It took years of self-work to get here

“You guys spent the entire time talking about things and having opinions about things,” he said, diverting the topic away from my babble on my recent fascination about personalities. “I thought that we were going to talk about the food.”

Instead of my former reactionary self, I calmly said, “So what about the food?”

“It’s just that you kept talking and talking,” he continued.

But of course, I wasn’t happy about his accusation. We had talked about the food, but he barely said much. I had already mentioned my interest in food and culture, about people of color, cuisine ownership, cultural appropriation. I had mentioned my top culinary experiences and prompted him to share his. So onto more fascinating topics! Like movies and TV! Like what’s streaming on Netflix. Like my writing. Like everything else in my life. My usual thinking about thinking. I was furious about his comment. But with all these years of self-work, I leaned in. “I thought that when you menat hanging out, it meant hanging out. I didn’t understand that it meant talking about “food”, just because we were at a fancy pop-up.

I breathed. He was uncomfortable. He was feeling triggered. He was feeling not with his identity. Like the entire time that I knew him. And instead of setting things on fire, I simply let it go.