…read part 1 here
Most days, I hope the food will write itself. That it will carry the blog. Because I share so much here. And I’m always able to share it through and by and with and for the purpose of, Food.
I tell stories about my nana, my papa, my failed sports career, the years I worked in film. The way Daniel loves me, and I him. All the while, food threads through. I feed you just in case the story wasn’t enough.
And I love food.
My relationship with it is interesting and tangled and beautiful and sad and for these reasons, it’s writeable. It’s an endless thesis. A graduate degree in itself.
Interesting: I was very overweight my whole life.
Interesting: I lost 135lbs.
Interesting: I write about food for a living. I eat and try and sample new food for a living. I plan blog conferences for a living. I edit and test and write recipes, for a living.
They’re things I’d like to hear about, if someone else were doing the talking.
But my mother told me something the other day that made me think deep and hard about sharing and writing and the niche I’ve fallen into. The notion of me as a weight loss wonder.
She wrote in an email:
Andrea, you know, yesterday I was reading your blog at work and someone looked over my shoulder and saw a beautiful photo of a meal you made and she asked me what site I was on. I told her it was yours, and then I told her about your recipes and love of cooking and how you lost so much weight. And how maybe you help people by sharing your journey.
And I looked at the woman, and immediately, it was about how you lost the weight. It was that same interest that leads every single magazine to boast at least one dieting feature per issue. It felt as if the woman had a moment of, “Oh, well of course that’s interesting, she lost 135lbs! Anyone would want to read that!”
And I couldn’t help but be a little sad. Because, yes, you lost a lot of weight. Yes, you can share what you’ve learned and that will mean something to other people who are struggling.
But, I guess, you’re just so much more than that.
Andrea, I’d read even if you were talking about the button on your pajamas.
I’d read even if you never wrote another word about food. Your writing is what keeps me. I love you and I’m proud of you, but it’s not all of you–the weight loss, the maintenance; it’s just a fraction. And it’s great, but I always hope people know that you’re not just successful because you did one thing that was difficult. You’re not a spectacle. What’s different is that you write about your life and your feelings and your thoughts in the most honest way you know how. It’s the sharing that means most. It’s that you’d tell people about Dad, about grief, about sadness, and pain, and that you’re okay with that.
I found myself staring at the woman who’d just discovered your blog and I wanted to say, ‘she’s not a cook, she’s not a weight loss coach, she isn’t a diet guru, she isn’t even interested in complete and total health…She does…she is…so much more.’
And I breathed.
And I thought for 8 Mississippi.
And I sighed.
And I loved her.
And she asked me softly, “Luv-luvs? You there?”
And I felt
for the first time
like a writer.