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The Love Project

Learning how to love myself. One huge mistake at a time.

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Writing

What your cooking says about you

I have friends visiting from out of town this week. A tribe of beautiful, colorful, genuine women. The conversations are lively and meaningful. We wrap our voices around sex, parenting, friendship, divorce, art, heartache, happiness. Things we all know to varying degrees.

I’ve been excitedly going through my dusty recipe box, pulling out things I’ve wanted to try. I had ripped out a recipe from a magazine awhile ago for a broccoli and cauliflower bake that sounded yummy. It called for avocado oil, ginger and red pepper flakes. Savory, bright, spicy. I offered to make it last night as my contribution to the group dinner. Simple recipe with powerful flavors.

When it came out of the oven, I popped a piece of broccoli in my mouth. It tasted like broccoli and cauliflower and nothing else. No ginger. No red pepper. No avocado oil. Everyone ate and nodded in my direction. It was good enough.

I woke up before everyone else this morning and attacked the pile of dishes from last night. When I was scrubbing the casserole dish that I had used to bake the veggies, I made a mental note to write a blog post about how my cooking reflects how I approach a lot of things in my life, including my writing. I don’t take chances because I’m terrified of offending. I hold a little back when I’m in a position to give of myself. I procrastinate blogging until I have the perfect idea and have the perfect amount of time to write it out perfectly. Which never happens. So instead of making yet another note about something I will eventually say, I decided to just sit down and bang this damn thing out (and on my phone, no less).

It might be a little overdone. It might not be exactly the flavor you were looking for. That’s ok. You don’t have to keep eating. I’m tired of not surprising myself. Caution and under-spiced broccoli is boring.

I’m going to start flavoring my life. Right now. Damn it.

How to Use Jealousy To Your Advantage

I don’t know about you, but the older I get the less jealousy I feel. When I was younger, I wanted what the other kids had: the cool cars, the fancy jeans, the hot jock boyfriend. I had none of those things. I drove a shitty van that my step-dad used for work, wore guy jeans because I was too tall to wear girls, and didn’t date another living human being until I was well into my 20’s (see previous comment about being too tall). I wanted all the stuff I couldn’t have and felt less than because I didn’t have them.

I no longer care about cars as status because, well, who gives a shit, and I can wear jeans made for females now thanks to specialty online stores, and it turns out there are a lot of tall men in the world just waiting to take me and my long legs out to dinner.

But I still feel jealousy sometimes. And I finally realized what a blessing it is.

The jealousy I feel now isn’t about stuff. It isn’t about getting or having. It’s a deep longing coming from an unfulfilled part of me. Not the part of me that wants outer validation for what I drive or wear or who I date. It comes from a part of me that feels like purpose. The jealousy I feel now is toward successful writers. And I don’t even mean successful commercially, though that’s usually how I find out about them. I mean successful in that they’ve made a commitment to write, to tell stories, to learn and refine their craft, to simply show up to the page and try.

It used to feel like a rub, like some agitating pain, coming across new and upcoming writers. Now I understand what that feeling really is: an indication of my true purpose. I know how cheesy that sounds, so flighty, so pat. But when I sit down to write, and I actually produce something, it feels like nothing else I’ve ever felt. Even when it’s hard or I’m afraid I sound like a self-indulgent twit (like right now), it’s the showing up and trying that fills me up and quiets that jealous little monster.

If you start to notice the places in your life where you’re jealous (not the wanting the Audi because your neighbor has one type of jealousy), but the kind that rubs on your soul – you might get to a better understanding of what you’re meant to do with your life.

Have you ever noticed this type of jealousy? What makes you feel it?

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