Lo Mein Kampf

I am a 26-year-old female who is at the height of her career, married to a wonderful, handsome dude and I’m not terribly overweight.

I’m not happy.

I’ve been working as a Certified Emergency Nurse and Trauma Nurse Specialist for about four years now and have found fulfillment some days. I’ve felt badass, I’ve felt useful and I’ve been incredibly proud of myself. I save lives and I’m making an honest living. So, why the hell am I still unsatisfied?

I never dreamed of becoming an ER nurse as a kid. I’m probably too selfish a human being to be happy with only helping other people for the rest of my life. There’s no creativity in it. I don’t get to express myself in standardized work. Trust me, if you put a toe out of line, you’ll be working in a nursing home next shift.

I am not following a childhood dream. I feel like I need a vacation from my life, regularly. In the Little Miss Christian County pageant, when they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I matter-of-factly stated “a cowboy and a baker.”

I’ve recently acquired an office role in order to obtain some calm while I sort through my thoughts. Do I actually love this career and I’m just temporarily stressed? Should I ditch out?

I ate my first fine dining meal with my now-husband, then-maybe baby daddy at Augie’s Front Burner in Springfield, IL. We had martinis and scallops. I will never forget the sensation of fish melting in my mouth with a slap in your face umami saltiness, the sweetness of the flesh and ashy crunch of the sear, sour vinegar in the marinade. Literally, every flavor was present in one piece of fish with no frills.

I immediately bought six scallops and cooked each a different way, serving and “plating” each of them for my husband.

I remember they weren’t good by any restaurant’s standard, but the concept was there. I began my life as self-dubbed “foodie” (god, kill me) and hop from restaurant to restaurant and try new dishes, my husband I noting the flavor profiles back and forth to one another. We married last year and our culinary knowledge has grown with our love. We contrast cooking methods. I research chefs in my off-time and ogle pictures of uni. If I could wear food as clothing or hang it on my walls as art, I probably would.

Now, I stand idly by playing with scraps of maitake in my crappy apartment kitchen with my temperamental oven while my best friend from college is working under Keller in Yountville. Fuck me.

My husband is working three jobs because Illinois hates teachers and we don’t anticipate being able to relocate for at least two years.

Someone asked me the other day what my “hopes and dreams” are. They said, “just say it. don’t think.”

Without thought, I said “I want to be a Michelin star chef.”



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