While we’re discussing letting ourselves off the hook for things, I think I might take this opportunity to let myself off the hook for the #Trust30 prompts celebrating the life of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I originally signed up for it spontaneously before shutting down for a week, figuring when I got back I’d catch up. I thought having a mid-year reflection period would be wonderful. I did well with the #Best09 and #Reverb10 series, but somehow life isn’t working out exactly how I want it to at the moment — I am not working as efficiently as I would like to at the moment. I can make excuses and place blame elsewhere, but it all leads back to me and how I’m functioning as of late. While I have the prompts archived in Gmail, ready for me to respond at my leisure, I can’t promise myself — or anyone else — that I’ll get around to them. In fact, it might come down to me deleting that label entirely in December.
I’m torn between feeling like my attitude controls my destiny and feelings of frustration in that my positive hopes and manifestations have done nothing. Seriously, I wrote something beautiful and positive a couple weeks back, and a couple days later I was horrified to learn that my positive outlook made no difference whatsoever. A situation in which I had been very emotional invested has forced me to give pause and deal with a varying range of emotions and the reasons why I’m feeling them. Part of why I’m so upset over it is because of the event itself, but I’m also partly upset because it was a physical manifestation of fears that I’ve pushed into the darkest corners of my mind.
I’m absolutely terrified inside, honestly. Over 5.5 years ago, I was forced to make a decision to alter my path and abandon a dream of which I had invested so much time and energy. I’m at a crossroads again, and I absolutely do not want to make a decision to abandon another dream. Several factors involved in my current stalemate are merely temporary issues that will resolve with time — my abandoned dream was a matter of permanent factors that likely won’t ever change. I’m finding more and more that the past decade hasn’t been at all what I would have imagined 10 years ago. I sure life’s like that for many others, but that doesn’t make it easier to manage. The entire human experience is totally different from everything else in nature, and sometimes I’m actually quite jealous of “lesser” species that really don’t have to think about such profound, abstract ideas. It’s a matter of finding food and water, maintaining a protected shelter, rearing and protecting offspring, and staying alive long enough to be biologically successful. It’s not about paying taxes, living up to expectations, fancy houses and cars, or finding your niche. We, as human, complicated things so much so to the point that we’re suffering for all sorts of stress-related ailments. We have amazing technological advances, but we’re never satisfied. Even now, I’m sure my words will resonate with at least one or two people, but I find myself feeling like writing this from the heart, from my thoughts isn’t good enough. See? We’re a complicated species.
I’m letting myself off the hook again. I’m letting myself off the hook for writing a more profound entry. What I’ve written is good enough — and it’s time to face reality once more and live in the present. It’s time once more to dive back in and do, rather than sit and wait for change.
Last month my sister went to Italy and Greece and brought back a couple bottles of wine for me and Brian. I requested marsala and chianti — because marsala makes excellent dishes, and chianti’s an Italian classic. I was also inspired by Bitchin’ Kitchen’s creamy chicken marsala penne. It was perfect: bite-sized chunks of chicken served over pasta. I got to work searching for recipes to build my own, but I mostly adapted this recipe from Bitchin’ Kitchen and Emeril Lagasse.
3 chicken breasts (or roughly 1.5-2lbs)
8-12oz sliced mushrooms (more or less, depending on your tastes — get creative with the varieties, too!)
Half of a diced vidalia onion (or just use what’s on sale and in season)
3/4 cup good Marsala wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 cup of AP flour
5 tbsps unsalted butter, divided
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Season flour with salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Chop chicken into bite-sized chunks. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat oil and one tbsp of butter in a pan. Cook the chicken through, then place on a plate in the oven to keep it warm. Add 3 tbsps butter into the pan, and saute the onions and mushrooms. Once golden, add marsala and bring to a boil. When reduced by half, add broth and remaining tbsp of butter. Lower heat and return chicken to the pan. Cook until sauce is thickened. Serve over penne pasta (or whatever pasta you’d like). Serves 4-6. I also added some green beans for some additional veggies.
What can you let yourself off the hook for?
Today I promised myself that I would make the time to write. I originally planned to publish a Foodie Friday post, seeing as how I had a recipe and pictures all set to go. This perfect prompt found me this morning before I received heartbreaking news from a friend this afternoon. I almost considered voiding that promise to myself because that heartbreaking news has been so devastating — and as devastated as I am for my friend, I can’t imagine just how deeply her pain must sting. Sitting down with my laptop this evening, reviewing tabbed windows, I knew exactly what I had to let myself off the hook for. I’m letting myself off the hook for writing what I planned to write. No amount of words I could write here would change past events. So I’m letting myself off the hook. I don’t need to show off what I made for dinner Monday night, nor do I need to be a creative genius right now. Instead, I will grieve the loss of someone so small, so fresh, so new, and so innocent. I will send my thoughts and prayers to my friend. I will make myself available — because that’s what I would want if I experienced that same pain. I would want to know that someone was there, even if it was 3am. I would want to know that I could cry with someone over what I fought so hard for but would never get to cherish. No mother should ever have to experience such a soul-shattering pain.
On Tuesday, I dropped a few f-bombs and came out about my husband’s bipolarism. In the three years of running this blog, I’ve been fairly tight-lipped about my husband’s condition based on the stigma society attaches to this disorder. People don’t view mental illness the way they view things like diabetes or cancer. I’m grateful for the work that Bring Change 2 Mind does in raising awareness and breaking down the stigmas associated with mental illness. I’m even more thankful to Kelly Gurnett of Cordelia Calls It Quits for sharing her own experience with bipolar disorder.
Now, it’s not like every day is a scary, horrible day with Brian. It’s not like what you see on TV or in movies that demonize those who suffer from bipolarism. He’s not a threat to society like the stigmas would lead you to believe. Actually, when he’s in a low, he’s really just a threat to himself — any harm caused to others would be a result of him causing harm to himself. He takes medicine to treat his condition, much like he takes medication to keep his triglyceride levels in check. It’s really not all that different from taking medication to prevent seizures (actually, his mood stabilize is an anti-seizure medication as well) or to control thyroid hormones. He regularly visits his psychiatrist to evaluate his treatment plan, and he visits a therapist once a week. Just like anyone with a health condition, he does what he needs to do in order to keep his disorder under control.
Today, I’m thankful to say that I see no reason why this should be kept secret from everyone else — after all, he’s my husband and a very big part of my life. He’s a very wonderful, loving person, and his presence enhances my life. I’m thankful knowing that there are others who suffer from this same condition and still lead fulfilling lives. Mostly though, I’m thankful to get this off my chest.