Cakes, Parfaits and Onions: They All Have Layers. Which Are You?

“Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.”

Shrek, it is one of my favorite children’s movies of all times. As this conversation continued we were given a glimpse of our two characters: Shrek the ogre and Donkey, the, well, donkey.  Shrek is a thinker, almost philosopher at times, who is so accustomed to doing and being on his own he as accepted this as situation normal.

Donkey is a people pleaser.  He immediately tries to convince Shrek that ogres should be like cake, “you know, not everybody likes onions” or “You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits.”

Shrek stuck to onions.  With onions you have to peel back the layers, they are evident and easy to see on cakes and parfaits.  I think I have layers, lots of layers.  Am I a cake, consisting of three main layers: woman, wife and mother, but with very solid ingredients?  Am I a parfait, a little fruity, in a constant state of stickiness, trying to maintain the good, with a  light and airy demeanor and under the microscope of everyone all of the time?  Or, am I an onion, with so many layers even my family does not see them all, coming from the ground so I am very rooted, but also really comfortable with dirt/mess?

Parfaits and cakes are a main event. When you go to a restaurant and look through the window at the desserts you can see them beautifully displayed.  Or, if you are at an even better restaurant, they will come out on a special tray, arranged in mouthwatering fashion.  Onions are an extra.  They complement whatever they are added to. They do not stand among other “extra’s,” like garlic, salt or parsley to appeal to your eye. Yet, if you eat a meal without one of these “extra’s” and you like that particular flavor, you will sorely miss it.

I have decided to also be an onion.  I have too many layers and some are hidden from view, maybe even from myself. The fact that he was an ogre, well I can definitely identify with that!  I feel very brutish at times, if that is too strong, then definitely obstinate. Then the softer side of me comes out.  The side that adds to those around me.

I am not a main event, nor do I want to be. I enjoy being a force of nature behind adult children, a constant in a topsy turvy world for my husband or even the smile that won’t flicker.  None of these are “stand alones” but I am very comfortable in these roles.

So, an onion I will remain.

Kara Peterson

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