This is how it will work. You will take something out of your pantry, preferably something relatively dry, and tasteless. Breadcrumbs, oatmeal, stone ground grits. All of these are appropriate, because something must be added to make these foods have flavor. Keep in mind that you will not be cooking with the breadcrumbs, or oatmeal, or stone ground grits, though you will be pouring it into a bowl. Go ahead and do that now. Pour everything out into a bowl, and leave the kitchen.
Now. Go into your bedroom and shut the door tight. No child or dog or neighbor can walk in on what you are about to do.
Framed on the wall, is a photograph, taken the month you became pregnant with your first child. The print is a large one, 11 x 18 or so, and You are standing in a web of kudzu, and there are morning glories climbing from your feet to your ankles. Your hair is long and black, and parted down the middle. You are not wearing any clothing, and there is a look of wild abandon in your eyes. Being newly pregnant will do that to you. You’re not entirely convinced that you’re not carrying a wolf baby, or something with cloven hooves.
Back to the bowl of oatmeal (or did you chose the grits?). I need you to go ahead and pour that onto the floor. Yes, the whole thing. Scatter it, stomp in it, grind the flour or oatmeal or breadcrumbs deep into the carpet. Yell if you want.
Once you are spent, and the floor is a mess, go get your vacuum. Clean up the mess you made, and shut the door behind you when you’re done.
I used to clean for a lady who had a huge nude photograph of herself framed on the wall between her bathroom and walk in closet. Judging by the kodachrome color of the print and the style of the woman’s hair and makeup, it must have been shot in the mid to late seventies, when this woman must have been in her thirties. She stood in a field of flowers, her hands behind her head, a full black bush between her legs.
She was always at home when I cleaned, puttering around the garden or working on her computer. A decade older than middle aged, sedate-looking, kind and grandmotherly, she looked like someone who could make a big pot of perfect pasta out of one egg and a stalk of wheat. When I saw the picture of her as a sort of nymph/earth goddess the first time, I was embarrassed for her, thinking if I had something in my house like that I would take it down when the maids came. Of course, I was twenty-two, and thought the world must end as our bodies grow wider and crow’s feet form around our eyes. Might as well dig our graves and walk to them slowly, while carrying canes made out of gnarled branches. I don’t feel that way now.