The bad potato

We can’t always tell by the skin of the potato if it’s going to be good or bad to eat. Even if it’s firm and look like the others when we buy it, it can still be bad in part on the inside. We just have to boil it and see.

It was also a case of a bad potato when I was about 14 years old, that became the lesson to what to be allowed to say no to, regardless of who gave it.

I used to have problem eating and my parents would stress and scream at me to finish the plate, even if I felt ill. They thought I might be anorectic but I never once wanted to be so skinny, rather the opposite since I have a small chest, that I felt (and heard) were too small. When I look at old photos, I can see how happy and healthy, and even a little chubby, I looked until I turned six years old.

What happened?

The stress by our dinner table (and the school cafeteria) became unbearable, but I survived on chocolate and cookies inbetween.

During spring in 8th grade, I lived on my school counselor’s big dairy farm for a couple of months instead, while my parents were getting a divorce. It was always peaceful and nice to eat with her family, even with simpler dishes, and she taught me how to say a children’s evening prayer and to drink hot water with much sugar in, that she called “Silvertea” when I was feeling ill.

One day when I was sitting at the table trying to eat all, Gunnel looked at my food and noticed how one of the potatoes were bad and told me to not eat that, and that I can always say no to that.

Years later, it struck me that I wanted to say no to many things at home, but never felt safe to.

Anyhow, not having money makes it equally bad and hard to say no, because then what if I won’t have anything to eat? Or someone tries to stop me again from, whether by screaming at me or shortages caused by delays? We still have to be allowed to say no, and respected when we do. And choose what to buy.

It took a couple of bad potatoes during spring here in Portugal, to be reminded of that.

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