Catharsis in the Kitchen

Following on from my last post about Mindfulness, I wanted to share how it helped me to set in motion a task that I have been avoiding for the last 5 years of my life …

When I was happily married, our kitchen was the favourite room of the house. My husband and I were unashamed foodies – both fond of cooking, buying unusual ingredients, eating at top quality restaurants, visiting every delicatessen we could find. Our idea of relaxing in our favourite holiday destination, France, was to spend our days visiting vineyards and local markets – and bringing back home things that just weren’t available – or were prohibitively expensive in the UK.

After my husband left me – part of me got locked away. It had to in order that I could survive the grief of losing him. It was such a major part of my life to lose in such a short space of time, after 20 years of it being my overriding interest. My kitchen – which was designed and chosen by us both because of our love of everything foodie – became a constant reminder of what I had lost.

For the last 5 years I have inhabited that kitchen – but I have not ‘lived’ in it. I spend more of my time in it than any other room because it is where Rusty sleeps and I love sitting with him as much as I can. It is also the warmest room in the house and I eat, write, cook and wash up in there. It’s where I am now.

The only way I can describe things to you is to get you to imagine an old B&W scary movie, where someone enters a darkened room festooned with cobwebs, with white sheets over the furniture – long ago abandoned and forgotten. My kitchen exists in two realms -: the one that serves its daily purpose for me and the one that is like the haunted house, locked away so that the memories of the past cannot hurt me.

In practical terms it means that there are cupboards I never open – and packets, tins and bottles whose sell-by dates have been and long gone …My worktops are always full of things that I have no room to pack away, because I have been unable to face the thought of delving behind the scenes to make room for them. It really is a beautiful kitchen, but it never has the chance to look the part.

Cooking no longer has the charm it used to hold – and making meals just for myself is no fun – so I guess a part of me ‘gave up’ on trying. It was easier to keep the difficult ‘stuff’ firmly hidden away …

So what did I do today ?

I opened my tall and very stylish larder unit next to my oven and came face to face with my past. Wonderful bottles of ingredients that we had bought together and never eaten – things that I couldn’t bring myself to use. All useless now – but still sitting there waiting for the time when I’d be brave enough to throw them in the bin.

I suppose there comes a time for every difficult task in Life to be faced – and today was the start of my journey to free my kitchen of its ghosts and to free me from the ‘trapped in’ emotions that have gnawed away at me for such a long time. Was it easy ?” “….No it most certainly wasn’t” – and tears have been shed as I write this blog and fully comprehend what I have begun.

It’s just one cupboard and there’s a great deal more to do – both physically and mentally.

But I have made a start; my mind feels clearer and my heart feels lighter. My bins are heavier and full of negative memories and emotions. Tomorrow the dustmen will take them away forever and I will be freer than I was when I woke up this morning.

Step by step, day by day, I will be unlocking more repressed emotions and setting myself and my kitchen free from the past – so that soon I will have mended a part of me that had become afraid to ‘live’ …




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