What Cookies Taught Me About Self Acceptance

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Going into Barnes & Noble as a teenager meant my friends and I huddled on the floor next to the New Age section, pouring over ways to read auras, tarot, and the stars. We’d sit there and read over our astral signs, previewing the lives ahead of us. Were we earth or water signs? Fire or air? Are we creative or serious? What is it in these books that defines us?

I remember a particular visit with an Aquarius. She glowed at her description: free-spirited, open as air, a creative. And then she read my own Virgo, who was stern, analytical, and had high morals. Hardly anyone my 16 year old self could imagine and far from fun. I was determined to never be a Virgo.

You can imagine how disappointed I was 8 years later when a creative writing professor of mine called me “tightly wound.”

***

I never truly learned how to cook or bake. The one time as a child I remember baking with my mother was a strawberry box cake, and I was bored by the time the box was opened. It seemed so tedious to read the directions, stir in a certain way, to wait. Even the first time I ever served a meal to my parents was a dish of canned V8 poured into bowls. While not exactly cooking, you can’t tell me that’s not gazpacho.

I have patience for people, not food.

***

A few days ago I was discussing the paranormal with a Taurus and good friend of mine. I made her take the 16 Personalities test several days prior, how I kept coming up as an INFP almost every time I took it, and it’s career suggestions not giving me anymore direction than I already have.

With this particular conversation, she was telling me about a psychic reading she had about her future; I was telling her about a tarot app I downloaded that I found amusing.

For her, her reading brought out anxieties about her future, the uncertainties that were before her, the decisions she’d have to make.

For me, I saw the cards I digitally flipped over as a means to read the subconscious. There was nothing spiritual about it other than I was reading what I wanted to read, a psychic generalization where I could project my own wishes and fears. I think my 16 year old self would disagree, and she’d probably think my life today were so Virgo.

***

Many of you know my obsession with lemons — the cleansing power, it’s freshness, how beautifully it blends with all flavors.

Once again craving lemon cookies, I decided to make a batch. It had been years since I made cookies, and I remember my last attempt when what had been little discs of batter became a flat pan full of bread, hard as a rock.

Feeling the tedium of recipes and the waiting and the reading and all of that math, I decided to just wing it.

Eggs? Check. Flour? Gonna use pancake mix. Sugar? All of it. Butter? This might be enough.

They ended up being the most delicious “cookies” I’d ever had. I’m not really sure what  they were. But they were cookie shaped, sweet, tasted nothing like lemon, and tenderly melted when dipped in milk. If I could remember what I did, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

***

In astronomy, there’s a term used to describe inconsistencies in what scientists predict planetary patters to be and what actually exists: anomaly.

I’d like to think of myself as an anomaly, boundless from the Virgo, from the INFP personality. But the truth is that I am so much like a Virgo, so much of an INFP. I’m determined, reserved, ambitious, empathetic.

My 16 year old self is writhing.

I wish my younger self understood that these definitions were not limitations, but doorways, that being a Virgo means that I will use my creativity for good, that I will always be full of passion and determination, and I will have the organizational skills to get there.

Just like the “cookies” I made, I am the sum of my parts, not defined by them, and that it’s best not to take things too seriously, even if I am a Virgo.

 

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