Dear Ms. Nigella Lawson:
I’m making one of your always-stunning cakes today – the old-fashioned chocolate one from Feast, which is my all-time favorite – and I can’t help but think about you while I do it.
No one, I imagine, likes their personal life to become fodder for public consumption. Well, I suppose some people revel in it, but those aren’t the kind of people I enjoy. You don’t seem to be one of those people at all, and thank goodness for that. It must make your current situation that much more intolerable, egregious, and overwhelming than it already is, if that is even possible. You remain silent about it; I can only assume you’re doing that out of respect for your own privacy and that if your children, and I commend you for that. The only opinions which matters right now, and the only hearts you should be concerned with protecting are those.
But I want you to know something. I want you to know – as many people who read this blog already know – that I adore you. I am not the only one. You helped me find the courage to begin cooking and baking, and your books helped me realize that cooking is a joy and a privilege rather than a chore. You make it seem equal parts simple and mystical. You inspire me in a way which no other celebrity chef has been able to; you transfer my kitchen into something more than it normally is when I make your recipes.
I hope you know how much good you’ve put into the world. I wish you could see yourself through my eyes and the eyes of so many others – women and men alike – who think you’re brilliant. I wish you could have been with me on line at your Nigella Kitchen book signing a few years ago, from the beginning when all you could hear were intermittent gasps of “oh my! she’s gorgeous!” to the end, when everyone was beaming with joy at having met and shared a few words with you. Breathing the same air as you that day seemed to be, for many of us, a monumental event.
All of this rambling is to say one thing: you are Nigella Lawson. Mother of two, inspiration to many, possessor of gifts and ability far greater than I could ever hope to have, achiever of success beyond my wildest dreams, writer of breathtaking cookbooks, maker of days, and – I am sure of this – owner of a huge and lovely heart.
Deserver of much better than this.
You have been through quite enough by now, I would think. Too much, if you ask me. This news about this incident with your husband breaks my heart, and I don’t even know you, but I do know that you don’t deserve anything that’s going on presently. Not the media scrutiny, not your private life being forced out in the open, not the comments about whether or not it was just a “playful tiff,” not the gawkers who didn’t think to intervene on your behalf, not the photographers who were too busy capturing every last painful moment on film to make sure you had somewhere safe to go. You deserve none of this.
Except the love. The love, and the support; the encouragement, and the outpouring of sympathy; the quiet understanding, and the solidarity. The multitude of women and men who are standing here, not giving a crap about what clout your husband possesses, but collectively confident in the knowledge that he is a dirtbag for what he did, and even more of a dirtbag for playing it off as anything other than what it was. You have so many people standing behind you as you go through this, who know it was wrong, and that you deserve so, so much more.
They say 1 in 4 women is abused at the hands of another at some point in their lives. I suspect the number is much higher, since at times it’s so difficult to call abuse out for what it is. It can take so many forms, and it’s not always easy to recognize. I have seen abuse; I have borne witness to it, and at close range. What strikes me is that 100% of the time, the abuser is massively insecure, damaged, and pathetic. A loser, regardless of outward appearance, financial status, or standing in the community. What also strikes me is how quickly people want to dismiss it, so long as no one ends up with scars or a black eye; it’s like denial of the worst kind, and a betrayal to everyone who has ever been a victim of something like this.
I hope you are doing what’s best for you and your children. I hope you never go through this again. I hope I meet you someday so I can hug you and tell you this in person. You deserve all sorts of hugs right now.
I forgot to mention how much you deserve hugs.
I’m going to keep making this cake now, and I’m going to put it together, and I’m going to think good thoughts of you the entire time. I’m not even going to adjust it, because it is perfect, and I love it just the way it is. Just like how you are perfect just the way you are.