Tuesday, October 16, 2007

cinderella story

I had the great good fortune of meeting up with my aunt M and her partner M (M&M) for dinner at Broder’s in Minneapolis Sunday night, on my way to a business meeting the next morning. (And yeah, the butternut squash ravioli in a sage butter sauce topped with spiced walnuts was pretty much out of this world. Did I mention the sage butter sauce? Yeah. Blast off.)

I’ve been feeling so lonesome for family out here in the Midwest, and a little bit silly for forgetting that my aunt was right next door, but that’s been remedied, and it’s been *so good* to catch up and hang out and talk about things that matter with someone whose life intersects mine in one of those Venn diagram kind of ways -- shared family, places, and passions; different perspectives, variable angles, always illuminating.

The theme that we kept circling around over dinner like Io around Jupiter was the courage it takes to be yourself -- really really really be yourself.

M (my adopted aunt M, M’s partner) shared a story of a friend of hers who came out late in life. Prior to summoning the courage to leave her ultra-conservative husband and embrace what she knew to be true about herself, she wrote a little note and carried it in her shoe. I don’t recall the exact language, but the gist was declarative, something like: “I’m actually interested in women.”

She wanted it to be there, so that it would be found in case she died while living the life she found herself constrained in. A life that was not entirely true to who she knew herself to be. A life that imprisoned her.

In case she died, she wanted people -- anyone, “Goodwill even”, M said -- to know: “This is who I really am.”

And she carried it, wore it, walked on it daily. In her shoe.

Hearing the story leveled me. Living like that. Knowing what you needed to do. The silent calling out, hidden from everyone else, until you’ve summoned the courage to live out loud. And then, finally: doing it.

Without the payoff the story’s a tragedy. A scrap of paper that falls to the floor at the Goodwill.

With the payoff it’s just right.

Makes me wonder about the messages I've hidden in my own shoe.


Lolabola said...

tell me you call her Auntie Em!

What a great post, do you ever feel like there are so many things hiding in your shoes that they keep falling out unnoticed and forgotten?

Also, sage tea is a new addiction. Well okay I stick some in my mate. (the herb tea, not the guy) freshly dried is the best. your fabulous pic just made me crave it and I'm drinking it right now anyway.

suttonhoo said...

yum -- that sounds good -- I've been digging mate lately -- I'll have to toss in some sage.

thanks for the sage advice. ;)

anniemcq said...

D., did you ever go to Marco's supperclub in Seattle for the fried sage with aoli dip? Out of this world. But I'm wanting that squash, like, right NOW>

What a great story. I love the idea of carrying your truth in your shoe.

I, Rodius said...

The thought of the note falling out of a shoe at Goodwill made me think of that website to which people send postcards with a secret written on it. A friend bought a purse at thrift shop, but didn't use it for over a year. Then she discovered a beat-up gold ring in it that she's been wearing on her thumb ever since. I'm going thrift store shopping this week for a blue blazer; I hope there's a piece of the previous owner in the pocket. Well, not a piece of... You know what I mean.

Kari said...

What an amazing story. I think you know what you're carrying with you when you're ready to know. I had too many notes stuck in too many shoes for far too long, which is why I finally started wearing flip-flops. (And now I'm just obnoxious.)

mrtn said...

Mmm. Sage butter sauce.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I've been living without a kitchen for three months, after we moved into the new apartment. We've been living off a microwave we have sitting propped up on a chair in the living room. I haven't prepared a meal from scratch for more than 5 weeks. I walk by our local butcher every day, and my mouth waters.

So anyway, the kitchen gets delivered tomorrow. Assembly takes two days. Prrrr.

suttonhoo said...

mrtn: that's not living -- that's subsisting. so glad to hear it'll be over soon.

ms. mcq: YES. hit Marco's time before last I was back in Seattle *just so I could have some of that sage*. did you ever figure out how to do it? it's like they flash fry it with a flame thrower or something... so not greasy... so absolutely perfect.

i.rodius: I used to work with a guy who was fond of quoting his mother who said: "every boy needs a nice blue blazer." I found it kind of endearing.

kari: note to self: new shoes.

mrtn said...

I've heard that you can flash fry sage in hot oil and put it on brown paper immediately. The oil should soak out, and the sage should be crispy but retain its taste. It's an interesting technique which supposedly works well, especially if you're already preparing another dish which needs large amounts of hot oil (falafel?).

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