Identity Crisis

March 5, 2012

I got an email the other day from a lovely woman named K., a reader of this blog. I don’t believe she’s ever commented, but she reads, and she took time to contact me personally.

The jist of the email was this: K. said she really enjoyed my blog and wanted to nominate me for The Homies 2012 awards, but she wasn’t sure what category to nominate me for, and what did I think?

My first thought, of course, was that I was really honored that she’d thought of me.  I mean, there’s some serious, jaw-droppingly amazing company hanging out in those nominations.

My second thought was, how the heck do I answer her?

My answer was completely dorkstore and clumsy, but it went something like this:

Dear K.,

Thank you for writing and for reading! I’m so glad to finally meet you. I’m also really flattered that you thought of me. In all honesty, I don’t know what category I fall into. I’m kind of all over the place these days. I started this blog as a cooking/family blog, but I’ve found myself veering quite a bit into memoir. I don’t know where I fit, truly. Nor do I know where I’m going. I’m trying to listen to my heart, but I have no idea where it is going to lead me. But thank you so much for your kind words.


Okay, I’m pretty sure that K. thinks I’m a nutjob asshole now.

Jeez, lady, insecure much?  A little lost in your own skin, there?

But truly, I didn’t know any other way to respond to her very kind email, because let’s face it, I am all over the place.

When it comes to blogging about food, I’m weird. I just think that it’s so much better if there’s a story lurking in there somewhere. Alas, this is problematic. Because sometimes there isn’t really a story. Sometimes it’s just a damn salad, you know?

I cook things all the time, take pictures, and then never post about it because, well, just posting a recipe without some background, or a connection, bores the bejeezus out of me. Some people pull it off with aplomb, though, with words peppery enough to hold my interest, and I read those blogs with enthusiasm, and usually the photos are amazing, and I think, “So that’s what a real food blog looks like.”

And then some food blogs have very simple photos, some even taken with ancient instamatic cameras, but are written with deft precision and detail, and I think, “So that’s what a real food blog looks like.”

And then some food blogs are very specific and genre-oriented, catering to people who love desserts, or French food, or vegetarian fare, and I think, “How smart. How focused. So that’s what a real food blog looks like.”

This blog, frankly, is none of those things. Yes, sometimes the stars align and I can write a little ditty that has storyline, memory, recipe and photograph (although the photo is always somewhat shitty). Still, posts like that are a victory, in my opinion.

A rare victory.

Because there are other times when I am uninspired, or sad, or overwhelmed–and at times like that I don’t give a rip about food. I don’t want to eat anything but a bowl of buttered rice, and let’s face it, nobody wants to read about that. That’s when I turn to memoir, to writing prompts that jog my memory, to a method that feeds me in other ways, that makes me feel something in times when I’m not sure I’m a feeling creature anymore.

And I’m not ashamed of those posts–well, maybe a little–but you readers are generous enough to wade through all the muddle and confusion, and reach out hands, and for that I am incredibly lucky and grateful.

Also, sometimes I just rant. Or post pictures of Barbies who are up to no good.

And by now, you are all probably thinking, Dana, get to the stinking point, yo? Your arse be boring us.

Sadly, I do not have a point.

It’s just that a really, really nice email from a reader sent me into some kind of nervous episode, which is, in itself, so typical of me that it’s scary. Nervous Nellie, that’s me.

I’m having an identity crisis.

Maybe I just need to go out and buy a red Mini-Cooper. Or start wearing black dresses and pearls like Audrey Hepburn. Maybe I should adopt an English accent, or start smoking French cigarettes?

Am I a person who loves to cook and write? Or am I a writer who likes to cook? Am I a photographer who loves food and decides to write about it (ha! so not a photographer). Am I a mother of small children who turns to the past to clear her head? Am I someone who lives in the past to block out the chaos of the present?

I don’t know. I’ve never known. I’m actually not sure that knowing would help me at all.

But I do know this: thank you for sticking with me, Dear Readers, in this schizophrenic space. You mean the world.

Oh, and also? I do know one other thing. That nervous thing? I’ve always had it. Just ask my Kindergarten teacher.


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

pamela March 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm

I just have to echo everyone else here. Thank GOD you don’t fit in a box and thank you for writing this because then I can stop worrying about the fact that I don’t fit in a box. (Except the 39-45 box. Ugh).


TKW March 10, 2012 at 8:17 am


The 39-45 box kinda sucks. For sure.


Alexandra March 11, 2012 at 9:06 am

Oh, man, that is a perfect post.

I’d say, that could sound like most of my favorite blogs.

Truly: my fave bloggers: you, justine, finslippy, etc.

So quiet, so much going on in the quiet.


faemom March 12, 2012 at 12:03 am

I heart you. You’re amazing writer. No matter what you write.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri March 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Out the box? Not fitting in? Those are my favorite kind of people. xoxo


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