Food for Thought

Relationships with food are complicated, and definitely unique to every individual. I would describe my relationship with food as… holy. When I am in a slump, whether that’s depression, anxiety, stress, or just a busy/bad/weird day, my self care looks like finding the energy to make myself a tasty and intentional meal. Slicing herbs and grinding fresh pepper and stirring with my favorite wooden spoon feel like… like writing a love letter to myself. These actions feel like proof that I love myself, and as though I am telling myself that I am worthy of being cared for, that I deserve the nourishment, joy, and effort that goes into preparing (and eating) a really lovely meal.

I can be an emotional eater, I have been known to overeat on occasion, and this does complicate this relationship, but these abuses don’t alter the foundation. Food is magic. Food is a language. Food is one of the only things that every single person on this planet has in common with one another. Food is, in my book, the most important thing (tied with your relationship with yourself and your relationships with others–both of which also are often related to food).

The point is, I capital L Love food. Now, I am definitely not one for diets. I do try to eat as unprocessed as I can, and I try to buy mostly organic. I eat a lot of vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. I believe that nourishing your body with healthy food is crucial to everything, and should be a priority. BUT. I also believe that nourishing your soul is just as important. And sometimes that means a crusty loaf of bread and olive oil for dinner, or chicken nuggets from the drive through at 10pm in your pajamas (or after a night of drinking), or ice cream for breakfast. Not allowing for flexibility in what I eat would suck the life out of me. And that brings me to today.

I have recently begun adhering to the Whole30 diet (on the recommendation of a doctor) as I try to gain clarity on some potential food sensitivities. The idea is that I cut out all potential irritants for 30 days, and then slowly reintroduce things and see how they make me feel. This means dairy, grains, legumes/soy, sugar, alcohol, baked goods, or any kind of msg/sulfite/carrageenan. I am also cutting out all nightshades for a suspected sensitivity, so that means no peppers, tomatoes, or potatoes. So for the last 6 days, it’s been eggs, chicken, vegetables, and salad, (only 24 days left, but who’s counting?). Full disclosure, I have cried twice, longing for the crunch of a piece of buttered toast, or the soft sugary gooeyness of a chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven. Both times my partner has laughed uproariously at my suffering. Whatever.

Something that is interesting though, is how this has further expanded what I thought I knew about my relationship with food. The first few paragraphs I wrote were indicative of my feelings before starting this diet, but now, not being able to eat the things that nourish my soul (I can’t even put cheese on my salads, people) I feel even more sure of the role that food plays in my daily life. The last 6 days have left me feeling sad, unmotivated, empty, and ungrounded. Pretty much the opposite of how I should feel after 6 days of eating salad. I could be wrong, but this makes me feel that the daily love letters I wrote myself in making meals that nourished my body and my soul were way better for me overall than eating a strict diet.

Honestly who knows? This stuff is all a mystery to me, and all I know is that food is central to my existence, or as my mom said to me on the phone to me today, food is my “raison d’être”. This diet will hopefully illuminate new ways for me to be kind to my body, but when it’s over, you can count on me going hard on a batch of chocolate chip cookies, because its important to be kind to your soul too.

 

Thanks for being here,

 

M

Absence 2.0

It seems that another long absence in my blogging has occurred. Life becomes a lot sometimes, and then it is difficult to jump back into the things that were a part of your life before things were a lot. In the last year, I have moved, started a new school, got a job, quit that job, finished my true second to last year of my undergraduate career (I say true because this was my 6th year of college– whaddaya gonna do?), experienced the sudden loss of my cat, (still working through the grief 7 months later, but we got a new cat, so that helps), aaand I experienced my first (and second) earthquakes! Obviously a lot more happened in that time, but I suppose those were the milestones. Anyway. I’ve got a growing list of things to write about here, so I might as well get back to it while I have the time this summer. We will see. Gotta be kind to ourselves as we navigate this crazy life! Tally ho!

 

M

Becoming

I’ve been reading a lot lately, which is really something, because my default state is reading about 2.3 books (for pleasure) a year. But somehow, I have found myself mid-February, having already far surpassed my usual bar. The book I am currently gobbling up is called If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging, by Sharon Blackie. Now, I have absolutely no recollection of how I found this book on Amazon, but I am convinced that it was some sort of divine intervention, or guiding angels, or whatever you want to call it. The basic premise is Blackie’s personal narrative/journey to living a life of authenticity and belonging through claiming the strength of her womanhood in relation to her connection with the earth and Celtic traditions/folklore. It is much more conceptual and abstract and well written than that poor one sentence summary, with poems and Celtic folk stories woven in here and there. But I hope you can kind of get the idea.

Anyway. Reading this book has given me the confidence and voice to put words into a part of my own journey that I have been having trouble naming.

So I am going to try to give the long version of the answer to everyone’s favorite question(s): What am I doing/working towards/studying and what are my career/life goals and aspirations. I don’t know if people are actually interested in this question when they ask it, but it seems to be all anyone knows how to ask people in their 20’s.

I want to start by sharing a short excerpt from Blackie’s book. She is telling about a small coffee shop/antique store she stopped at in the hills of Wales with her mother during a rainstorm. She found this beautiful jug with the inscription: “No star is ever lost/ we once have seen/ We always may be/ what we might have been”. Now, to me, this is quite profound. I had to stop and read it several times before I moved on. (I am also just a naturally very slow reader). She goes on to ponder what she might have been, and what star she might have seen. She says,

“All I know was that it shone brightly in a place that wasn’t given over to the Wasteland. It shone down onto the top of a grass-covered hill at night as I sat watching it, head back, gazing up into a sky undimmed by light pollution. I closed my eyes and I saw myself getting up from that hill and walking down through the brightly painted wooden front door of a simple stone cottage, sitting in an armchair by a glowing stove, reading a book or maybe even writing one. I saw myself waking up to the nascent promise of each new dawn, taking my morning tea outside, listening to birdsong and the bark of a vixen in the wood. I saw my hands in the soil, my feet cold and bare in a fast-flowing river. The person I saw wasn’t anxious, alienated, brittle. It wasn’t her job that defined her, but her way of being in the world. She looked as if she belonged. Not just to a star, and a hill, and a cottage; but to herself and the calling owls, and the wider world she inhabited.” (Blackie 89).

So I guess this is kind of what I wish I could say to people who ask me what my goals are and what I am working toward. But I suppose it might be a bit much for small talk. This passage really struck a chord with me. I read it several times, weeping harder each time I read it. (I am a Cancer, and we are generally very emotional, so don’t worry, crying is usually a natural and positive part of my everyday life).  But more than anything, this passage has given me validation. I have been feeling really calm lately, as this part of my journey is taking shape. I have no idea what the hell I am doing. But I know one thing for sure. My life, and who I am, will never revolve around a job or career. It will be my way of being in the world that will define me, and I don’t know what that will look like, but this seems to be the only unknown in my life that I have actually come to accept. I feel strongly that I want to be connected with the earth. I feel strongly that I want to belong somewhere, whatever that means. And I feel strongly that I will never stop working on becoming the best version of myself.

And yes, you in the back who is thinking that I am a crazy person who doesn’t understand how basic finances work–I get it. I’m no dummy, and I know that to have a cottage and tea and fuel for my fire, I’ve got to have an income of some sort. BUT. I trust myself more than anyone in the universe. And I also trust the universe. So with those two, (plus some good karma), I kinda feel like I’m gonna be okay somehow. And I’m surprisingly not freaking out about that part yet. So I’m just going to ride it out for now, and let it develop, but I am enjoying shaping the end goal right now, even if the journey itself doesn’t have a shape yet.

So to those who are still asking, “So what are you actually doing- you crazy nonsense woman?” I will say this.

I am getting an education because it is important to me- but it does not define me. I am reading a lot, going to therapy, and constantly working towards becoming my best self. Even these things don’t define me. I think a lot about ways in which I could make a life for myself, writing, teaching, entrepreneuring, (yes I made that word up), making, helping, doing…. And these things still don’t define me. The truth is, nobody knows what they are doing. And they don’t know if they will be doing that thing in 2 years, or 10 years, or if they will change their thing 20 times over their lifetime. And that’s okay! Because it’s so weird and crazy and kind of awful that we live in a society that defines us by what we do, not by who we are and the space we occupy. So I ask you to try letting go of the things you feel do not serve and define you, and to see what it feels like to view yourself and the people around you with a lens unencumbered by definitions.

 

Thank you for being here.

M

Absence

So it appears that a certain amount of time has passed since I decided to “start a blog” and I enthusiastically wrote an “about me” section and one little post that also happened to be “about me”. (Seeing a pattern here already though, mmm?). And then wow look at that three months went by and I thought about writing (I really did) but I couldn’t bring myself to just carve out a little me time and click that menacing little button that just says…. “Write”. You know how some buttons just stare at you? This is one of those buttons. So, what changed? Well, the 5 people who I initially told about this blog have been continually asking me about “how it’s going”, but more immediately, a dear friend of mine (who is not, in fact, a prolific writer, or someone who even writes for fun, ever) sent me several chapters of a book she wrote. Now, this is truly awesome, and I am so happy for her because writing is a terrific outlet and being able to utilize it as a tool (similar to therapy, in my humble opinion) is so powerful in relation to one’s ability to cope as well as for grounding one in their sense of self. BUT- if she can crank out a few pages in an afternoon, I can darn well sit down and lay out a paragraph or two!

So here I am. Reunited with this wonderful public journal… (who’s idea was this again?)

Just kidding. Blogs are fun, and I thought it would hold me accountable having it be public and all. So let’s try again. We will forget that that little 3 month, no writing thing happened, and I’ll do a little more this time. Or at least ill try!

 

x

M

Genesis

Hello.

Most of us are many things. And most of the time, that is really delightful. In this case, while I sit here contemplating how to tell you who and what I am, and why I am doing this, I am overwhelmed with the things I am and the reasons why I am doing this, as well as the endless possibilities of the things you are and what lead you to here.

I suppose despite all of this, I will try to keep it simple.

I am a student, daughter, friend, partner, and cat-mom. I love to eat, and travel. I love to cook, laugh, sing, and I am also an amateur woodworker, don’t-cha-know.

…But, I’m feeling now, that it is truly odd how we describe ourselves to others. Because these things are in fact not how I feel I am. That person I just described- sure, that’s me, I guess, but that’s not what’s goin’ on inside, and that’s most definitely not the whole picture. I am often anxious, lost, worrying about and romanticizing the future. I stay up at night wondering why I haven’t taught myself how to make spring rolls yet, because they just look so easy to make and that’s something I should know by now at the ripe old age of 22. I watch a lot of television, and then feel bad because shouldn’t I be out doing interesting things like foraging for mushrooms or something? One time, I ate brie and pickles for dinner three nights in a row. (Actually though, don’t knock it till you try it). But of course, there’s good things too. I often snort when I laugh. I do cook quite a bit, and I think I make the best scrambled eggs ever. And I do actually have a wonderful partner, cat, and family that makes this journey so truly wonderful, anxiety and pickles included. To attempt to define myself in a small snapshot to you, I feel like you deserve this more well rounded picture.

I really do love hiking and music and fresh pesto just as much as the next person, but that’s only half (or more like one six thousandth), of me. Sometimes I feel afraid and sad and I cry at TV commercials. Sometimes I feel excited and hopeful and, you know what, I still cry at TV commercials.

And all of this is okay, but more importantly, it’s who I am. I’m here to be as honest as I can with you, about everything.

I’m here mostly using this as a tool to ground myself and find my voice as an adult (italics because if I were to call myself an adult out loud I might shiver or something) in this weird long/short saga that is this whole existence thing. I might end up telling you my scrambled egg recipe, or maybe my beliefs and why I trust the universe. I’m going to do my best to be present, truthful, and share what I gotta share.

 

I appreciate you being here.

 

M