opal basil

When I was a girl I danced. I took years of ballet lessons, then moved on to jazz and other forms. I loved it, and I danced freely and unselfconsciously. Then, as many girls do, I got a little older and grew uncomfortable in my own skin. I developed performance anxiety. I’ll never forget the day that I stepped onto a stage for a dance competition, and every step I had so carefully choreographed was lost, gone from my limbs and my memory, the minute the music started. The stage was so vast, and I felt so incredibly small and clumsy, with no right to be there, that I panicked.

I’ve been feeling a lot like the halfheartedly gothy teenager I used to be, lately, who refused to pose for photos and hid behind long bangs and eyeliner. Maybe it’s the weather, the relentless grey of the skies, the heavy fog and rain-soaked days, or maybe it’s performance anxiety, the fact that as wowed as I am that this site has been getting so much attention, and has even been mentioned in the same breath as some of the food blogs I most admire, this feeling of “don’t look at me, don’t look at me, I don’t belong here” is rising.

This has been so hard for me lately. I feel flat, uninspired. Monday’s dinner was fine, if rather ugly. Tuesday’s dinner was great, but it was another rendition of a chicken and bread salad dinner we’ve talked about here plenty of times. I have a fridge full of beautiful summer produce, but I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to make for dinner tonight, or tomorrow, or beyond that. I feel like every step I knew so well, every improvisation, has been lost. My head is full of little grey clouds, and I don’t have the foggiest idea how to get my rhythm back.

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