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.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
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