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  • Alexandra Hillenbrand

Cooking is my new Therapy

I'm not usually someone that my family lets cook, and by my family I mean Ryann. We can blame it on the fact that I used to take literally hours to measure out ingredients and chop vegetables. I was so obsessed with the idea of order and perfection that I wouldn't allow myself to deter from a recipe, which meant it took me painstakingly long to make anything. There was also one time that I made meat loaf with two different kinds of meat, stuck them together because the meat was semi frozen and my hands were cold, and then baked it in the shape of a hambone. Yeah. So to be fair, my family has every right to keep me out of the kitchen.

I enjoy looking introspectively, which is fairly obvious at this point. Which means I have realized that the times when I struggled to cook came during periods of my life when I really did not trust myself to be 'good' at things. I had to perfectly prep, follow recipes, and take extended periods to do so because I didn't believe that I was capable of doing things on my own. In fact, it took me until this summer to figure it out. Scratch that, last week. I volunteered to cook dinner one night to give my sister a much needed break. I was tasked with making sausage (the circle kind, if you know what I'm talking about.) With ease, I made a bruschetta pasta salad, and roasted cauliflower. I sat down for the first time not expecting to apologize for what I had cooked. The reviews were in, "fresh and yummy". It's a simple accomplishment, sure, but it's also an important one.

This summer has been entirely transitional for me. I left college unhappy, unfulfilled, uncertain, and unimpressed with myself. There has been so much growth I have needed to do in order to get where I am now, but that doesn't mean that I'm done figuring it out. I made two delicious dinners last week, and today I made my family a peach cobbler without following a single recipe. It really is crazy how much can change in ourselves when we believe we are capable of it. I mean, yesterday I went to a concert and drove myself home at 12 am and I insisted on it so that my parents didn't have to pick me up. Lowkey, am I independent or what?

Cooking is my new therapy, or maybe even just proof that my therapy has actually worked. The process itself, however, feels entirely cathartic, peaceful, and fulfilling. It's just what I need right now, and I couldn't be happier about it. Just look forward to the dinner parties I host whenever I actually move out of my parent's house. Although, tbh you might have more fun with my mom and dad than just me.

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