Tonight, I had cookie dough, wine, and a banana for dinner.
I decided to have a few people over for a Christmas-housewarming party because 1) I have put up a tree that is beautiful and I would like other people to enjoy it, too; 2) I feel myself spiraling into the winter blues and felt a holiday party would be a good way to claw at the edges of my sanity to slow the descent into dark, winter madness; and 3) it gives me an excuse to bake. Also 4) now that it is winter, i do not wish to leave my house and therefore will resort to any means to entice others to come here so that I do not have to leave.
On the street, people are meowing loudly. Through the floor below my feet, a dog barks incessantly. A small dog. A dog I would like to strangle.
There are many, many things to love about my new apartment. I could probably sit here most of the evening listing them for you, but I'll try to keep it to the biggest. First and foremost, there is no giant, loud, crazy person here judging me, speaking ill of me behind my back to her friends, yelling, or taking up space in the fridge. It is glorious to finally be alone after two years of living with people in small spaces. Glorious. Secondly, I now have a real living room that is not also a tiny hallway in which to entertain guests. See number 4 above. I have lived here for a month and comfortably entertained more guests than I ever had in the entire time I was in my last apartment. Thirdly, there are no drunk teenagers yelling outside of my window at 2 in the morning. Or 3. Or 4. No more 2 am trash pickups. No more sirens. The only sound is of the door across the hallway occassionally opening and closing; the rumble of the train carrying across the frozen air; the tires swishing down the avenue; the occassional person meowing loudly on the street. And that damn tiny dog, but that's only sometimes.
Also, I now have room to bake. I've always been more of a baker than a cooker, and I still don't understand how one can understand baking in an intuitive way and freeze up in the face of things like vegetables and meat. But I understand baking, and it understands me. We are one, me and the butter and sugar and flour and eggs. And so, because I'm having a holiday party on Saturday and because my heart is hurting and because it is something that I know I can do well, tonight I made sugar cookies. And I thought about all of the things I feel like I'm terrible at or that I just don't understand--men, writing, relationships--and then I looked at the 7 dozen or so perfectly browned, beautiful cookies I just baked, and I felt relieved that at least I understand something, at least I am good at something, at least, even if I cannot bring joy in ways I would like all the time--why can't I be happy with anything I write?--at least the cookies are good and the people who come to my party will like them, and it brings me joy to bake them. And even though it is such a small thing, making cookies, it calmed me and centered me, and now I'm not feeling so bad about the writing that is frustrating me or the boy that has hurt me, and even if I was, I've got 7 dozen cookies at my disposal to soothe me.