Can/Can’t Canteen Can Can

…my smorgasbord of feelings…

It’s fully impossible for me not to notice AND acknowledge that when I reflect on my *smorgasbord of feelings over the past five months, it’s almost always associated with food. (see aforementioned reference to *smorgasbord)

Okay, it’s more than a casual food association. It may not even be “almost” always, but ALWAYS. My moods and feelings are like a vulnerable-loving-forgiving-physically-stagnant, casserole of emotions, covered in crispy french fried onions, located on an all-you-can-eat buffet of mostly unpredictable, hungry/foody/full feelings.

Buffet…Smorgasbord…Canteen…Chow Fest…FEELINGS.

It’s so interesting, because these days, I am generally peaceful. In many ways, I have never actually liked or loved myself (and others) more than while this pandemic has been going on. P. S. I am thinking about food right nowcheddar cheese on an egg bagel with honey mustard

Okay, I’m back.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll see that my daughter, Charlotte, has been baking and creating decadent treats on nearly a daily basis. A key fact is, I am not overindulging in her amazing culinary creations.

Bearing witness to Charlotte’s visionary process has helped me understand myself better. My imaginative and often funny thoughts of food – casseroles, carbs, KETO, vintage gelatinous “aspic-tacular” platters, buffets and canteens are all really healthy ways of coping with:

  • Missing people
  • Craving human touch
  • Concerns about money and being able to provide for my kids
  • My worry over other people’s health
  • Wearing pants inside out and backwards
  • Simply wearing pants
  • Wearing pants that, once fit and now feel like medical-grade compression wear
  • Seriously though… I’m not going to list everything. This is the last bullet point. You catch my drift.

Like you and most everyone, I’ve had to sit (long stretches) alone with myself. I never, ever forget that we’re collectively in this trauma together and not being alone, even though I’m physically alone sometimes, is incredibly comforting.

Also, even if I’m a little more than slightly flabby, I’m really not too shabby. I imagine the same is true for you.

So, even though I ate two dinners last night, (and thought of food even more), it’s not the end of the world. I mean, it doesn’t happen every night and in evaluating what transpired in that extra meal, one could say that I just had a really early breakfast. (Three hours after my original dinner.)

On a physical front, I KNOW I have to move my body more. I haven’t been too into “getting physical,” until I decided to start dancing at least 45 minutes per day.

Oh fine. I’ll move my tush.

Today, I danced for 90 minutes. As I moved my body, I thought about the aforementioned, vintage gelatinous “aspic-tacular” platter. I laughed as I danced, because the committee in my head was entertaining. It was hard to breathe, but I just kept going.

I even danced a “Can Can,” that I think seemed more like a “Can’t Can’t.”

But, it’s all okay. I mean, everything I mentioned in this post is okay.

Sure, I hope I eat only one dinner tonight. I pray that I’ll dance as hard tomorrow as I did today.

And all the while, I hope I can continue to laugh at and enjoy all of my food associations, my temporary flab and life on life’s terms in general.

I’m sending you so much love and virtual hugs. Please be gentle with yourself. You are a gift and very brave to be walking through this surreal time.

Stay safe and healthy. I hope we can have dinner together, (just one) soon.

How are you?

So… How am I?

“How are you?”

Most of the time, I have no idea how to answer that question. Do you?

In some respects, this collective trauma has left me feeling less alone than any other time I can recall. I’ve also found myself growing quieter and maybe a little more peaceful. I can’t really explain why but I’m not too into exploring or even asking, “why?”

Some key things I have noted in the past several months:

  • A lot of things are less funny, including me. I’m okay with that.
  • I notice little wonderful things in my daily life and I’m on the lookout for them.
  • I do a gratitude list every single day, even (especially) when I feel crappy.
  • I have become much smaller and I don’t mean in the physical sense, but my emotional investment in things that once appeared to matter, really don’t. I’m grateful for this too.
  • I forgive my sloppy eating but not in a way where I’m giving myself permission to eat five dinners. I’m just kinder to myself and I think, others.
  • I pay far more attention to how I use my own physical, mental, emotional and financial resources – I’m more discerning.
  • I don’t think I’m ugly even though I am physically not even close to my best.
  • I am sometimes incredibly sad, but rarely depressed.
  • I am shocked by other people’s behavior and especially meanness. I have learned in the past several months that I’m actually more naive than I ever thought possible.
  • I’m not becoming cynical.
  • I have a new appreciation for my previous trauma. The silver lining is that this is just another trauma and this time, I’m not alone in it.
  • I miss human touch.
  • Some of my favorite family moments have happened during this time period.
  • I generally think more in “we” and not “me.”
  • I’ve grown less judgmental.
  • I have fallen more deeply in love with fundraising and nonprofit management since the pandemic began.
  • I am very impressed by my (and other people’s) children and their ability to cope, hope, adapt and act for positive change.
  • I’m inspired to and must help the arts community.
  • I’m devoted to learning how to be an antiracist and I have a lot to learn and do.
  • I am sure I’m not destined for greatness but am good enough. What a relief.

So…

How am I?

I am okay with not knowing what’s coming down the pike and when I’m uncomfortable, I just sort of sit in my uncomfortableness. It always passes, comes back, passes again and so on…

How are you?

When Thanksgiving sucks…again

I’m posting this again, not because the post below is so great, but because I hope anyone who feels sad, lonely, pissed off and/or fearful on Thanksgiving, to be reminded that:

  1. You’re not alone
  2. It will pass
  3. Holidays come with stress, often veiled in “should-ing,” pressure and lots of carbs, sometimes topped with crispy fried onions.

I hope that if you do feel crappy on Thanksgiving, you don’t beat yourself up for feeling the way you do.

I’m sending you love and acceptance of wherever you are, exactly as you are.


When Thanksgiving Sucks…

Continue reading “When Thanksgiving sucks…again”

The Practice for the Panicky Parent

I recently learned that my kids see all that I am. They’ve known about my many flaws for some time now, but I am just starting to get okay with this fact. My hope is that I can use their truths about me as a learning tool for personal, parental and professional growth. Continue reading “The Practice for the Panicky Parent”

Lightening up about mistakes

Tonight, for some unknown reason, I suddenly thought of a beauty product I tried a few weeks before my wedding in 2002… Epil-Stop.

Please see below for happy customers.

Like most brides, I wanted to feel and be as lovely as I possibly could.

Continue reading “Lightening up about mistakes”

Grateful for Art.

And mindful reflection.

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Evanston Canal, by the hospital

And quiet.

And breath.

And tears.

And laughter.

And color.

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J and C in Chinatown

And sound.

And eyes that see.

And ears that hear.

And the willingness to work through what I cannot see or hear,

yet,

or maybe ever.

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Safe doesn’t always mean pretty

Instagram post 11-13-18
Strength from all over the place. Some boundaries too.

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No such thing as trapped. Not really.

Grateful for all that has led me here, right now.

Grateful for you and others on my path who may have caused wounds,

And scabs.

And scars.

And joy.

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My busy head. I have learned to like my head and its committee.

And grateful for my voice and for yours.

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One scar, of many.

This is my heart.

And this is my art.

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When I couldn’t sleep last night, this happened.

And we all have stuff with which to make art.

So grateful.

 

A Love Letter Redux to Juliette

The original letter I wrote to Juliette four years ago can be found here – “For Juliette: A Love Letter You’ll Hate (For Now)”. I write my daughters fairly often, but this one stands out and serves as a sort of unspoken grading tool for how I am doing as a mother. I give myself a “C” grade as a mother, but the important lesson here is that I don’t accept my own “C” grade. I trust the trustworthy people in my life instead. Continue reading “A Love Letter Redux to Juliette”

The trickiest of all technical difficulties

Over the past several weeks, I haven’t published any blog posts, but have authored at least 200 articles in my head. The reviews have been mixed, according to the reviewers who reside in my head.

Continue reading “The trickiest of all technical difficulties”

Cuticles, clouds & creativity to the core

As I was flat ironing my teenage daughter’s hair before school this morning, she acknowledged the “HUGE” growth on my right cheek. I think her words were, “You’re right, Mom. That zit IS HUGE!” She said it as if surprised that my description (for once), was totally accurate and perhaps, even understated. I have lovingly named my blemish, “Mt. Hellonacheek.” Continue reading “Cuticles, clouds & creativity to the core”

The Insomniac’s Dreams

Every so often, I get a wicked bout of insomnia. It used to strike with more frequency when I was younger and not so mellow and low-keyed, but it’s back and with a vengeance. Continue reading “The Insomniac’s Dreams”