If you've ever eaten a meal prepared by me in my home that requires any kind of chopping or slicing, it's likely that my red knife was joyfully employed in the process.
Yes, I said joyfully. Every single time I pick up my red knife, no matter how mundane the thing I'm chopping up is, I get a huge ol' smile on my face!
I don't know if you have realized this about me yet, but I can find happiness in almost anything.
I also don't know if you know this, but for a long time that was very difficult things for me to remember how to do.
See, in the way way beforetimes, I was married to another person that isn't Mickey. I am not even married to Mickey now, but who knows what the future holds, right?
And well, that first husband person didn't "get" me as a person at all. I mean, hell, I didn't even really understand or accept myself back then, either. So, while he wasn't the greatest by any stretch of the imagination, I have to take some responsibility for that mistake. I should not have gotten married. I knew better deep down inside.
However, a lifetime of being taught that the things that you felt were wrong or too much made it very hard to trust my feelings, so I shoved them aside and got married because "it was the best thing" for me.
It... was not.
Obviously, I was still a high-masking people pleaser with very little previous evidence that it was okay to just be Jacki.
That extended VERY much into my kitchen and cooking life. I could go into lists on lists of what I was allowed to do, cook and eat in the kitchen, but I will tell you that I wasn't "allowed" to have Cherry Coke Zero.
Or nachos. And that's just the beginning. And it gives you an idea of what I was working with. And if you knew me back then, I'm sure you had no idea anything was amiss ever.
That's how good at masking I was, y'all. I didn't know how to actually be ME. I knew how to perform as whatever people who "cared" about me told me to be. And that's one of the reasons why unpacking all that and unmasking into my true self has been so scary.
Getting divorced was the first big step towards that. One of the first things I did when I moved out was purchase my red chef's knife. It's a smaller one, because I have smol hands, y'all.
I figured I'm on my own now and can have fun in the kitchen. Even though I was restricted in what I was "allowed" to cook while I was married, I still enjoyed cooking very much and was actually pretty good at it.
A red chef's knife was something I'd wanted for a while, but it was repeated dismissed as "silly" and "for people younger than me." I think I asked for one at every gift-giving holiday, but instead was gifted clothes that were too small for me so I could "grow into them".
He said that with a wink, like it was cute to give me body image issues. (That I'm still working on every single day.)
So the red knife represents a lot for me. Freedom, for one.
Safety, for another. Because while it was scary venturing out on my own as a single mom, it was worth it.
Every time I use my red knife, I reminded that I can be strong, even though my brain is screaming at me otherwise.
I'm reminded that I can trust my gut and make wise decisions.
I'm reminded that having fun while cooking is okay!
I'm reminded that adults love color too.
Using that knife feels like an emotional experience - cathartic almost.
The sad thing is, we've upgraded our knife selection significantly, thanks to Mickey's subscription to Bespoke Post mostly. We have a wonderful selection of very sharp, quite fancy knives.
I still reach for the red one every time. Although, I'll always use my mezzaluna for cutting herbs. It's another joyful feeling - I always wanted a mezzaluna!
At the old house, I sharpened my red knife regularly but have gotten out of habit since moving up here. To sharpen my red knife, I used a rod sharpener in our knife block, but when we were deciding what to take with us, I forgot completely about this habit (thanks Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory!)
So my favorite chopping utensil has been getting kind of dull and I was getting sad about it.
Then, the other day, we were at the local surivival store shopping for weatherproof boots Mickey and saw a cheapie sharpener at the checkout.
"Do you want it?" He asked.
My initial gut instinct was to say no - it always is. I know that it is rooted in being told for so long that my wants were silly or pointless, so that is what my brain tells me. I am working to heal this part of me.
But I did want it, so I said so and I said why. (healing!)
When we got home, Mickey removed a smallish wooden box from the top of the fridge and called me in there to observe its contents.
It was filled with sharpening stones of many different varieties.
Things I knew we had, but also completely forgot existed. (thanks again SDAM!)
Mickey then made sure to place the sharpener box within my eyeline so that I can put them to use.
Which I did this morning.
I'm ready to slice properly once more!