I did the most amazing and mouth-wateringly beautiful thing with these beans. I layered my ten-year-old, weathered crockpot with chicken thighs; charred potatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash; these beans, par-boiled; a few shakes of Herbes des Provence; and a few liberal grinds of sea salt and black pepper. Set on low, and simmered all day while I was at work, until the chicken fell apart at the mere sight of a fork. It was heaven and Christmas morning all wrapped up in one. And besides these beans, not a single picture was taken. I shared with no other living person; I ate it all myself.
When I was younger, my father used to have to remind me to relax.
“Relax!” He’d say, as I struggled and sweated over my homework. “Relax!” He’d say as I complained about this problem and that problem at school.
I still sweat the small stuff. I worry about the minute details and the big picture, the present and the future, and the whole perfection of it all. I’m a worrier. And my worries grow into fears, which manifest into problems that need fixing. Immediately. Or, surely, the world will End. Right. Now.
I’ve been trying to tell myself lately to relax and to breathe and to, quite simply, just experience. But it’s difficult. A lifetime of constant worry wears on the soul and you forget how to relax, how to simply experience life.
But I’ve been trying.
Yesterday, I sat on the back porch. We had workers out fixing our windows and after they left, I went on the porch and just sat. I perched my feet on our tiny little outside table and closed my eyes. I let the sun warm my face and listened to the sound of the frogs in the creek that runs behind the house. I didn’t think of what time it was, I didn’t think of work, I didn’t think of how I needed to vacuum or move my sheets to the dryer or wash the dishes from last night. I simply sat, face to the sun, and listened.
I don’t know how long I was out there. It could have been ten minutes or it could have been thirty. I just know it was the frogs, the sun, and me: relaxing.
And so, I have no recipe for you today.
Except to say that some boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fresh cowpeas, and charred (quick broiled) red-skin potatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash can be pretty wonderful when slow cooked for eight hours with Herbes des Provence and a liberal amount of ground sea salt and black pepper.
Lately, I find I can’t make the words form. Continue reading
1. Sometimes I feel too deeply. I feel through the bottom of my soul and into some dark unknown land of overgrown thoughts and tearful nights. They are sometimes wonderful and joyous, but sometimes paralyzing. I have too many feels.
2. I often eat popcorn for dinner. Or cheese and apples. Or sprinkles and wine.
3. Pinterest makes me feel inadequate.
4. I jump to conclusions. Hardcore, deep-down, scary conclusions. I texted you and you haven’t responded for 3 hours? You obviously hate me. Obviously. You didn’t notice or respond adequately to my new hair? It’s obviously hideous. Obviously.
5. I love my cat more than I do most people.
6. I tell horribly absurd jokes that, typically, only I think are funny. But they are so, so hilarious. Pee-your-pants, hilarious.
7. I am insecure. And sensitive. And self-conscious. And jealous.
8. I don’t remember your name and might never. It’s not that I don’t like you or want to like you, it’s just that I’m horrible with names. Horrible.
9. Somethings are worth getting your heart broken over.
10. I am not perfect.
11. I love trashy romance “novels.”
12. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be “enough” – creative enough, skinny enough, fast enough, funny enough, original enough, traveled enough, educated enough, loved enough.
13. I wish I was in Ireland. Right now. I’ve imagined that I own a little cafe in a small town on top a little green hill.
14. I am terrified of failure.
15. I worry about money all the time. Even now, when I’m fairly confident about my bank account, I still have intense fear each time I go to the ATM or check my online banking. Once poor, always poor.
16. I am afraid of rejection and thus don’t put myself out there in the world.
17. Sometimes I am ugly, inside and out. Yes, I will judge you and not know you, but know that I am judging myself all the same. And probably worse. I am extraordinarily hard on myself.
18. I am messy and lazy. I made that mess. That one, right there. Will I clean it? Maybe tomorrow, or maybe not. Right now, I’m too busy doing nothing at all to bother.
19. I often crippled by the fear that I will never find someone to love me and spend my life with.
20. I feel like the world is one big popularity contest.
21. I’m not as smart as I like to pretend.
22. I am not perfect.