Home Cooking Videos Showed a New Side of CMT Symptoms
I’m no Gordon Ramsay. And it’d be insulting to actual professionals if I were to call myself a chef or even a home cook. However, I do feel fairly comfortable in my kitchen.
I enjoy cooking, and not just as a means to provide myself sustenance. I love the way cooking celebrates the transformation of ingredients and how the correct application of techniques can make even simple things delicious.
Even the mundane aspects of cooking I find fun. And I like the pursuit of better knife skills and finding more precise methods to apply the just-right amount of heat.
But recently, when I recorded a video of myself cooking for a project my family is working on, I came to a realization: Despite any confidence I may have in my competency with basic knife skills, I certainly don’t look like it. And I’d understand why anyone who watches me cook would have serious doubts about anything I stated in the first two paragraphs of this column.
Although I was never aware of it, my pinky contorts in odd ways whenever I grip my knife to chop vegetables. Despite how confident I feel with my movements around the stove and the cutting board, my hands shake more than I realized.
Watching these moments play back as I was editing the video project gave me time to think and reflect on these visual reminders of my Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. For much of my life, my CMT symptoms were limited to my legs: an awkward gait, a propensity for epic falls, and knees that buckle. And in that way, I’ve been pretty lucky.
But while ruminating over the feelings that well up when I watch the footage I recorded, I’m also reminded, once again, that oftentimes learning to manage worsening CMT symptoms is not just a physical or logistical struggle. It’s also a bit of an emotional one.
I think, “Wow, has my CMT gotten that bad?” and, “Is this how I look to other people?”
It’s frustrating to see my limitations played out so clearly in front of me. And it requires me to swallow a bit of my pride.
But I know I can’t go through life always worrying about how others may perceive me. I should be kind to myself and just do what I enjoy doing, no matter how I look.
I’m confident in the traits and core beliefs that make me who I am. And while it is true that my skills in many of my physical pursuits may plateau or diminish due to my CMT, it doesn’t mean I can’t have fun along the way.
At least these are the things I tell myself. I’m still working on not getting so easily frustrated.
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