If I just follow the directions I’ll be fine. I don’t have to do this perfectly.

But, do I care some? Yes. It would be embarrassing to not be able to make the Hamburger Helper. It would continue the myth that I don’t try hard enough. That somehow I will end up losing all the hamburger taste in my attempt to add the cheese because of a stupid mistake.

That makes cooking Hamburger Helper about something much bigger.

Because if I can’t even make Hamburger Helper do I deserve my dreams? Do I deserve anything if I can’t produce the bold flavors of Crispy Cheddar Bacon Chicken? Or present any of the Italian Favorites collection of Helpers like Lasagna and Four Cheese Lasagna and Cheesy Lasagna.

I keep telling myself that I don’t have to be the best — that it is okay to not be the smartest person or greatest at combining all the ingredients into one large pot — but sometimes I feel like I need to be a genius to create Hamburger Helper. But at the same time I know it’s not true, that the people who make films, write novels, and cook Hamburger Helper all have failed a million times before.

They have all stared at the stove wondering what exactly “medium heat” means for them. But they figured it out. What if I never do? What if I’m the person who doesn’t ever know the best way to give a little bit of extra flavor by adding chopped tomatoes to the Three Cheese Helper? What if I never even learn how to add the milk?

Is is worth trying and failing? Am I willing to not be good enough but keep getting better slowly at “stirring occasionally” because this is my passion?

I don’t know.

I want to be the kind of person who trudges it out for years of the Cheeseburger Macaroni being too greasy and wet. I want to reminisce on the glory years when I barely knew how to add the uncooked pasta. But it feels so far away.

What if I should’ve just sold out and gotten Dominos from the beginning? What if I lose out on all the coupon savings from regular deliveries?

God dammit, breathe. Calm down. Take a step back. The inability to do a task does not determine self-worth. Let’s just put all this stuff down.

Look at that hand on the box. That hand is the Hamburger Helper. He’s here to help me and I won’t even let him. I want to believe that I wouldn’t let the Hamburger Helper down, but I know I will. I’m not ready for the Hamburger Helper. I don’t deserve it yet.

Do we have any Easy Mac?