Sunday, October 31, 2021

relationDips: unpalatable and indigestible

Informally, we might use the word 'yuk' to describe such food which we don't like. We don't though. 'yuk' or 'yukky' tend to be used by children as adults have developed more sophisticated ways of saying they don't like or even can't eat certain foods. Imagine a five year old, sitting at the dining table, staring at a few florets of broccoli, saying, 'Mother, I'm afraid I find these particular vegetables unpalatable and indigestible.'

                                                                    photo source

I think some foods are yuk. Some of the dishes presented to me by my wife aren't appealing at all. Okra for example, is a vegetable I have tried to acquire a taste for but I can't get past the slimy texture. Certain other Asian greens taste okay but require exhaustive chewing to get value from them, and even then there is indigestible refuse to eject. I have a thing about having to put my fingers in my mouth while I'm eating, or having to spit things out. Nothing destroys my enjoyment of a meal like a fish bone jamming itself in my gum. I used to not eat cherries because I wanted fruit to put in my mouth, chew and swallow. I didn't want to have to negotiate a stone, then spit it out once I'd stripped the sweet flesh which surrounds it.

Eating shouldn't be hard work. There's usually enough hard work in the preparation, and the after meal cleaning. For me, eating is the part of the process which is enjoyable, or should be. Even if the food isn't great which is usually the case when I cook, the sitting down and eating should provide sensorial pleasure, and it should be relaxing. I don't enjoy cooking or cleaning, although I do find a certain satisfaction in those tasks. Eating is what I like.

There is something I like more than eating, from which I derive greater satisfaction, but even then not all elements of the procedure are equally enjoyable or rewarding. I love writing, but I don't love trying to find publishers or marketing. I love writing this blog. I've been doing it for 12 years, but thanks to Blogger's decision to change its interface, I'm no longer happy with the process. The writing is great. Adding photos and publishing? Not so great any more. I can write a short story of around 2000 words in a couple of hours. I'll usually spend an hour or so editing it, but then I can spend another hour or more sometimes trying to find a market for the story. After submitting it, I'll have to wait (sometimes forever), for a yes or no. If it's a no, I'll find another publisher and send it again. That isn't fun, but it's a part of the process. I wrote the first draft of my memoir in about six months. It's taken another twelve months after that to get it ready for publication and I can't tell you how many hours I've spent on various marketing endeavours. It will be available from November 22. You can visit the page here. 

There are elements of eating and writing which I don't enjoy, on both the consumption and production side. I don't stop eating after I've had a bad meal (unless it was so bad it made me sick and I couldn't eat for a while). Neither do I stop cooking just because I don't like it, can't be bothered, or I've cooked something inedible. (Ask my children about my lemon chicken.) I don't stop writing because my work doesn't sell well, or because I get a long list of rejections; or even because, again, it's too hard or I don't feel like it. I've read some rubbish books but that's never stopped me reading, and I continue to read experimentally, checking our different genres and authors.

None of these negatives put me off doing things I love doing because in my mind it's worth a bit of pain of discomfort to achieve pleasure and satisfaction. Most people have this attitude to things they care about it, and relationships are no different.

If your expectations meter is set to realistic, you know life isn't all strawberries and butterflies. You understand that weeds grow in your garden faster than roses and that if you don't get rid of the weeds and look after your roses, your garden will be 'unpalatable and indigestible.'

Whatever metaphor you want to use, the point is that good relationships require hard work, and if you're going to do your part, you'll need to push through the unpleasant parts while still giving them your best efforts. If I want to cook a horrible meal, I can avoid fresh ingredients and ignore the recipe. If I don't want anyone to read my work, I won't waste time refining and polishing the manuscript, then trying to marketing it. If I want an unhealthy relationship with my wife, I can easily achieve that by giving up. I can pick out all the unpleasant or unacceptable parts of the marriage and focus on them, using them as excuses for not working hard to make my marriage successful. The 'too hard basket' is always an option for those who lack courage.

The thing is, I want to eat healthy, tasty meals, I want to read inspiring, fascinating books, and I want to write books and stories which move people.  All of this requires effort on my part and it won't always be fun. And more than any of that, I want the best marriage I can possibly have. Loving my wife means I need to make an effort. My relationship with her is more important than food or books. She's not food which I can spit out or throw away. She's not a book I can put back on the shelf, then choose another. She's a person who needs me to love her unconditionally and consistently, to respect her, and to make her feel safe.

Perhaps if people took their relationships as seriously as they did their jobs, hobbies, and other passions, we'd have less broken relationships.

1 comment:

  1. Life is full of challenges that can bring much satisfaction and joy.