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August 14, 2017 | by  | in PGSA |
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Postgrad Informer

My Brussels sprouts tasted like absolution. Perfectly roasted and delicately sauced in a fig and balsamic glaze, they accompanied a lavish meal that I bought for myself with the discretionary funds I suddenly had after leaving a relationship in which I was treated like a sort of combination duvet and ATM, with a man who expressed a deep antipathy towards both Brussels sprouts and my financial independence.

We were together for a shockingly long time, thanks to my latent saviour complex and a culturally internalised fear that if I objected to his behaviour, I’d come across as shrill, a nag, a shrew, all of those words that are used specifically to belittle women for being assertive. There was a little bit of overachievement in it as well — I wanted to be the Best Girlfriend Ever, and I mistakenly believed that the growing portfolio of sacrifices and self-denials were assignments I completed on the way to being fully certified as such.

I decided to finally leave a week before I started my Master’s, and starting my thesis represented the beginning of a year of independence, realising I was much happier and much less lonely when I was technically spending much more time alone. I was warned before starting postgrad about the isolation of a thesis, but I prefer the freedom that comes with solitude, with the confidence of setting my own schedule. I’ve become a bit of a gourmet recluse, and I love it. I finally have the time and energy to do (and eat) the things I love, and to say no to the things I don’t love, without any contradictory messages of repression.

At dinner, I had brought a notebook along with me with notes for a gig I had later that night — the Brussels sprouts that I so highly complimented had been crossed off the bill when I left, and I realised that the notebook combined with the table for one and the four courses I’d ordered had created the false but very convenient impression that I was a food blogger.

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