A Lesson in Sushi


I took this picture yesterday while on my break at work. I took the picture, because I was feeling proud of myself for stepping beyond my comfort zone. The photo was supposed to be a memento of shaking off the silly fear that has kept me from having sushi again more than 7 months after first trying it. For the record, I did like the sushi I had 7 months ago! While I wasn’t sure I would be able to eat all of the sushi, I did expect that I could eat a good portion of it.

My expectations were not my reality. I ate the first piece and found myself chewing just a tad longer than normal. I started on the second piece and felt a threatening tear sting the corner of my eye. My throat constricted, rebelled, and I fought against the urge to gag. I managed to finish the piece I was struggling with, but I ended up throwing the rest in the trash, feeling defeated and hungry.

Maybe I wasn’t fond of the crab, I thought. Sure, I’ve had crab before, even in the sushi that I had months ago, both real and imitation. The rice and cucumber seemed tasty enough, so perhaps I just wasn’t keen on the crab. Although it had been seven months, I do recall enjoying smoked salmon, yam, and veggie sushi over the crab.

What possessed me to pick up some sushi for my lunch yesterday anyway?

At the gym yesterday morning, my coach and I were talking about my nutrition and eating habits. This is something we talk about with some regularity. He is my coach and personal trainer, so it only makes sense that we talk about it. I’m in a food rut right now, which is also something that happens with regularity. I am uninspired & unmotivated to cook. My schedule demands that I be mentally prepared by planning ahead, and yet, as much as I am the sort of person who thrives on planning ahead, I am struggling to do so with meals. Michael made some suggestions, including sushi, to which I commented on the fact that I haven’t had sushi for many months and that I’ve been afraid to try it again.

I don’t even know why I have been afraid. The last time I had sushi was a positive experience. The days leading up to that sushi day were amazing, and I felt like I was on top of the world. Precious friends had given me a wonderful gift. I had just competed at my first Provincials, where I had broken a couple BCPA records. I was on an emotional high and feeling great. I spent an evening with my friend learning how to make sushi, and it was good. 

Since that night I have been reluctant to try sushi again. I have told myself that I lack experience with sushi, that I cannot simply walk into a restaurant and order sushi for lack of knowledge and experience. I figured that since my kids would never even give sushi a try, there was no point in trying to incorporate sushi consumption into my life. Mostly I was afraid that I wouldn’t like sushi the next time I tried it. What if that first and last experience was a fluke?

My lack of planning and current displeasure with food inspired me to give sushi a try yesterday. In all honesty, I have thought about having sushi several times over the past couple of months, but that slight twist of fear has always prevented me from doing so. I work next door to a sushi place. Sometimes they will bring over some sushi for us, and I’ve always left it for my co-workers to enjoy, never trying any myself. After the brief discussion with my coach yesterday, I realized just how strong this fear has been and that irritated me. It seemed silly to be afraid to try sushi again, especially when my previous experience was a good one. My character is stronger than that! Or I think it is. Should be. And so, I got sushi. Sushi that I couldn’t eat.

While I would still like to say that the crab was the culprit, the truth is likely a combination of factors which include the crab and also the events that took place the morning after that sushi making night. I don’t need to share the details here now, but I have never before been in such an emotionally upsetting and devastating situation. The tragedy was not personally mine, but I was there. I was emotionally affected, and that weighed on me far more than I have ever acknowledged or admitted. Would it honestly be that much of a stretch to think that there is a connection between my fear of having sushi again and the trauma that took place that morning?

I remember a moment during my first pregnancy, when I was sipping on a sparkling flavoured water. Clearly Canadian Wild Cherry. My favourite! Although I didn’t have morning sickness very much at all, on that day, as I sipped my beverage, my stomach rolled and I heaved it all into the toilet. I could never drink Clearly Canadian again.

Maybe this sushi thing is like that? Perhaps. Yet, I don’t know. Aside from the Clearly Canadian, I’ve never had a similar reaction to any food. Okay, so I’ve never had an experience quite like this either, but I still think that I ultimately do like sushi. There will be another time for me to try sushi…just maybe not crab.



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