Did you know I used to dream of being an artist? Of course, I also wanted to be a lawyer, a Special Education teacher, a president, a chef, and a number of other things, but I was actually quite serious about art. In fact, I had a genuine passion in art, and I don’t mean doodling in class.
I remember when I would get so excited over a new set of pencils. I would save up my allowance to buy new sketchbooks and art materials, and rush back home to use them at once. I would take such pleasure in sharpening each pencil, brushing my fingers across the bumpy surface of a bristol sketchbook. When I saw a picture or a particular scenery that pleased me, my fingers would itch to grab my pencil and recreate it on paper.
But one day, something else took over that passion. Something called Obsession.
Since then, I have not done any artwork for 4 years. More specifically, I have not had any desire to do any artwork for 4 years. My mind and my desires were as blank as an unused sketchbook. I didn’t even have the room in my eating disordered mind for the thought of just picking up a colored pencil and sketching away on a blank sheet of paper didn’t. In fact, all my previous passions had been wiped away: my love for reading, drawing, skating, shopping, and any other normal activities became anemic as my eating disordered obsession took over. How could I sit still and draw, when I could be up and about burning calories? How could I concentrate on the shading of an object, when thoughts and anxieties about food kept interrupting me?
Obsession. There is a major difference between obsession and passion. Passion is a strong, but regulated, emotion you feel for something which gives you great joy and productivity. It is a major part of your life, but doesn’t rule over it. Instead, it facilitates all other aspects of your life by pumping you with constant adrenaline and happiness.
But Obsession is just a feverish bondage by something which basically takes over your life and inhibits you from all joy and regularity. It steals everything else away from you, it gives you no fulfillment, no purpose, no pleasure. It just sucks and sucks at you until you are left dry, and all you have left is that raving hunger for whatever you’re obsessed with.
I haven’t been in recovery long enough to gain back all my previous passions. I have to admit that I still have trouble stoking up all the interests and ardor I used to have in different subjects and hobbies. And I also have trouble discerning true passion from obsession, such as exercise and cooking. How do I know if my love for running and cooking doesn’t stem from my eating disordered past? There’s a fine line, and I’m still grappling to stay on the healthy side of passion instead of obsession.
But…one thing is sure. I’m feeling the fire inside me again—the passion for art. Actually, it might all be thanks to Christina. On her birthday last year on October, I happened to pick up a pencil in years, and I drew her a nervous picture for her. And something inside me was instigated. So I signed up for an art class this semester. And I love it.
It was tedious at first…3 hours of class is just way too long for me who can barely make it past a 1-hour lecture. But I’m starting to enjoy it more and more. The quiet sketching noises that my charcoal makes against the paper, the meticulous shading, the unique observation of an everyday object. It’s oddly melodious, so blissfully peaceful.
I’ll share some of my artwork next time, but for now, let me tantalize you with a true culinary artwork— the Tunnbrödsrulle. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, I have no freaking idea. But I saw it on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation, and I just knew I had to recreate this delicious monster.
A tunnbrödsrulle is the perfect hangover food in Sweden. It’s sold along the streets, and it’s a wrap of grilled hot dog, mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, mustard, ketchup, lettuce…Basically, the most outrageous combination ever…but goddamnit, it looked freaking good!
Sophia’s Tunnbrödsrulle (Asianized Swedish Wrap)
The directions are idiot-proof. So, you have this wrap. Put nori on one side: Add the grilled hotdog: This and the following week will be insane for me. The workload is almost crushing me, but I’m trying to keep my head cool. Perhaps I’ll have another tunnbrödsrulle. Gosh, I really need to find out how to pronounce it. My coolness level would totally ratchet up several notches. Question of the day: What is your passion? Can you differentiate between your passions and obsessions?
Okay, I have no patience to take a picture of every ingredient— add all the rest of the ingredients:
Roll up, and munch.
Gorgeous. Have you seen anything like this? It is most definitely a culinary masterpiece. But it’s not so fun covered up like that, so let me show you the insides once again…
Yes, yes, that’s it!
Hold it right there! Perfect shot, baby!
I see Oscars! I see Grammys! Oh wait…what is the art version of Oscars and Grammys? Oh well, point is, it was beautiful. And it was just as wonderful in my mouth, too.
Don’t get weirded out by the ingredients. I’m really starting to like the Swedish. Ikea, Abba, and now this? Geniuses, I tell you.
By the way, if anyone knows how to pronounce it, do enlighten me. I’m dying to share with my friends about this wrap, except I don’t want to sound like a fool. And “Swedish wrap” just doesn’t sound as exotic and exciting as tunnbrödsrulle, does it?
The directions are idiot-proof. So, you have this wrap. Put nori on one side:
Add the grilled hotdog:
This and the following week will be insane for me. The workload is almost crushing me, but I’m trying to keep my head cool. Perhaps I’ll have another tunnbrödsrulle. Gosh, I really need to find out how to pronounce it. My coolness level would totally ratchet up several notches.
Question of the day: What is your passion? Can you differentiate between your passions and obsessions?