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Revelation Cheesecake

IMG_0800I am going to tell you something heavy.

Since going on a strict elimination diet for allergies last week, I have baked two chocolate cakes, two pies, two cheesecakes, four loaves of bread and 25 calzones. Most certainly I am dealing with my restricted diet by watching others consume all the things I can’t. I got real cocky too. I told my Mom, “Nothing can stop me. I have no temptations whatsoever. Now that I’m through “the crazies”, and I’ve settled into my own home, I can tackle anything”.

…except making my favourite cheesecake. You know how it goes. I made a big one and a small one and I was to bring them to a party hosted by Tomo: a handsome Japanese Dad of two boys who attend Nora’s school. (He’s amazing. He has a bee apiary on his roof. He mills his own flour. He has sprouts and all kinds of seedlings growing along his south facing windows. He’s wiry and handsome with a thick shock of long black hair. he bikes to work every single day. He volunteers at every single school event. I have a total parent crush on him.)

This is not the heavy part.

I wasn’t sure if the cheesecakes were done. I roasted my own pumpkin and thought perhaps it was too moist compared to canned. I pressed the smaller cheesecake lightly with my finger, the topping came off. Well, just licking the tip of my finger will be fine. I cook it for fifteen more minutes. I press it again. It comes off again. I lick it again. Still too wobbly. I bake for another ten minutes. Finger press again. Hmmm delicious. No, I think it just needs to set. But oh my god, it looks like I put my finger in the middle of the cheesecake three times! (which of course I did) I can’t serve it that way. I’ll cut it in half. So, I do. Oh but Haha and SouSou have already told me they hate pumpkin pie and this is almost the same thing and I’ve already brought my cast some baking. I will have a sliver, I mean, I’ve already had a taste. And damn it, I’ve been good all week. And honestly, I CAN’T be allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, pumpkin or spices – I’ve eaten that all my life! THIS IS DUMB! Why am I torturing myself? I’m a busy Mom, I’m in a show, I’m hungry as hell and one little slice of cheesecake – well, it will be a test! Never mind I still have some symptoms – I’m going to test now. All these things. And MWAGRG! I ate it. I ate the whole half. (now it should be noted this was a very small cheesecake, but still)

This is not the heavy part.

Within half an hour my eyes were so itchy I could barely keep them open. I had an itch line from the middle of my chest to my belly button. My toes were itchy. My neck, my nose, my back, my arms, my face began to swell and turn red. The eczema on my leg and head started to burn like I had poured hot sauce on it. Hives started to break out along my leg. It was so bad, I was so entirely irritated from head to toe, all I could do was lay on my back in bed and roll back and forth. My eight year old daughter asked Haha to help her boil water and make some peppermint tea. Then she drafted up this little letter and placed it on my tummy.

“I am on your side.”

Now, this is the heavy part. The part where most men have no idea what to say and leave the room and most women get angry and blame me.

I became suddenly allergic to many things, August 2010, when a complete stranger violently attacked me in my car. The event itself didn’t take me long to get over. Though my body was covered in bruises, they all healed and left no scar. I did not get a disease and I did not get pregnant. It did not shake my enjoyment of the company of men. It took me a couple of weeks, but eventually I was able to drive again without hyperventilating.  In fact, when I auditioned for Brief Encounter at the Playhouse a few weeks later, I was hoping Max would not notice the bruises under my make up. I was very proud of myself for getting that job and actually getting through that run. I even got a Jessie nomination for that role, proof of the ability to be strong.

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me and the fabulous Jonathan Holmes

But I did suddenly have all these allergies. Emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck. I had no self esteem. “The crazies”. It wasn’t the event that totalled me so much as people’s reaction to it. I was asked “How could he overpower you, you’re not a small woman.” “You’re not fit to be a mother” I was even asked, “What were you wearing?” “Did HE know he was raping you?” My unconscious solution to this was to gain twenty pounds and try and look “unsexy”.

Last night a dear friend posted on Facebook that she had been sexually assaulted by a strange man on the street and she spent three hours in the police station on Halloween. Luckily they caught the guy. But I couldn’t believe her bravery to actually share that. My dear dear lovely girl. Horrible.

And now, this self induced allergy attack over a stupid piece of cheesecake. Okay, Lucia. Why did you ACTUALLY REALLY sabotage your process…?

Ah. I’m afraid.

I’m starting to lose the weight. My security blanket. I can’t hide. I’m starting to get healthy and strong and glow. A loveliness is returning. And today a nice man called me “sexy”.

So, sure, some of you I’ve lost now. You don’t want to hear any heavies. I get it. I understand. But some of you I’ve gained. Some of you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. And this is why I share this. Because, there are those days, when you just need someone to write you a little note that says, “I’m on your side.”

Love, Lucia

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Dear Mommy, I hope you feel better. I do not like having tummy aches. I am on your side. Hope you feel better really soon

 

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14 comments

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  1. Diane Illerbrun

    I don’t have any words that feel helpful, but I dab away my tears for the wounds you carry. I admire that in the middle of such a complicated muddle of emotion, dreams, fears, hopes, insecurity and bravery… Oh and painful skin fires, that you can somehow see and understand how east & west things are connected. I pray that your pain, both skin and spirit, will be soothed and calm very soon. Know how precious and deeply loved you are; just as you are. Gently as you go. <3

  2. Garth

    Lucia. I have always had a lot of trouble getting any of the thoughts constantly buzzing around in my head out. Right now, sitting in front of this damb computer, tears on my cheeks, all I can think of is if I could somehow appear at your house I would like to sit beside you, hold your hand, and hopefully let you know I am on your side. xo

  3. Greg

    Woman, you are strength.

  4. Rosie Perera

    Wow, you are very brave for sharing that. Courage to you as you continue to grow stronger and heal from that experience. And how sucky that cheesecake makes you feel so crappy. :-( I have an amazing recipe for a dairy free, gluten free cake that has the consistency of cheesecake which you might like to try as a substitute. It’s got cashews in it (pureed, they produce the creamy consistency of the cake). Let me know if you can eat nuts and would like that recipe.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      mmm I can’t right now, still figuring out what is safe, but it sure sounds great! xo thank you, Rosie. For everything.

  5. Lucia Frangione

    Thank you, Garth, Diane and Greg. I do feel you’ve sat beside me and held my hand. xo

  6. Leah

    my dear friend, our words will heal us, the words of others will heal us. i am at the beginning of writing a novel so based on my life it should probably be called a memoir. terrified of what i will do with it when i get to the end, who will i hurt when i tell all this truth? i applaud you for your courage, and am convinced that your truth telling will heal you. you give me courage to tell the truth i am convinced will heal me. thank you.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      It was pretty difficult for me to write this one, but when my friend got assaulted I figured it would be good to have a few stories out there from those of us who are on the other side of it. You’re a beautiful writer, Leah. Write. xo

  7. Rick Rosenberg

    You are a brave and amazingly resilient and self aware woman Lucia. And a fantastic writer. Stay strong.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      thank you, dear Rick xo

  8. Kirk Devereux

    Lucia, I feel like you are a close friend. Strange though, we have not met. I found you at first as a formidable foe in Scrabble on Facebook. Through our notes to each other and now, this wonderful website, I look forward to sharing a laugh and a good wine in Manhattan or Vancouver with my friend.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      yes, Kirk, absolutely! Thank you for your message. xo

  9. Heather Capocci

    Darling lovely Lucia

    If I were Judy Chicago, you would always have a place of honour at my table.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      ah, Heather, what a beautiful and wonderful thing to say. I love that so much. That touches me. xo

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