Nearly eleven years ago, I had to abandon this blog.
Since then, most of that time I’ve been some flavor of bedridden, because my cardiac output is too low for me to be reliably upright. I’ve repeatedly been over the terrain from unable to walk across the room, to able to walk out into the garden for three minutes but needing to be flat the other 23:57 of the day. That latter state is where I am now. (I know bedridden’s not a perfect descriptor for the latter state, but “housebound” isn’t quite right for that degree of not-able-to-be-up either.)
In 2011 I started writing a blog about my illness. After three and a half years of that, I felt like I’d said about all I had to say about being sick. But despite having been out of the food marketing world nearly as long as I was in it, I’ve never stopped reading about and thinking about food.
This past January, I saw Ruby Tandoh’s tweet about the need for more diverse voices in food writing. I’d already been thinking for a while about starting to write here again, as over the past year I’ve used as much as I can of my long-fought-for energy improvement on small kitchen tasks, adapted to my circumscribed function, and what she said was useful validation for something I’d struggled with when I was writing here the first time around.
I fell ill about six months after I started this blog in 2003. It was my first taste of an experience I’ve come to call poverty of energy.
Poverty of energy’s first manifestation for me was wanting to keep up with the achievements of healthy people engaged in the same pursuits but not having the ability to do the activities that could make that possible.
Because I needed so much rest to keep going even at a reduced level, I wasn’t able to work as a healthy person might on repeating recipes for development or on site design or on getting better at photography. So I had a blog that was not-great at those things, and as a result I always felt like it, and I, didn’t measure up.
That’s why Tandoh’s tweet was so useful. The past eleven years have been one big lesson in accepting a life of not measuring up, and feeling like that might make what I have to say about food and cooking useful rather than require discounting because my pictures will never be magazine-ready was something I needed to hear from the outside.
I hope you’ll grant me the same permission to fall short.