May 9, 2011

crisis of faith

It's nearing the end of semester and honestly, I can't wait.

I haven't posted in a bit because I've been struggling just to get enough sleep - so much school (and so early) and work and homework and other lifework have made it so that I have had little room to breathe.

There was one particular bad day where I was so exhausted I sliced the tip of my left thumb while cutting bread, and then I was helping prepare for a school fundraiser by hand-shredding some cheese and my thumb was hurting and the cheese wasn't shredding at all, and I stood there for half and hour with only about a handful of cheese shredded, and I just started crying at the futility of everything.

It's times like these that I feel very deeply the nonrenewability of energy and the unsustainability of pushing oneself to the brink of exhaustion.

Also I have come to know just how valuable it is to have people around you who are going through the same thing, who you can trust to work with and feel safe in joking with, because however intangible that is, its effects in combatting exhaustion are unparalleled.

And I know because I've lost that.

Really, in culinary school I was seeking what I missed about AmeriCorps - the really intense hands-on work with people who are similarly passionate. And I thought I found it. But I'm doubting that now. And it's hard to come to terms with why then, exactly, I undertook the life-altering move to do this.

I've learned a lot, yes, but I'm not sure if I should continue on.


  1. Culinary school is tough. I haven't been through it and can't sympathize, but I have heard how tough it is.

    It is up to you. You've learned a lot already it seems. Maybe it is enough to be a wonderful cook for friends and family while pursuing something else?

  2. oh this made me sad. i can sympathize with the feeling of futility - both in following a conventional path and even in following a passion. but i do want to say that i spent a period glued to the food network, discovered how amazing the art-science of cooking is, and admire that you've pursued it. you're a strong person and i have no doubt you'll get through this whatever you decide to do, jo. sending good wishes from afar, reim

  3. Just the other day, I sliced the tip of my left thumb while cutting tomatoes. It hasn't completely healed yet, and still hurts when I do things with my thumb (which is pretty much everything I do...) But it will heal eventually...

    I always find that the brink of exhaustion is exactly the place where I learn the most about myself and about what's really important to me. It's important to be at the brink of exhaustion every now and then... because you find that you do get the energy back, and that you survive it, just like you've survived everything else, and at the end of the day you're a stronger person because of it.

    Of course, having a break afterwards certainly helps! So what are you doing after the semester ends??

  4. Emma: Quitting and going back to home-cooking is very tempting for me. But I still want to learn all those things that are hard to learn at home, such as bread-making (which I did!!!). I'll take this summer to think about it.

    Reim: Thank you so much for the encouragement. I really love the art-science of cooking too, I just don't want to lose the passion that I followed out here. (And how are you doing by the way? I wish I could read about your life! Update me please!)

    Chris: My thumb is rather healed! And I think my next post will be about exhaustion and what I learned. After the semester ends I plan on relaxing for a week or two, then I'll be working one or two part-time jobs (which will still be relaxing compared to school, haha).

  5. It's early in the game to leave the program. Could be wrong but I believe in five years myriad people from the entire Western lands will be fighting to get into the City College of San Francisco/ Ocean Ave. program or something like that.