It was a terrible, terrible Monday.
I hate going to the dentist. I mean, I really hate going to the dentist. Last summer I had my first cavity at the tender age of 23, and its worth mentioning that I sat in the chair staring at the dentist for 15 billable minutes, jaw clenched together like a kid who won't eat her vegetables.
Anyhow, Monday I had to get another cavity filled after work. The day was long. I sat at my desk with my stomach in knots. I tried some breathing exercises in the car on the way over, to no avail. By the time I climbed into the chair, my nerves had escalated to full-on freakout mode. I sniffled and whined throughout the procedure. Afterwards, I was released to my sweet husband, who had come to retrieve me as though I had just endured Same Day Surgery and couldn't drive. He even brought me flowers. He shook my dentist's hand, apologized for my behavior, and carted his teary wife home.
I was miserable. Miserable because I had been stressed all day, miserable because the nitrous oxide had made me feel drunk and woozy, miserable because I had just sobbed in front of my very kind dentist and needed to be picked up with flowers, and miserable because now I couldn't feel my face. At all. Needing something to distract me from the discomfort, I made my way into the kitchen and did what I do best: started to cook.
Cooking is one of the most relaxing things I can do. I know it isn't that way for everyone. Some people get a lot of peace from listening to music, or going out for a walk, or maybe a spin in the car. Have you ever driven to work or school and realized once you got there that you didn't remember the drive? You were alert, responding to stimuli around you, actively braking and accelerating and doing all the tasks you needed to, but your mind was somewhere else. That's where I often find myself when I am stirring, simmering, chopping and browning. The distraction was exactly what I needed to take my mind off that awful feeling in my chin, that paralyzed reminder of my terrible day.
Sure enough, as the soup began to come together, the grains of rice plumping and carrots softening, wisps of steam rising from the pot, I began to feel the first tingles of sensation returning to my face. Like waves gently pulling away from the shore as the tide goes out, the tension in my shoulders began to ease with each passing minute. The house was filled with the savory, comforting smell of chicken soup, and all was finally right with my day.
Have you ever cooked your troubles away? What did you make? What else helps you unwind at the end of a long day? Comment below!