My close friends know that I am a tea freak. I have tons of different teas and infusions in a cabinet in my kitchen that is my favorite spot of my house. I am always looking for new flavors to try and I sometimes drive 25 km to go buy Jasmine Green Tea.
Tea is just not a really good beverage, but it is a ritual, a reunion of friends, a share in the couch with your lover on a cold winter night, a medicine for sore throat. I have become to love tea and, until today, I never thought of how I came to find in tea such comfort.
When I was a child I already liked tea, but it wasn’t my favorite. Sure, it was the drink to have on those afternoons when my godmother decided to make toast to get rid of all the bread in the house before it got moldy. I remember we would gather around the table and eat toast with butter and drink lemongrass tea with lots of sugar and talk and laugh and sigh. However, milk was my favorite. Nothing could beat a glass of cold milk in Summer nights, nor a cup of warm milk and honey in Winter before bed. Cereal was good, but the milk was the thing that made it worth it. I remember going to my first music festivals when I was 16 or 17 and I had such a withdrawal of milk that I went by foot to the nearest village to buy some. I had a really close relationship with milk. We were inseparable. But like most things in life, that long lasting relationship eventually had come to and end.
Around five years ago a had a desk job, lots of paperwork. It was Spring and I had severe allergies. My eyes were swollen and my nose was so runny I constantly had drops of watery snot falling on the papers I was working on. I had enough when a customer asked me if I was OK because it looked like I was about to burst in tears.
I went to an herbalist, because antihistamines turned me into Sleeping Beauty, and the woman there told me that I should try to not drink milk for a month and see if any changes happen. And, sure thing, it did. My allergies turned out to be minimal, with a sneeze or two once in a while. Suddenly, I could go through Spring without feeling miserable. I was in a toxic relationship with milk and I love myself more than that. It broke my heart, but we went separate ways.
And I thought that that was it, that was why I switched milk for tea. But it wasn’t. After that I stared drinking soy milk, so what was the moment that made tea for me?
Some months before that I had my heart broken (by a man, not milk). He was my friend, it was a short affair, but I had fallen hard in love, and in denial about it, which made it so much worse. I also thought that he liked me, and he did, but not like that, and I wrapped my mind around the fact that I wasn’t enough, because I have real self-esteem issues due to childhood trauma (who doesn’t?). Anyway, how does one deal with a broken heart? Amy Winehouse style, with lots of booze, crying on the kitchen floor!
I always had an healthy relationship with alcohol. I drink when I’m happy, not when I’m sad. I drink and I’m in a good mood (and probably annoying and talking too loud and dancing in a more nasty way than it is acceptable), so drinking and crying my heart out and go all Beyoncé and “Why don’t you love me?” was not really working for me. So I started going out less and started being home more, watching Studio Ghibli movies and drinking tea with honey to sweeten and heat my sour cold soul. And it worked. The hot cup of tea on my hands brought me comfort and gave me a cozy feeling that I had already forgot. Cup by cup, tea made me soft and serene again.
After that I only have vegetable milk with cereal and tea become a routine, with a cup of green tea in the morning and chamomile at night, and a detox tea for the day after those nights where I drink a lot, not because I’m sad, but because I’m celebrating life, as it should be.
I have never met milk again. Sadly, as some people, it has the power to cause me painful bowel movements.