Thursday, April 13, 2017

Toast: A Life Plan

When you reach your mid-twenties and are still feeling your way toward making your passions into a career, the most common question you receive on any given day from any given stranger (or family member) is: “So what do you want to do with your life?”
It is a question infallibly asked in a crumb-scattered tone and always followed with a readily disappointed smile.
Usually you pull together a semi-coherent response from the shreds of clarity spinning through the rich Silicon Valley of your brain's complex path and manage to put forth a socially acceptable response. Some dulled, calmed, sedated version of what you mean.
But I'm almost twenty-five. I want to begin to respond honestly. And by honestly I mean, I want to look my questioner square in the eye and reply:
“I plan to be more like toast.”
Sadly, people aren't well enough acquainted with toast to allow for this being a passable response. It's always this way in the world: to be given a chance at being taken seriously we must respond with the things people will understand; wanting to be more like toast isn't one of them.
But being more like toast is, to me, a life's work. To be reliable and well-loved. Trustworthy. Life-giving. Nourishing. I want the experiences and relationships of my life to flavor me like gem-tone jams and jellies. The serious business sliding on smooth like peanut butter, the hilarious moments scattered over-top like sliced strawberries or confetti sprinkles. I want to be versatile. I want to be bruschetta one night and an open-faced sandwich another. I want to be dipped in flavored oil here and spread with herbed goat cheese there. I want passion to soften me like dark chocolate heated then drizzled with olive oil – a sprinkle of fleur de sel to draw out the depth of the moment, to savor forever.
I want to taste like home. I want to sustain and to comfort. I want kindness and charity to pour through me like butter melting through the golden weave of a perfectly toasted slice of sourdough. I want to enter a room and be known for who I am: to be the same person every time; able to adapt to the nuances of a rich life without once losing my essence.
For toast, at it's heart, is toast.
You may fix your toast differently each morning, but you know that it is still toast and there's a homely delight in the knowledge. You may use a different loaf of bread...cycling through the loving names we give to all the varieties of leavened magic: rye, focaccia, whole-grain, chapati, sourdough, brioche, pumpernickel. I'm especially fond of pumpernickel – not the bread, just the name. The whimsical, devil-may-care word, pumpernickel. I want to care very little or not at all if I have a funny label or if some people don't find me to their taste. I want to be a person other people come to when they need help or a hug. I want to be what my children beg of me when we're all still half asleep on a rainy Saturday morning. On days of heartbreak or illness or sadness, I want to be “cimma-nin toast.” I don't want to be exotic and temporary and flash-in-the-pan. I want to be...I don't know...wholesome, established, genuine. I want to be the Velveteen Rabbit of women, gaining status as something real through giving myself for others. It isn't a sexy ideal. It isn't glamorous. It isn't alluring, but let's see what has lasted over the eons: Team Macaron or the multi-faceted toast genre?

So the next time a well-meaning, inquiring mind asks what I want out of life, I might throw social graces to the wind and pull a strategy from the pumpernickel playbook:

“What is my life-plan? To be a little more like toast.”

5 comments:

  1. I never realized I was so unacquainted with toast! I suppose I unconsciously started to avoid it due to the whole "don't eat carbs" movement, and now I see what a waste that was.
    "I want to taste like home..." that blew my mind. thank you for helping me realize, that I too, aspire to be more like toast. This made me smile wide, and is a post I will be coming back to again and again!

    Rachel Emily

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  2. I love it! Thank you, Rachel. I feel the same way.

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  3. I love this post, Rachel. Thank you so much. <3

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