It lay there, beautiful displayed. The setting was perfection. I had been having a wonderful, just-the-two-of-us-vacation. It was our 15th Anniversary. We were alone, at the back of the restaurant, in a traditional Japanese private room. I like sushi…vegetarian sushi…I don’t like fish. Hate it. I’ve tried and tried again, but I still hate it. I knew what was in it – BBQ eel. Yep…I said eel. And raw salmon and banana of all things…
Why did I do it?
I am 43 years old. I have been married for 15 years. Not all good years. In fact, some were really shitty, my heart broken beyond repair. I have been “Mom of the Year” and yet close to strangling my own off-spring. I have changed careers (not jobs – careers) 4 times and gone back to school twice. Some days were easy and on some I thought of pulling the plug – literally, on those darkest days. I have been afraid. Heart pounding, gut wrenching afraid. And I have stood still, paralyzed and unable to move.
I have lived to tell the tale. I have grown stronger with each jagged heartbreak. I have chosen to love anyway because it’s what I do best. I have yelled and screamed and crumpled in a heap in despair. My tears have filled an ocean and my knees are bruised from falling down so often. Each time, I get back up and clear the rubble once again.
There’s been help. Shoulders to lean on, tearful wits-end conversations with people who still love me for some crazy reason. Banks renegotiate loans, parents give support and windfalls come in the nick of time. Someone comes to the rescue before I commit a crime on my own kids. Yes, there has been help and I am so grateful.
Through it all though, one thing was constant. One thing.
There were many, many times I could have let the darkness take me. Times when I could have just said, fuck it. I came so close. But one person would not let me. She was there, she knew that just one more step would move me forward. She pushed me and I took the step, sometimes unwillingly, but I did.
And that is why I ate the damn sushi. I was in the moment. In the perfect spot on a perfect day with the man I love with every part of my soul who actually loves me back.
Really, what other choice was there? Sitting there, wondering what it would be like? How gross it could be? Wishing we had chosen a different restaurant? Resenting him for all the mistakes he’s made? Beating myself up for all the times I’ve been less than awesome? Thinking of the what-if-I’d-done-that-instead-of-this scenarios? Oh, there were a lot of choices I could have made. But…I chose the fish…the raw freaking fish…
I smiled, I chop-stick-handled, I dipped and I stuffed it in my mouth. But…I savored the moment. I chewed and tasted the flavors and the textures. I gave it the “old college try”…
…And I absolutely loved it. LOVED it! I couldn’t believe it. I had more, I ate it without the sauce, I ate it with the banana. Another plate came and it was better than the last. Delicious. I was ecstatic! And I am alive and I am blessed and I am grateful. I wanted to shout from the roof tops, “Sushi rules!” We laughed, we enjoyed, we loved every precious, perfect moment.
…but there will also be many, more days of glorious Sushi and I will savor each and every bite.
I would love to hear your sushi story. We are the same, you and I. Let’s chat! Email Shawna: firstname.lastname@example.org