Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You Are What You Value.

Value is an interesting concept.  It is so personal, isn’t it?  People place value on some strange things: trinkets, clothing, places, stuffed animals, linens, photographs, and yes, even food.  A person may value a photograph for a thousand meaningful reasons, and then share the photograph with someone who may struggle to acknowledge or see its value.  Sometimes it seems the stuff we care about is as trivial as a trinket.  Yet there are some gems that are relative to our hearts, because they are based on an experience.

Take the above photograph, for example.  When I took it, I remember thinking, (like the skeptic that I too often am), “Hmph.  Easier said than done.”  I remember wondering, “what if you don’t have a dream, then what do you become? A nightmare?”  I suppose a part of me thought that the “idealist fairy” was floating around Tampa, Florida sidewalks and dusting the street with little optimistic chalk sayings, trying to piss normal people off.

But I was hurting then, and I was very scared. 

Imagine with me, for a moment, that the snapshot isn’t a photograph, but a short film.  The camera pans upward, away from the sidewalk view and into my view.  Standing there, alit by the evening sun, and waiting patiently for me to take the photo, is my father.  He is smiling at me because he thinks I am silly, lagging behind and taking pictures of little chalk writings.  He beckons me to hurry up to him so that we can walk together to the nearby Sushi restaurant.  He is quiet, and tired, but he has saved all his energy to do something special for me on this day: my twenty-third birthday.  He wanted to take me to Tampa so he could treat me to a dinner of my favorite food.  We walk to the hip sushi restaurant and I order a caterpillar roll and a fancy daiquiri with an edible orchid.  

And I, being sentimental, slide over to his side of the booth and coerce him into letting me take the classic “one arm out headshot,” because a part of me knows that this will be my last birthday with my father.   

Yes, it is a sad story.  It is difficult for me to think about this day and even harder to write about it.  The reason I am is because I feel I am finally at a point in my life where I can truly appreciate my 23rd birthday for all that it was.  These three photos tell me something about who I am, and help facilitate me toward the ultimate goal we all want so much in life, the goal to ‘become our dream’. 

The first photo indicates that I was a little lost, but not completely.  I wouldn’t have snapped the picture if I didn’t want to remember the message of possibility.  At the time I was so skeptical, but now it makes me look at the second picture with more clarity.  I was photographing food before I ever started writing about it, or buying it a certain way, or even growing it myself, but I was also trying so hard to save a memory of a time that I could not understand very well.  Why would I do that?  Probably because I wanted to write about it later.

And the last picture, (looking beyond the haircut, of course) is of Dad, and when I think of him, I wince a little because I know he’d be mad as hell that I haven’t finished school yet.  He would have said, “Annie, this really chaps my ass.”  And he never really swore.

 In order for me to become my dream, I must return to school.  Why all this is clear now and not before is something I haven’t yet figured out.  But I think a part of me wants TwinYolks to be much, much better for you, and for that to happen, I need to work hard to become a much, much better writer. 

Don’t worry, TwinYolks is one of my great joys and, at times, my sanity.  I love sharing foods and ideas with you. I love learning from you. You all make me very happy.  I refuse to break up with you under any circumstances, okay?  

Now I think I’ll go make the closest thing to a Japanese Daquiri I can, and toast to you, life, Dad, education, and becoming my dream.  


P.S. No more sad posts coming up, promise. :)


Chantal said...

I want to say that the picture with you and your father is realy nice. I no longer have my parents, my father past away in 2000 and while he was in the hospital for over 7 years, he gave me money so I could go back to school, which I did. My mother past away last year,just after her 78th birthday. I miss them both but I try to make the best of my days. Right now, I am at a still point. I am not working, and that is my choise right now. My health is not top shape and I try the make the best of each day by doing things that I enjoy. Gardening, having lunch with friends and keep in touch with my brothers. I wish your dream comes true, and it will because you have found it and making it happen. It's alsways nice to read your blog.

A.Kelley said...


You are the sweetest. And so encouraging. Thank you for sharing your experience, I'm glad you went and finished school, I really admire that. I'm also sorry to hear about your parents. Please know I adore hearing your insight & perspective and continue to enjoy life and take good care of yourself! :)

Patty said...

Go for it, Annie! Let me know how I can help and encourage you. I think you are an awesome writer already and I hope there is something left for them to teach you.

A.Kelley said...

Patty, you are hilarious, thanks for supporting me already! You just keep doing what you do, I love it. :)

kim said...

heart-rending, inspiring, and beautiful. love you, annie!

anna j said...

Dear Annie,
Thanks to my recent travels and adjustments to a new temporary home [visiting my Mom in New England], I have been a bit out of touch with my online life. So I just got caught up with you blog, having missed it of late, and I am so glad I read this post: it is a poignant, lovely piece.
I am impressed with your skills as a writer, a chef, and a good human being :-)
Also, I think you would appreciate, knowing this, what I wrote on November 30 on my blog post called "on this day" , , , read it, if you like, and have the time . . .

MYDell83 said...

Annie this post made me want to cry. Figuring out my dream and have the courage to follow it is something that i've been struggling to do for so long. For years I thought I needed certain thing (money, time, brains etc.) to be able to do what I wanted, reading this post I got an epiphany. All you need is the determination to be the person of your inspiration. "Becoming your dream" is as simple as making a decision. Thank you Annie for being a writer that can inspire that. <3 Me

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