A few weeks ago I severed a deal with one of my roommates. When I first moved in, she was unemployed and I had a 55 minute commute, so I struck a deal. I would buy the food, she would cook it and we would eat together. Since then, she has gotten a job and my commute has gotten smaller. So last week I took back over the reins of cooking. Doing this means more than me that being able to have Mexican again or to be able to have pasta (two things Kristin can't cook). More than anything, my desire to cook or to bake is a sign to me - I'm happy again.
My first semester at BYUI I often didn't eat or only cooked small dishes for myself. Half way through my second semester I was diagnosed with delayed grieving syndrome. I dropped out of school and ran away to Oregon. Once I returned to school 6 months later I was still sad. I missed my mom (who had died 18 months prior) and I missed my ex-fiance (who had left me 7 months prior). I suffered through that first semester, forcing myself to use up the meal plan my father had purchased for me, and never baking or cooking. Over time I started to feel better. I joined an activities program that helped me feel loved and included and challenged me to do good for others - and activity I love and crave. Then one day during summer 2006 I decided to start baking for people in my ward. I started making bread from a box. I would find people in my ward that were stressed or unhappy and I would make them blue berry bread or cinnamon strudel bread. Then I started getting creative and would make instant cheese cake, from a box. Or I would make no bake cookies with extra sugar. I made family recipes. I made and I baked and I cooked and I was happy.
After graduation in 2007, I started to feel less happy. I was no longer needed in ways I was needed at BYUI. I couldn't find a group of friends to belong to. I struggled with housing situations. And I stopped baking. Sure I would make a cheese cake on occasion, when someone requested it, but for the most part - I didn't bake. During the spring of 2009, I became close with my friend Shell and I started to be happy again, so I started to bake again. Mainly cheese cakes, but I did begin to experiment with those cheese cakes - going from a pie crust to a spring form pan then to creating my own crusts and creations. However, this was short lived as summer came and Shell moved away. When she would return, something was missing in our friendship. I never really felt like I belonged in the group we hung out with, again. And I stopped baking.
In January I moved into a new house, a new ward and a new town. I'm actually in a new county. And something began to happen. I found myself being happy. I hum more. I interact with my roommates now. I actually play games with them. And it's not just the home life. I had enough happiness to have courage to find a better job; to be more social at church; to make commitments at the house. And then I started baking. And now I'm baking every week. This week alone will be cheesecake, strawberry pie (for the roommates) and raspberry pie (for work). Last week as I baked - I danced around the kitchen listening to my new iTouch and adding ingredients. I experimented with different portions and sought the collective criticism of those who tasted. And all the while I smiled. For today I'm happy. I know because I'm baking.
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