I hate peas.
There, I said it. I cannot stand peas. I think they are disgusting, both on their own and mixed with other ingredients in a dish.
A few weeks ago, I made a recipe that called for peas. Being the rule follower that I am, I bought a bag of peas and included them in the dish. That evening, while having dinner with my husband, I was complaining incessantly about how much the peas were ruining my entire culinary experience.
“Why did you include them in the recipe?” My logical husband asks.
“Because the recipe called for peas,” I responded with pseudo-confidence, knowing how dumb that sounded.
If I know I hate peas and I use a non-pea based recipe that calls for peas, WHY AM I INCLUDING THE PEAS? YOU CAN DIVERT FROM A RECIPE, MAL.
Growing up is hard; being a responsible adult who pays taxes and gets their car’s oil changed and showers regularly is no joke. However, what I love about getting older is discovering—and owning—who I am. I don’t like peas! My mom made me eat them when I was younger, but now I have the freedom to choose a different vegetable because I think peas taste like sadness.
This sounds so basic, but it’s not always very easy to do. We live with expectations—realized or not—that can barricade us from being our true selves. Expectations that come from friends, family, bosses, our society…they’re everywhere!
Rabbi Zusya, when he was an old man, said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’”
I don’t want to pretend that I’m Moses; I want to actually be Mallory. And Mallory cannot stand peas.
(She also doesn’t like sci-fi, frosting, or clutter.)
Eating peas is a tiny example: As an adult, I feel like I should have a palate accepting of such a typical vegetable; hating peas makes me feel childlike. So I buy them at the store and use them in recipes and choke them down through my grumbles—UNTIL NOW, when I break free of this weird expectation and declare that I don’t want to eat peas anymore! And that is okay.
What about the bigger things in life, though?
For example, to “be” Mallory is to believe women have just as much to offer as men (call me a feminist or whatever). It’s believing in treating with equity those of a different race, religion, and/or sexual orientation. It’s voting for government officials who may be affiliated with a different party than many in my community agree with. It’s saying, “No thanks, I don’t really like [fill in the blank].” If I don’t let those inner truths be reflected in the way I live, then it’s like I’m just choking down a bowl of peas; I’m conforming to some version of myself that isn’t authentic.
It is the best when we can name things about ourselves that feel so deeply true. It’s freeing, and such an act invites those around us to name and claim their own truths. What food or music can you not stand? What do you love? What will you stand up and fight for?
Own it. Don’t try to be Moses or Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King, Jr. Embrace the qualities in them that you admire, but discover who you are, too.
Because what if Moses loved PEAS?!