This

But we will. They say that cockroaches are the only creature that will survive the nuclear apocalypse. I think they’re wrong. I think humans survive, too, because you know who’s more cockroach-y than cockroaches? Humans. We have mastered every terrain from Antartica to the Gobi Desert. We have lived through war, famine, disease, fascism, genocide – all of it. And just like we survived those greater atrocities, so, too, shall we survive this. We’re just not going to have a good time doing it. Which is where all the complaining comes from. We, Americans, are loath to give up our creature comforts and live like the lesser-thans. To Americans, living like a third world citizen isn’t actually living. It’s dying, which is why we think we can’t keep living like this. But we can. And we will if we must. If there’s anything I have come to believe in lately, it’s the tenacity of the human being. Like a cockroach. Even in times like this.

Mean Girling

The fact of the matter is: I like being a bitch. I like being mean. I like my superiority complex and my condescension. My mother saw that mean streak in me, and she tried to moralize it out of me. But that didn’t work. I’m a shit talker. A shit starter. An instigator. An asshole. A gleeful spectator at the sideshow of human misery. No amount of ‘loving God’ is going to change the fact that I am mean to the people I love, and I enjoy it. I like demoralizing the people around me. Putting them down. Watching them realize that they are pieces of shit. I don’t know why I enjoy this so much, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Perhaps there’s a better way to direct this energy than sabotaging my relationships and undermining the self esteem and confidence of the people I love. I try to pour this wrath into my work, into my writing, into myself. But it always comes back to the people I love. It always comes back to me. Perhaps it’s the self loathing bursting beyond my limitations of myself. Everyone is pathetic. You are all fucking pathetic. Just as I am pathetic, and we must look at how pathetic we are. Up close and personal. We must feel together what fucking losers we are. In this, we will be liberated to be the worst versions of ourselves, vociferously and unrepentantly.

I, Bitch

I recently found a copy of the seminal 2000’s dating advice book Why Men Love Bitches. There are a lot of problematic aspects to it, first and foremost that a white woman wrote a book that coopted AAVE language with chapter titles such as “The Mama/Ho Complex.” Okay, eye roll. But apart from that, there’s a lot of dated, cringey advice that honestly I had to laugh at because while, yes, I have subsumed some of these ideas into my personality, reading all these frankly misogynistic ideas written on a page is just ludicrous. Such as chapter titles: “When Women Give Themselves Away and Become Needy” and “What to Do When He Takes You for Granted and Nagging Doesn’t Work.” Basically it’s just a book that tells women not to be needy or nag their men.

My personally favorite chapter is “The Other Teams Secret Playbook: Thing You Always Suspected but Never Heard Him Say.” This one is filled with a slew of contradictory and petty quotes from various men that basically add up to, “Women talk too much.”

Yes! Women talk too much! God, I remember that cliche romcom line. As a woman who talks too much, I really have to roll my eyes at this classic cultural neg against women. As a former bartender and a current member of the hospitality industry, the idea that women talk too much is just…omigod, I seriously can’t believe people used to say that. We talk too much? Damn. To me, the ability to hold a conversation is a sign of intelligence. Knowledge on a variety of topics is sexy and knowing how to weave that into casual conversation makes for a scintillating first date. It’s almost as if men were collectively admitting that they had know experience in the art of communication from casual conversation to intimate arguments. Men idolized the ‘strong, silent type,’ as though that were a cop out for communication of any ilk. Honestly, I’m shocked by the lengths that men will go to in order to sabotage their relationships.

Suffice it to say: I refused to shut up. Now more than ever. I am going to run my fucking mouth as much as I god damn please, men of the world be damned!

Maybe if I can stem the nausea that this book is galvanizing in my stomach, I’ll have more pithy analysis of this misogynistic book, but I kinda don’t want to put myself through that kind of torture, so I think I’ll just stick it on my bookshelf as a living example of how our culture hates women.

It Is A Great Time To Be A Foodie

Yes, those passe, self indulgent, restaurant driven hipsters. Always so annoying on Instagram with their manicured coffees and extravagant sandwiches. But now, in the age of the decline of the restaurant, in an era where there is no more table side service, or ambiance, or unique vintage glassware, or mood lighting, or tweezer plating – it is a great time to be a foodie. To just revel in actually enjoying food rather than succumbing to the anxiety of looking at what everyone else is eating and wanting it. Most food doesn’t look beautiful in a cardboard to go container. Brandishing your $75 dollar meal is a bit gauche, especially because photographing it in your own kitchen, which might be messy or full of dirty dishes or just not that great looking. Everyone’s cooking at home, and, well, they’re not all very good at it. So it is a great time to be a foodie. To quietly and triumphantly nourish yourself. To cleave yourself from the inferiority complex of eating on the Internet. We can all just sit at home in silence and alone and eat the way we always should have eaten.

Health Fads Are Killing Me Part 2

I have always thought there was something physically wrong with me. Every ache was an indicator of some sinister, underlying health issue. Every pang of fatigue meant that I was succumbing to a mysterious autoimmune disease. A stomach ache was a sign of the collapse of my entire body, of cancer, of death. I have always been convinced that this body of mine is not functioning properly. That this body should be doing more.

I’m not sure where I got the idea that I am operating beneath my physical peak. I’m the type of person that sleeps 8+ hours a day, which is the amount of sleep that doctors recommend we get. It must have been at some point in high school when my peers started staying up all night to write papers and do homework that I realized: people out there are getting 4-5 hours of sleep and being totally functional throughout the day. I was jealous. I’m a wreck on a 4-5 hours of sleep – my body just can’t handle it. But at that young age, I was ingrained with the idea that I was lazy because I was missing out on 4 extra hours of productivity.

But it wasn’t just my need for more sleep that convinced me that I was biologically inferior to my peers who slept 4-5 hours a night. It was also the mood swings. The mother fucking mood swings. Which were oscillated by a slew of varying factors: my period (first and foremost), my diet (and the ensuing stomach aches that came from constantly being undernourished by whatever fad diet we were all doing), alcohol (which I got plenty of), exercise (which I got none of), sunshine (which I avoided). Some days there was depression. Some days there was mania. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed and leave the house. Other days, I felt fantastic, like I could go out drinking all night, wake up, go to work, come home, write my novel, fuck like a champ, and do it all over again the next day.

It was those flashes of mania that convinced me that I was somehow sick. In mania, I could do anything and everything. In mania, I could sleep 5 hours and feel fine. I could do a work out and be bursting with energy. I could eat fewer calories and still feel energetic. I could be witty and winning and work, and sexy and fun afterwards. I could do everything I set out to do, and I could feel fine. Mania made me feel like I was finally the person I thought I was supposed to be. Mania made me feel perfect. Optimal. Fine tuned and functioning.

But then it would fade. Sometimes it would slip away slowly. Other times, it would come crashing down, and all the sleep I hadn’t gotten would come back to get me: 9 hours a night. 10 hours a night. 11 hours a night. And I would feel like a failure. Again.

I was convinced I was unhealthy. That there must be something I wasn’t doing or wasn’t eating or wasn’t drinking that was making me come crashing down like that. Which is how I wound up spending so much money on different supplements and work out classes and fancy, reinforced meals. One of those things would stop me from crashing. Maybe all of them combined would keep me buoyed in a permanent state of luscious mania, where I could be clean and pure and perfect. If I could stay up, then I would be beautiful. When I was manic, everything I said was the right thing to say. Every day I looked prettier than the last. Even my shits were perfect. Me when I was manic – that person didn’t lie or cheat or steal or hurt the people she loved. I wanted to be that me forever, suspended in moral purity and peak physical condition. I was convinced it could be achieved. All I had to do was find the right supplement, the right tea, the right work out class, the right expensive, organic certified mattress. And then I would be okay.

But here I am. And I’m exactly the same as I always have been. No amount of consumption or denial has changed that. I still eat every day. I still sleep every day. I still shit every day, just as I always have and I always will. The fact of the matter was: all I needed to do was listen to my doctor. I know, I know – we all hate Western medicine these days. But hear me out.

The doctor says: eat a balanced diet. Sleep 8 hours a night. Get exercise or at least be active. Don’t drink too much alcohol. Avoid processed foods. My doctor told me to take iron and B vitamin supplements and Lexapro. It was all very simple advice – but it was the best advice. I didn’t need to take chlorophyll and bleach my asshole. Sure, maybe a kombucha here or there would make me feel better on occasion, but both the short term and long term benefits of drinking kombucha were negligible.

In Silicon Valley, they’re obsessed with human optimization and biohacking. In Berkeley, the hippies are convinced that crystals and yoga and veganism will make you feel better. But me? I’m already optimized. I already feel better. In fact, it turns out that I’ve been feeling fine this entire time. The human body as it is performs at its peak when it is taken care of on the most basic, fundamental levels. Yes, there are flaws in the system, but you can’t get rid of the flaws without destroying the entire system.

There’s nothing wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with sleeping too much or bad moods or stomach aches or manic episodes. There’s nothing wrong with being energetic today and sleepy tomorrow. I am perfectly healthy, even with my ingrown hairs and pimples and diarrhea. I can’t improve on a perfected system. Perfected, not perfect. All those health fads – sure, they might do something for a day or two. But the amount that health fads improve your quality of life and your ability to function are ultimately insignificant. The changes that they make are too small to really be worth all the effort and the underlying anxiety of being convinced that your body isn’t working. That you are missing out on the peak human experience. That average human health is itself a sickness. Able bodied people are somehow still victims of ableism. Or maybe it’s ultra-ableism. Anything that tells you to consume more in order to cure you of the things you consume is a scam, but that’s what health under capitalism looks like.

So why are we so obsessed with this false paradigm of health. Why is it pervasive from Silicon Valley tech bros down to gluten free yoga girls. What is it about this culture and this self loathing that has convinced us that we aren’t enough as we are. That our health isn’t healthy enough. Why do we need to work more, sleep less, play harder, always smile, never fart, be perfect. Why can’t we just accept: this is who we are, flaws and all. And all those people who sleep 4 hours a night and work 14 hours a day and work out and make money and have power and look great and eat clean and take chlorophyll and drink ionized or deionized water – is that really who we want to be? Has capitalism convinced us that success at the cost of our bodies is the definition of happiness in America? Or is thriving just as we are an excellent act of rebellion.

Has America Given Up?

Keeping track of the political discourse these days has become a dizzying endeavor. It’s hard to keep up with the who’s who of destroying America these days, so I’ve decided to take a step back and look at the larger picture here. And what I’m seeing is: we’re all going to hell in a hand basket, and it’s pretty apolitical. The intermittent violence punctuated with apathy to anything that isn’t one’s own niche issues has convinced me that perhaps none of us want this country to survive the next few months. We’re manifesting a particular brand of American nihilism that indicates a pervasive lack of cultural discipline. It’s as though we decided: United We Stand, Divided We Fall, but let’s be divided now. Everyone is hell bent on destroying this place, like a bacchanalia of chaos, and even the sane people are letting this place and everyone in it burn. This planet.

Let it burn. This is humanity. We will rise from the ashes to live another day so we can build something beautiful that we can burn to the ground.

The Joy of Post Feminist Cooking

I woke up early so I could marinate my chicken in buttermilk, turmeric and paprika so I could fry it later. Then I did the dishes from my dinner the night before and brewed a fresh a batch of iced tea. Then I sat in the kitchen a rewrote my grocery list to include everything I needed to make a low carb tiramisu because tiramisu is my hands down favorite dessert.

As I sat there, lovingly penning a list that included mascarpone, almond flour and cream cheese, I realized: wow, things have really changed around here. A year ago, I wouldn’t have known what the fuck to do with paprika and buttermilk. That’s because a year ago, and for all of my adult life, I didn’t cook. Not because I didn’t know how to cook. I spent years as a bartender, and I have a good understanding of flavor pairing, prep work and meal planning. I used to say that the reason I didn’t cook was because I worked in the restaurant industry. As a bartender, I ate free meals every shift, usually from sprawling spreads of leftover food from the high end restaurant where I worked. Who needed to cook when I got a plate full of meatballs, pita, hummus and salad every night? As a sales rep, I had an expense account so I could pay for my meals on the company card. Why pay for groceries when I can get a free meal?

I thought those sounded like good excuses for only stocking green tea, cashews, candy, yogurt and the occasional bunch of kale in my kitchen. But the fact of the matter is: the reason I didn’t cook was a lot deeper than financial convenience. Here’s the thing: I always knew how to cook. My mother cooked dinner for our family of four every week night. She made all my school lunches. She loved going to the farmer’s market for seasonal vegetables and the bread store for fresh bread. She had a good collection of cook books, a fully stocked and outfitted kitchen. She taught me how to cook when I was a girl. I remember the joy of cooking meals myself for the family, baking cookies, whipping shit up for myself.

But somewhere along the line I lost that. It started when I was a teenager, when I suddenly became aware of my body. I grew up during the low fat diet trend of the late 90s and early aughts. Growing up in the Bay Area I was exposed to the vastness of hippie health culture, which encompassed everything from veganism to organic food to kombucha to alternative baking. Between low fat diets and the cultural sway of veganism, I resigned myself to eating what one friend once called ‘squirrel snacks’ – basically a low-nutritional diet of small portion, non-meal foods punctuated by occasional doses of protein. I thought that eating yogurt for breakfast, chips and hummus for lunch, and four shots of tequila with a taco plate for dinner would keep my skinny. And if I were skinny, then I would be beautiful.

Of course my disdain for cooking was tied up with my sexuality. On the one hand, not eating enough foods or the right foods would keep me thin, and if I were thin then men would want to fuck me. On the other hand, the ability to cook full meals was something my mother did as an act of subservience to my father, and I was never a subservient woman. I was never going to do something as desperate and pathetic as cook a meal for a man. To me, there was something so gauche and unsettling about the idea of a woman who thought that feeding a man would make her worthy of love. I had seen so many women who fed men have their hearts broken, be abandoned, and left alone by their men. But skinny bitches? No one ever walked away from a skinny bitch. Right?

I have no idea how the fuck did I wound up working in the restaurant industry with an attitude like that. Working in restaurants is about nourishing people, hospitality and a sense of home. But I had made a habit out of ‘starving out’ my boyfriends. I thought I was so clever and funny for never offering breakfast to my boyfriends – if they were hungry, they’d have to leave to eat, which was fine by me because I wanted them gone anyway. Not eating was a way for me to validate my self loathing, and it was also a great way to push away people that I liked to fuck. No wonder I attracted men who didn’t respect me.

But all of that has changed. After a recent break up, I decided that it was time to become a bomb ass cook. I decided that I was going to eat protein every day, and not just when I started to feel light headed and woozy. I decided that I was going to use the culinary skills that had made me a well respected and award winning bartender to feed myself. It was time to face my demons in a way that I didn’t know I could: I learned how to cook.

And I fucking loved it.

I have discovered a certain joy and comfort in cooking that I didn’t know was there. There’s a simple passion in cooking, one that makes me feel both beautiful and invincible. In cooking, I have faced my fears. I am neither fat (or, rather, unhealthy) because I cook. Nor have I leaned into cooking because I am desperate for a man’s approval. I am, simply: nourished. There is something about casually whipping up a complete meal for lunch on a Wednesday that makes me feel whole. Like I can do anything. There’s a satisfaction to be had in picking out spices, turning on the oven, waiting for my food to cook, and cleaning up. It’s a process of patience and reward. There’s a calmness to the contentment of feeding oneself and feeding oneself well.

But I’m sure you already knew that. Which is what makes me sad about all of this. I thought that cooking would somehow make me ugly or cheap. Even though I feel more beautiful than before. My self esteem, my self confidence, my sense of self worth – it’s all so much better than before. I just didn’t know any better than to use food as an instrument of self harm. But, now that I know: never again.