I didn’t want to cook, but I needed to eat right away: I had a meeting soon and felt the threat of hypoglycemia drawing nearer. My recent grocery shopping procrastination meant that I had very few options for dinner. With my determination to expend as little energy as possible into my present culinary endeavor, I pulled out of the cupboard corn tortillas and a can of black beans. I’m going to make tacos. I can’t help but laugh about this decision now. Oh, but I don’t want to have to cut up anything or do any dishes, so I guess I’ll just have them plain*. Yeah, that’ll be fine. I just need to get energy into my body, anyway.
Mistake #1: Did I bother to add anything to my tortillas other than the beans–seasonings or toppings? No. No, I didn’t. Not even salt.
Mistake #2: Do I even like black beans? No. No, I don’t.
I put four corn tortillas on a cookie sheet, spread black beans over them evenly, and popped it in the toaster oven for a few minutes. The oven was my heating method of choice so that the corn tortillas might gain a little strength without having to warm the two ingredients separately. I sat down with my plate, pleased at my quick and efficient method of meal preparation. Then I took my first bite. Gag. Oh, this is not good. These are very not good.
Mistake #3: The tortilla rim left untouched by the beans was stiff and dry. The dryness itself was nearly enough to make me choke, even without the added complication of my gag reflex caused by my first two mistakes.
I took another bite. C’mon, it’s not about the taste right now. You just have to get through it, I assured myself. After the first–well, un-taco–I downed a glass of water. This is going to require pulling out all the stops. My nausea grew with every bite, but so did my determination. I was going to get through all of them, and I was going to do it well (whatever that means).
In the end, I did finish all of my food. I was so proud of my accomplishment that I walked around the kitchen in a victory pose.
Victory! I can’t believe I just conquered that. This whole un-taco thing was ridiculous. But, oh! This is also going to be hilarious. Who even am I? What was I thinking?
I called my mom this morning to catch up. I relayed my ordinary, pitiful un-taco incident and its thankfully minimal resulting consequences.
As I was laughing through my story, I realized from my response to those mistakes, that I have grown.
Shame and I have been best friends for a long time. My tendency is to wrap myself in a robe of shame and hide all mistakes or even embarrassing moments. When I neglect to accept opportunities to laugh, I end up adding the experience to my reasons to feel shame. That. is. not. healthy. And while I still do have that tendency, I’m excited to see that I am growing and learning another way.
Plus, I am so thankful to be able to eat on a regular basis in general. Many people do not have that luxury, and that does not make me any better than they. I also have the undeserved privilege of getting to choosing from a vast variety of foods.
Friends, let’s not take this wealth for granted. Let’s be thankful for every single privilege and blessing, no matter how small. And let’s also remember to laugh! I’m learning that every time I allow myself to laugh at my mistakes, embarrassing moments, and ridiculousness, I am choosing joy over shame.
Let’s let our craziness out a little if that means we can share our joy with one another in the process.
* = I really do know how to make actual tacos. My anti-energy-usage stubbornness was just getting in the way of that process.