The Onion We Call Life

Onions. Oh, how I loathe thee? They are, without a doubt, one of my biggest enemies. When I start cooking soup, I peel the onion first and let it soak in water with the hope that in a few minutes time it won’t declare war on my eyes. Only after all the ingredients are in the pot, do I convince myself to dice the onion. I love it in food, but getting it in there? That’s the challenge. It’s like I am a warrior, trying to defeat the dragon. And as fate will have it, I must do it while being blindfolded. It might sound a tad dramatic to some of you, but for me: it’s my reality.


All jokes aside. This anticipation that comes along with the onion-dicing got me thinking. Like avoiding the onion until the end; we tend to avoid taking scary risks. Especially when we have no certainty of what the outcome will be. This lack of certainty is the root of over-thinking. We want answers, need answers. But why? Because everything happens for a reason? No. We want to believe it does, because we want to make sense of this layered onion [which sometimes brings us to tears] we call life. We desperately try to make sense of things that have happened, or worse, could maybe happen. Filling our heads with worries about the future; smothering our thoughts with anxiety.

pretoria girl writes _ ilka steyn

Those moments when we experience the “onion tears” in our life, we get scared of taking chances again. In my case, being scared means I start to overthink. I over analyse the situation, because I’m scared of what could happen if I’m not prepared for it. I need to know what plan A, B and C is – the layers of my onion. But I can’t see the second layer of the onion, without peeling the first one. So, how do I expect to move on, if I don’t allow myself to get to the second layer? In other words, how would you know that the decision is the right one if you never actually make it?


Being anxious about what the future may hold, is one of the toughest obstacles I have to overcome on a daily basis. I need to remind myself to be brave. It’s my fear; the onion, that I have to dice into smaller pieces, to get through to the next layer. And do I cry? Yes. Do I sometimes cut my finger in the process? Yes. But is it worth it? Yes! Taking these chances aren’t easy at all. It’s one of the scariest things to do because no one wants to be a failure. But we need to remember: just because something ends, or we fail, doesn’t mean it should not have been. We live, we learn, we grow and move on to our next layer.


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank you for this post, where I am currently – this really relates with me.


    1. Ilka Steyn says:

      It’s always great hearing your words mean something. And that we share similar journeys; makes life just a tad easier. Good luck with your journey!


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