The Conch Girl Project
Recipe for Bridget’s Kitchen:
- A kitchen of one’s own, of one woman’s own, where she can leave as many trace as she pleases with no worries of judgement.
- A space filled with lively flowers and rage
- and where she feels safe to let another woman who she’d never met before in to cook in complete solitude for 5 hours.
- And a lot of stuffs for baking: three different kinds of flours, baking soda, white and brown sugar, vanilla extract, the measuring cup, etc.
- First, put on the dress that embodies you with spring, the season that nourishes.
- Then, put on the apron and merge into the arrays of flowers.
- Merge into the kitchen of flourishment, vulnerability, articulated disappointment, helpless idealism, and desperate hope.
- Merge into the kitchen of a woman’s.
- For this kitchen you chose to bake a cake. The joyful sweetness made with heated danger and destined long wait. It is what matches this kitchen (and the owner) the best.
To Conch Girl: A Response
I don’t like to have guests. Maybe you can stop by, but don’t linger. Let’s have dinner at yours. You can walk me to my door. A kiss goodnight and then make your exit. My home is my sanctuary, my refuge. A cave where I can cloister myself away from the world. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.
My childhood dream was to have a room of my own. A place to decorate on my own, to fill with treasures. To keep my possessions possessed. To wake up when my body was ready. To turn to lights out when I wanted to sleep. To make noise. To dance and sing and scream and yell. To be neither seen nor observed. To wallow in my bad thoughts without fear of intrusion. A door behind which I was truly allowed to be myself.
I did it! Mission accomplished! Young Bridget would be so proud. Wouldn’t she think I’m cool? What a life! I’m so successful and interesting! Look at all the strange and beautiful things I surround myself with. Filled with hobbies and passions and energy of being alive! A place to make and create, filled with sweetness and delight! It’s mine, mine, all mine! A life well lead!
Don’t you envy me? Don’t you envy me falling asleep in my cozy bed made perfectly to my liking and I fall asleep alone, dreaming of time with imagined someones? Baking elaborate confections that will go stale in the fridge as I pick at them for weeks? Spending my days pacing around these four walls? What a pretty little cage I’ve made for myself.
You can look but don’t touch. If you get too close, you may be left wanting. What if you think of me like an impressionist painting? From a distance, my life looks beautiful and intoxicating, full of color and emotion. But when you get close, it’s just meaningless blobs of paint, uninteresting filler, ugly and empty.
I’m afraid of a lot of things. Dying. Dying alone. My mother dying. My father dying and me having to take care of my mother. Getting pushed in front of the subway. Rape. Flesh eating bacteria. Losing control. Being a disappointment. Making mistakes. Showing my ugly self. Not being worthy of love. But I’m working on it. Step 1: let a stranger into my kitchen for a few hours. Vulnerability may be scary, but at least there will be cake at the end of it.