I’m a perfectionist. It’s confessional day here at Everyone Is Vegan, and that’s my confession. It’s kind of a messed up catch-22, wherein sometimes I suck at starting things, because I’m afraid they won’t be perfect. Uh…what? I suck anyway because I’m afraid something might suck? Ridiculous, right? I know some of you are shaking your heads and getting your full-body-eyerolls ready, because what a seriously non-problem problem, am I right? But seriously guys, being a perfectionist isn’t all straight A’s and hilarious blog posts and delicious raw vegan cheesecakes (take note: those are all perfect successes from personal experience). No, sometimes it’s about serious inaction, an unwillingness to try new stuff that results in…well, not much of anything. Better not to try a new recipe or activity incase I find out it’s a big ol’ fail, right?
Turns out, failing and sucking are pretty important steps towards learning and growth and stuff. Whoa. If you don’t do something, you’ll never get good at it anyway, so you might as well give it a shot and if you fail or suck – well, lesson learned (hopefully), and give it another try and you’ll probably be better! Also, I’m beginning to think this whole “perfection” thing is a sham, so we might as well Do Stuff and Have Adventures and maybe some experience some Epic Fails along the way, just for fun.
I started thinking about this in terms of the kitchen, where all these principles apply. You’ll never learn to cook if you don’t try, and every time you try something new there’s a chance it won’t turn out. For some reason, this is one place in my life where I’m willing to try new things, to experiment with somewhat reckless abandon, without recipe or rules, because I’ve seen the delicious success that can be created. That said, I got a little reminder of the other side this week.
A few days ago, I made some seriously garlic-y cilantro pesto. I mean, seriously garlic-y. I like garlic as much as the next guy, but something went awry here, and my called-for four cloves of garlic tasted more like about ten cloves, and I got seriously bummed. The next day, I cooked some chickpeas with what I thought was a reasonably sized piece of kombu (that’s a seaweed, it imparts minerals into your cookin’ beans and makes them more digestible and less gassy), and ended up with some seriously ocean-y tasting chickpeas, and the resulting hummus. I reluctantly devoured my sucky recipes with the help of some harissa, nutritional yeast, extra lemon juice and tons of veggies. While I munched on my failure, I figured, what are you going to do, right? Like the great philosopher Bruce Springsteen once said, “you can’t shut off the risk and the pain, without losing the love that remains.” If you live, there’s a risk you’ll fail, but there’s also a risk you’ll create the most delicious something you’ve ever tasted, so I have to think it’s worth that risk.
In that roundabout way, I encourage everyone to try a little kitchen (or life!) experimentation and adventure. Make something outside of your comfort zone, or wing it when you would normally follow a recipe to the letter. You might end up with painful garlic breath, or you might end up creating your best meal yet.
With that sentiment, I’ll let The Boss say the rest. But please, don’t accuse him of fail. It was 1992.