Monday, November 14, 2016

Your Voice is Valid

Polignano a Mare, Italy \\ Loves Food, Loves to Eat

Later this week, I’ll be back to regularly scheduled food posts. But I can’t just jump back into recipes without acknowledging that my heart is breaking for this country, for our planet’s environment, for my targeted friends and neighbors who are currently living in fear, and for everyone else who feels gutted by what’s to come in the next four years and by the precedent that has been set.

This blog started as a creative outlet. Overtime, I’ve gotten a tiny bit more personal, and I’ve shared quite a bit about my grief over losing my dad. And right now I’m grieving, and don’t intend to pretend I’m not. I don’t get a ton of views and I don’t receive one cent of revenue for writing here, so while I appreciate and occasionally cater to this site's followers, this space is mine to do with as I please. If you stick with me, when now and then I might talk about feelings more than food, then thank you. But if you don’t, that’s ok too. Some things matter, and some don’t. We all have one life to live in this world. 

In September Evan and I vacationed in Italy. We went to Rome and Puglia—the heel of the boot. I plan to share more about that here eventually, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. It was a beautiful, fun, amazing trip. We did, however, have one bad (potentially near-death) experience, on our last full day in Italy, in Polignano a Mare (a beautiful town on the Adriatic Sea, pictured above!).

We had booked a boat tour of the cliff-side grottos, and when the time came, it was windy and wavy, but we went anyway, just the two of us and the captain in a small motor boat. The tour was cut short, because of the wind and waves, a quick out and back, cruising parallel along the coast-line. On the way back, I noticed suddenly that we had started veering toward the rocky cliff wall. I looked behind me at the driver, and to my alarm, saw that he had his head down, and was texting. I looked at Evan, who was facing out to sea, taking photos. He didn’t see what was happening. This all went down in less than a minute, probably all in a matter of seconds, but in my head it lasted forever. As I looked back and forth between the driver and the cliff, I knew it was bad. I knew we were headed straight toward a rock wall. I knew the driver wasn’t looking. But I didn’t say anything, I sat in alarm, watching it all happen. Part of this, I’m sure, was a natural fight/flight/freeze reaction (obviously the freeze part), but there was something else too. 

A few feet from hitting the wall, the driver looked up and screamed, throwing the boat in reverse, throwing us out of our seats onto the floor, narrowly missing the cliff wall, crossing himself and praying. Luckily, we didn’t crash into the wall, we were, all-in-all, fine. In that brief moment though, while I watched us nearly drive straight into a cliff, and felt the alarm of what was happening, my brain said “Surly this isn’t happening. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a professional.” I didn’t want to, excuse the pun, rock the boat. My fear of hitting the wall and my fear of speaking up were competing. I didn’t trust my gut. 

This event shook me pretty badly. Not just because we almost wrecked, but because I didn’t trust myself. I was afraid of speaking up and embarrassing myself. I think this is a fairly common and unique experience for women. I know that a few female friends I shared this story with identified with those feelings. Society tells us to be quiet. To second guess ourselves. To trust the men in the room. Fuck that.

I don’t want to be that person in the boat anymore. 

Don’t freeze. Don’t stay quiet. Don’t be demure.

Your feelings are valid. Your fears are valid. Your voice is valid. 
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