It has been 374 days since my last blog post. I have continued on with the writing program at SCAD, expanded the weekly meal program to more than 50 families, gotten engaged, gotten un-engaged, catered many fun social events including a Buckhead roof top social of 300 people, catered the most beautiful wedding, my strong beautiful daughter graduated from high school and my sweet Lauren May left G&H after almost three years to work at a great internship. This has been a fun-filled and heart breaking year, to write the very least. I have so missed sitting down and writing about it.
I went a little off course, again. The roads that led to beautiful moments only lead to more roads with the journey that is never-ending. I lost sight of what I wanted out of life. I had gotten to a point where I felt angry and disgust for so much – politics, murder, bigotry, oppression, family dynamics, traffic, cancer, my own mistakes and even simpler things such as burnt toast. These things are black in my soul that follow me unless I write about it. I was putting so much pressure on myself to be the best mother, the best partner, the best personal chef and business owner, the best student, the best friend, the best daughter and sister. I hated myself and this beautiful earth we live on. I hated who I was trying to become, this little miss perfect. Trying to be the woman everyone else wants me to be- gross. Or at least what I thought they wanted me to be- even grosser. She isn’t the woman I am destined to be, but I know her and I hate her more than anything. My stomach hurts by writing the word hate- such a nasty word. And, I’ll not kid myself, I was so far from perfect. I fought with friends and family. I snapped at annoying but, harmless business calls. I screamed at the girls. I continued to bury myself deeper out of sight so that when it was forced upon me to look at myself, I had no idea where or who I was anymore. The humiliation of this person I had become is, well, excruciatingly painful. Everyone seemed to know what I refuse to see. I wonder if there is no wonder.
As we were catering this beautiful wedding back in May, only a few days after my own engagement ended, the question was asked if the yard had been sprayed for mosquitos and I thought for a brief moment of rolling around in the grass to see if I could be eaten and taken off by them. This event turned out to be such a gift. The universe will not let me go my own scared way. It was a peaceful union of two people who adored each other and they certainly aren’t perfect in everyone’s eyes but they are authentic and loving and so imperfectly perfect in my eyes. I am so glad I got to be there to see their union and feed them well. The positive energy and love was palpable. Everything about it was the opposite of what I was living and that gave me the truth to start living differently.
Grief, as every emotion, is relative to whom is feeling it. My biggest loop in my head has been “it is my fault this is awful” and I have gone over and over how I could have changed the inevitable. But, there is no way and god and everyone else knows I have tried.
Now I am trying to flow with the current that is the least resistant. I have been known on occasion to believe I have to struggle like hell instead of just flow with the nature of things. Haggard and disheveled, I kick and scream against my own current and for what? To feel absolutely beaten down. Everything is easier said than done. So glad that my friends are not quitters and want to throw in the towel with me. This does not mean that I don’t have to work hard to evolve. As M. Scott Peck says love “requires the extension of ourselves, love is always either work or courage. If an act is not one of work or courage, then it is not an act of love.” But as I start to let go, stop the struggling internally, have faith in myself again, it does feel easier to trust. It feels so much easier and I think I may even be loving myself a little bit for it.
Where do I go when I feel I have hit the bottom? I look up and kick like hell the glass ceiling to get out. Through one tear (or three), one smile, one laugh, one friendly chat on the phone, one weekly meal, one delivery, one hors d’oeuvre, one dinner party, one movie night with the girls, I get up and brush my knees off. Sometimes I surprise even myself. Mosquitos would have been a long and painful death.
I have seen in some eyes that they wish I would stay down. Or we see in some eyes, “you deserve what you get”. Someone just recently told me I should get a “real job” instead of my “dream job.” It’s funny, that was always his encouragement and why he is where he is in his own journey. This job isn’t my dream, yet. It is still forming and molding. My children will not need me at home when I can live my dream job. For now, it is my value. I can live no other way without that. There are people out there that do not want the best for others. And those people, we have to ignore and let go. I work like hell to have compassion for those who want to harm and hurt just to make themselves feel better or for their “justice”. I must forgive them, move on, know that I am still loved, so loved and love those who want to be loved. This is so difficult for me to do. We can not make people like, love, understand or accept us. I have tried and so desired it but only getting hurt in the trying. That is my struggle I must let go of. Accepting that putting my eggs into a basket for it only to be thrown on the floor to break just hurts myself. So, I choose not to do that. I give my egg basket to those who want to handle them with care. What a corny metaphor! My professors would have a field day with that. I am so grateful for those professors that encouraged me to keep going this last quarter.
As I went into a yoga class yesterday, my mantra was to love myself so that I can love others. I said it over and over through deep breaths. I felt it through my rib cages sucking in just a little more air to fill the cracks. I could not help but notice and admire this woman who was fit, beautiful and graceful in her movements. I quickly wished her love and went on about my practice, not wanting to wish myself to be her. After class, I grabbed my things and noticed she was leaving in front of me. I chuckled to myself because I noticed she looked like me but with blonde hair. Then I noticed when she got into her car, it was the same as mine except a different color. I smiled again at the universe showing me my mantra. I drove around to leave when I passed her and noticed she was born in April, like me, from her tag. I didn’t know this woman and who knows what her story is. But I know me, and I want to really love and admire fully who I am, the dark and the light. I could admire this strange woman and not even know her, but admiring myself has always seemed selfish. This was a little moment of self-love to me. I have always confused that self-love was selfish but I do know if we don’t give any to ourselves we are empty. And empty to give anything to anyone else. I believe this is an epidemic amongst women, not just in me, that I would love to see gone, forever. If anything, I will try my damnedest to not pass this on to my own daughters. I will claw tooth and nail to omit it- really.
One of the biggest things that fills my heart, and I get to share it, is having dinner parties and writing. I’ve known this but I wasn’t doing it. So a couple of weeks ago I invited a couple of girlfriends over to sit on the front porch and have dinner. I had forgotten how much I loved having people over. I had forgotten how much I loved cooking for people. My home isn’t big or extravagant. Since I sold my house I think I have been holding back because it isn’t perfect. In fact, my neighbor has put a couch out in our front yard that the city of ATL has yet to pick up over the last 3 weeks. My neurosis are totally kicking in but allowing my imperfections to be seen at the front of the driveway is so much easier than hiding them under my pillow or worse, my heart. I think the last time I blogged was the last time I had someone over for dinner. My writing is also so imperfect but it is imperfectly me and that feels so good.
I made a most wonderful, healthy, summer salad with organics from the farmer’s market and grilled chicken breast for our dinner party. This is my ultimate favorite food, fresh out of the garden. Can’t you just taste the sweet sun ripening the tomatoes? We sat outside with a citronella candle to keep any mosquitos from trying to take us away. If I could encourage others to do one thing, the thing I wasn’t doing, is to do what you enjoy, do what you love and share that light. Don’t put negative people in your life that want to squash that. Enjoy moments with loved ones over a meal. Go write. Call me if you want to have that dinner but don’t have the time to cook! 😉 I will do that for you and love myself very much for giving you that moment. Here we are full circle. My wish is for you to enjoy this summer with friends, a good meal, and sweet peace of mind.
Summer Salad with Warm Shiitake Mushrooms and Lemon Mustard Dressing
Red Leaf Lettuce
Canned Artichoke Hearts in water
Grilled Chicken Breast or Grilled Shrimp
For Lemon Mustard Dressing
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup good olive oil
For salad: Sauté your shiitake mushrooms in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. After 3-5 minutes take of heat and allow to cool for a few moments. Pile your other ingredients as big and high with all your veggies and protein that you desire. Top with shiitake and goat cheese.
For Dressing: Whisk everything but oil. Then slowly, while whisking, add oil. You can add as much or as little dressing as desired to your salad. Toss, serve and enjoy.
This journey of life is far from over, ups and downs, over and under, but I am so glad I can share it with you. Please feel free to send me your story so that together we can share it with those who may be looking for answers. May your summer be a glorious one!