short of breath
not for lack of air
but because it catches
in my mouth. in my nose. in my throat.
with thoughts of why and how and why now
because everything used to be simple
except that’s misremembering
nothing has even been either of those
and the breath I can catch flows like water
too much too soon and it’s just as bad as none
and the lights flicker
and my heart throbs or stops
I can’t be sure which
and I can’t make reason
as I close me eyes
imagining I have a place for calm

pea based existential crisis… 

I think the headline says it all. I am deep in the middle of questioning who I am at the very heart of my being. As long as I have known myself certain truths have always been both deeply engrained in who I am and floating right on the surface for all to see. They permeate every fiber of my being. And while things like being a blue-eyed, pea-hating, sci-fi watching, ice cream loving, daughter, sister, and person from my very earliest recollection aren’t exactly who I am they do make up a fair part of what I identify as who I am.

You can add some other anecdotal truths that I discovered and owned as a person later in life to get closer to the truth of me. Blue eyed, pea hating, sci-fi watching, ice cream loving, daughter, sister, tattooed, black-haired, introverted, word loving mama bear. Pea-hating never budged from that list. Not in 40 years of life as I’ve known it.

I can trace the pea loathing back to some of my earliest memories. Holidays with the family. Dinner at my grandparents house. Sitting around a table in a little dining area off the kitchen with the dishwasher that could be moved around. it had a butcher block top, like an island.

And there in that dining room at that table were peas. A big bowl of overcooked stinky peas. And my grandfather had it in his head that I had to eat them. And I didn’t want to. And you couldn’t make me. And I sat there obstinate. Immovable. Unwilling to put those smelly things on my fork let alone in my mouth. But he made me eat the damn peas.

And I seem to recall vomit coming into play here. I think I threw up. Because peas!! But that could just be my dramatic childlike recollection of what was a traumatic event for me that was an everyday occurrence for adults.

At that moment. Sitting at that table. Thinking about that rolling dishwasher. And my family in the living room watching tv. And whether or not I’d be able to sneak a maraschino cherry from the fridge later. That was the moment that I decided I hated peas.

My pea-hate has gone through many phases. Including that strange childhood phase of needing people to take my pea aversion seriously when I just lied and said I was allergic to them. My youth included a lot of picking peas out of things I wanted to eat. Picking them out of fried rice in particular probably amounted to hours of my life. To this day if I were to be graced with a plate of fried rice and it had peas in it, I would pick them out. I have no doubt.

But this pea-hatred. This pea-phobia. This pea-loathing phenomenon has somehow, for the most part, come to an end. It wasn’t so long ago in the grand scheme of things that my partner suggested I reconsider allowing peas in their pod into my life. And after time left to reflect on it I eventually did. They’re not an everyday thing but they happen without hesitation.

And then earlier this week while doing our meal planning and trying to ensure we were building in sides with plenty of the right nutrients and fiber he suggested peas. Just plain old peas. Not still in their shell but PEAS. Those little round evil fuckers that have been the bane of my mealtime existence as long as I’ve been able to recall.

Without a thought I added them to the shopping list with the idea that we’d just make them for him. But when it came time to make them I wanted to give cooking them a try. Because I watch too many cooking shows. And because I had never prepared peas.  And then just like that I wondered how they’d taste with goat cheese. Then I decided goat cheese would be best in mushy peas with a little butter, salt and pepper. And everything kept piling up in my head until I decided that it was time to give peas a chance. I made Rick taste them first just to be certain they wouldn’t kill anyone. When he didn’t fall to the floor gagging from the taste I gently scooped up a tiny bite, put it in my mouth, and let it settle on my tongue. And then without any hesitation, gagging, or thought of throwing up I swallowed them. Then dished up a hearty portion on each plate. Because I liked them. I really did.

And I don’t really know who I am anymore… Also I’ll be making them again next week.