Funny story. My mother has always been a very health conscious woman. Before school ever taught me anything about the food pyramid, my mom was serving up knowledge in the Osho family kitchen. She prepared healthy meals for my brother and me every day before bringing us to school. Oatmeal (little to no sugar/sweetener added), boiled eggs and wheat toast, Korn Flakes, and if she felt like spoiling us, generic Pop-Tarts without the frosting. A 7 year old’s nightmare. All I wanted was some frosting on my Pop-Tarts. Heck, at least some sugar in my Korn Flakes!
It was already a struggle to get me to eat anything, but I gave her an extra hard time when it came to breakfast. We were on a time crunch most mornings & as much as she would have liked to make me sit at the table until I ate all my food, we had to get to school. She’d wrap up whatever remained of my food and told me to eat it on the way to school. Well one day, me being the clever little pain-in-the-butt that I was, I discovered a little hidden pocket behind the back seat armrest in the old Volkswagen she drove at the time. I stuffed my unfinished breakfast in the pocket, closed it up, repositioned the armrest, and proclaimed “finished!” Terrible, I know, but it gets better. I kept this act up for weeks! “But wouldn’t the food eventually go bad?” Yup. “And wouldn’t it start to smell?!” Oh yes. It wreaked.
For weeks my mom struggled to figure out the answer to everyone’s question: “What is that AWEFUL smell?!” I endured the smell, for I knew that I was the perpetrator all along. I kept my secret while she vacuumed, and sprayed, and searched, day after day. I would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for my pesky older brother. One day he was forced to sit with me in the backseat. Inevitably we got into a fight and my poor mom was seconds away from pulling the car over. So my dearest brother created a solution. He pulled down the armrest to create a border between the two of us and my heart dropped down to my bowels. The secret was out. My “food bank” (as my mom has since so cleverly dubbed it) had been discovered. All I’ll say is my mom was not happy.
Fast forward to today and I’m still stuffing away my unfinished “breakfast” into bins and drawers around my room. Except now it isn’t food that I’m leaving to rot: it’s my creations. Much like when I was 7 I often fail to see the value in finishing certain things. Once I encounter an obstacle or make an error, I begin to see the entire project as a failed attempt and lose all motivation.
Recently, however, the “stench” of those unfinished projects has become unbearable. It may not be literal food, but just as with the case of the “food bank”, someone somewhere is praying for the resources and the opportunity to access what I so easily throw away. What I see as unworthy someone else would so eagerly gobble up. I learned that much like my “food bank”, although I may not immediately benefit from the things that I am making in the moment, every poorly stitched piece, every miscalculated measurement, every mistake I make; it is all working together to help me grow stronger and better.
I have since made up my mind to complete everything that I have buried away. As the homie from the Marcy Projects recited back in 2003, “dude, finish your breakfast”. Jay-z later explained in his book, Decoded, that he was once told by a friend to “finish his breakfast” which basically means: finish what you start. Pretty solid concept. So just as he stated in his Public Service Announcement: “that’s what I’mma do”. I decided to pull those old, unfinished projects from their hiding places and finish every last one of them. I decided to finish my breakfast.
Stayed tuned for the next episode of The Debby O Show to see how this ends!