I was crying again. I could not help it. It was the onion. It got me again.
All because of that sharp and stinging scent that shot straight through my nostrils, tears filled my eyes and trickled down my face. Through blurred vision, my knife clattered on the bamboo cutting board and I rushed for tissues to wipe my wet face. I tried all the tricks of the trade with the onion to drench it in water before the cut of the knife sliced into it. I tried a candle for the flame to extinguish the scent. I even tried goggles. No luck. The teardrops always came with a vengeance.
Out of all of the many delicious and delectable foods in the world that I thoroughly enjoy, the onion had the most profound effect on me. It was the only vegetable that brought me literally to tears. It was the only vegetable that had a stinging bite to my taste buds when I bit into it raw, and, thus, needed to be paired and even grouped with other foods to bring out the greatest flavors. It was the only vegetable that contained many layers. Most of all, it was the only vegetable that people have compared me to.
“Mary,” this person who shall remain anonymous said, “You are like an onion. You have many layers.”
“I can’t figure you out,” I’ve been told by others.
In addition to being told that I was like an onion, I was also told that I am a mystery, complex, complicated, and, my favorite, an enigma all resulting in an invisible and unspoken wall to others. I took reluctant pride in this for I wanted to be difficult to read in certain situations that required my protection, but then I wanted to be open and easy to read so people could feel welcomed and want to get to know me and develop the deep relationships that I am all about. I contemplated myself as ‘the onion,’ and thought that we are all like onions. We are all not as what we appear as an innocent-looking onion that can actually evoke deep emotions like tears. We are also the most real when we are raw and alone, and our greatest, deepest, and most surprising of flavors are revealed when coupled and grouped with others. We are all full of layers that increase and yet reveal as we get older depending on who we are with and where we are.
Recently, a very good childhood friend said, “I do not know what happened to you, but you are changing. Maybe it is since your hysterectomy. Your emotions are much easier to read now. When you are pissed off, you show it and say it. You’ve gotten feistier.” I responded, “I think the older you get, the more realize that you do not have time and energy to waste on stupid stuff and so you just show it and say it.”
Yes, I am changing. We are all changing. Life and the world we live in are fast-paced, always moving, always changing. Our layers are multiplying and changing and, even maybe, being peeled away slowly in certain circumstances with only the most special of people who can literally peel and even ‘cut’ right through us with their blades. We need to try to take people as they come and need to be and try to work together even more now than ever before with all our many layers.
The first impressions we have of others is just that-- a first impression. It is the very first layer. There is more than meets the eyes with people. What appears on the surface is not what is in our substance. There is much that goes on inside than what is often facades on the outside. Social situations deeply and greatly affect how we appear and adjust.
What are some of your layers? When have these layers been exposed on their own or through the prodding or even ‘cutting’ of others? When have the first impressions you had of others been wrong or even right after you got to know the layers of someone?
If you were a vegetable, what would you be?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,