How To Know if You’re Disguising Your Grief With Anger
Since Witchy’s “secret trauma that forced her to become vegan,” she has been on quite a journey of self-discovery.
“And food discovery,” she adds, as usual reading over my shoulder. I wonder how long before she remembers that I don’t like it when she does that. Or how long before I figure I might as well just accept it and not feel annoyed.
I mean, after all, it’s not that big a deal. And I know she’s just excited to be having this adventure on Medium.
“Oh, yes! I really am!” she squeals, a little too close to my ear. “Oh, sorry,” she adds, on reading that last little bit.
“No problem, Witchy. I should be used to it by now.”
As I was saying…she has been on a journey of self-discovery since leaving the Transylvania Forest and beginning her new life in England.
“And people haven’t always been very nice about it,” she says, her face falling. “I lost all of my friends.”
“I know you did, Witchy.”
“And my home.”
“Yes, it’s been hard for you.”
“And my 712-year-old ex-boyfriend, Vladimir the Vampire — ”
“ — the Pinhead.”
“You’ve had such a lot of change, Witchy, and I know one of the hardest for you has been your diet.”
“It has been terrible! It was hard enough to give up the foods that I loved for centuries. It was extra awful to have to eat strange, new foods that I did not like!”
“Yes…I’ve watched your evolution with that. Remember when you first tried tofu?”
“Oh, my goodness! I hated it so much, I wrote and illustrated a story about it!”
“Yes. There wasn’t much to say. It was short.”
“A one-word story, Witchy?”
“Right. Well, yeah, that pretty much sums up your relationship with tofu. At least in the beginning.”
“I hated it so much. But you know I don’t like to give up — ”
“No, you really don’t.”
“ — and I kept hearing people say how great it was in different recipes — ”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that, too. Can’t say I was too keen on the stuff myself so I was happy to just take their word for it.”
“ — I mean, it’s a slightly jiggly blob of fermented bean curd. Ew. How can that possibly be anything that anyone would want to eat?”
“Yeah…not terribly appealing.”
“And…well…I hate to admit this,” she said, lowering her voice, “but I know I can tell you anything, Liberty.”
“Of course, Witchy. What is it?”
“Well, part of the reason I hated it was that it was — well, it was just different. I was mad at it before I even tried it.”
“Mad at it?”
“Yes, because it wasn’t eye of newt or dragon toes, or my very favourite thing, braised bat with a side of crispy-fried lizard tails. Or curly fries.”
“Yes. Deep-fried pig tails.”
Oh, dear…I hid my squeamishness while Witchy continued.
“Anyway, I was mad at tofu for not being one of my favourite foods. It reminded me of everything I had lost. Not just food, but my friends and my home. Everything familiar.”
“I see. I understand.”
“Of course. It’s hard to deal with so much loss. Especially all at once. You were grieving, Witchy.”
“But…nobody died. Although it was close that one time…when my wonky spell nearly blew up the whole Forest.” A look of guilt washed over her sweet face.
“No one has to die for you to be grieving.”
“No, Witchy, we grieve when we’ve lost something important to us. There are lots of kinds of loss and you had a whole bunch all at once.”
“I sure did.”
“There were lots of friendships, and your boyfriend — ”
“The Pinhead,” she offered, pursing her lips and frowning.
“ — yes, the Pinhead — and your home, your whole way of life. The Forest was all you had known for centuries. And you even lost your ability to cast spells.”
“Well, good ones.”
“Ones that don’t explode anything or cause bodily harm.”
“I mean, like there was that awful time when I crashed my broom into a tree…”
“Exactly, so you can’t even fly your broom anymore. Everything is different now. That’s a lot of loss and you’ve been grieving. Sometimes when we’re upset, we take it out on someone else or blame some other problem. It’s easier than facing whatever hurts the most.”
“Hmm. I had no idea.”
“And that’s why you were mad at tofu.”
“Well, only partly. That stuff was just plain gross.”
“What do you mean? You eat lots of it now, don’t you enjoy it?”
“Yes, but…it took a while. It got better after I had a conversation with it one night.”
“You talked to your tofu?”
“Yup. I did.”
“And what did it say?”
“Well, I did most of the talking. But it did ask me what it had ever done to make me hate it so much. And that’s when I figured out that I’d been mad at it for something that wasn’t even tofu’s fault.”
“Ah. I see. I always wondered why you suddenly started trying new tofu recipes without screwing up your face as if you’d eaten six lemons.”
“Well, now you know. I’m not mad at it anymore.”
“I’m sure tofu is happy about that.”
“Uh…not so much.”
“Because now I eat it.”
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