My husband wants to buy me a new stand mixer. He claims my current one is dying, that the motor is making an awful noise and the new ones have necessary features this one lacks.
I keep saying no. My mixer works fine. Sure I’d like a cover for the bowl – one of the nifty pour spout shields would be cool. And a larger, glass bowl would be swell. But I’m keeping that mixer.
It’s the spoils of war.
20 years ago, I unwrapped that coveted appliance. It was a gift from my then in-laws. Truthfully, it was more for their son than for me, his wife. He fancied himself quite the chef and they encouraged that dream. He made three things: gumbo, cheesecake and a giant fucking mess that he didn’t clean up.
But I used it and loved it, never caring that the little boy I married considered it his. And when our marriage was little more than flaming wreckage, I made sure that the box with the mixer stayed with me. He asked for it back. I refused. He had his mother call me. I ignored her reasonable argument that the mixer had been intended for him and cited community property. My name had been on that gift tag too.
Sure, I could have taken the high road. I could have handed over the mixer and been the better person. But I’m glad I didn’t. He took so much from me: my confidence, my joy, my belief in my own talent and intellect. I let him do it too, handing over my self-respect as a bonus. Keeping that mixer was the start of me standing up for myself. It was the beginning of not a new me, but a return to the woman I had been becoming when he entered my life.
I stopped tempering my beliefs to suit my new family. I stopped squashing the opportunities I was given, so that my husband could shine. I stopped ignoring my instincts. I stopped being resentful and competitive. I became a better, more authentic version of me. It was a decisive victory in a war that masked itself as marriage.
So I’ll hold on to that mixer, thank you very much. It’s a symbol that planetary mixing action and bowl lift design could never duplicate.