One of the many awesome benefits of blogging through WordPress are the writing challenges offered by authors of the Daily Press. I consider them all, yet only write when the topic deeply moves me. A lot of the time topics have nothing to do with food or cooking. I usually work to make the spin since that is the focus of my blog.
The challenge: What is vulnerability to me and how does it influence my writing. The topic developed from Brene’ Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. Brene’ Brown is a social worker who studies shame and vulnerability. I first learned about her several months ago when my bff suggested I watch her TED Talk presentations. In those beginning days after “M” shocked me by telling me to move out without explanation, I was definitely exposed to raw vulnerability. Brene’ Brown’s words were my steadfast companion nearly every night for countless weeks. I read her books, too. Her words resonated with me so strongly and deeply.
Brene’ says, “to feel is to be vulnerable”. In those first few days I was shocked and numb. I spent them at my bff’s house drinking rum and eating potato chips when I wasn’t laying on the couch staring at the ceiling, in alternating states of utter disbelief and paralyzed panic. I had no control over what was happening, didn’t know why it was happening and it was threatening the very core of my sense of safety and security. Home. I thought I would be homeless. I thought I would have to give up my cats. I had no money and a very part time, minimum wage job. I was so deeply disturbed by the behavior of this person I loved. It really scared me. I wondered what other awful things “M” might inflict on me. It triggered past trauma that created an inner tsunami. I felt unbelievable anger and confusion, made even worse by “M’s silence. Every imaginable feeling coursed through me. Mostly I felt defenseless and unsafe. My bff supported me through all my messy feelings, never once making me feel ashamed of where I was right in any given moment. That exposure was pure vulnerability; allowing others to see me and to really be seen at a time when I needed to be seen the most. My bff loves me through my struggles and my strengths.
I spent the next several months feeling incredibly exposed and vulnerable as I struggled to secure a place to live, get a job and re-build my life. I asked for help often. What I really wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sob uncontrollably while screaming to the skies, why is this happening?! But, I faced each day; I did what I needed to create stability and security for myself again. Along the way I have been so blessed with good fortune in every aspect of my life. I have received an abundance of love in endless ways by countless people, some of whom I did not know at the time and are now friends. This story, part of my journey, has unmasked a level of vulnerability I am so grateful to have experienced. I feel deeply humbled by this walk in life.
Vulnerability is pure courage.
Brown says “only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Whew! That is a big statement!! Makes me catch my breath! Seems so scary! Yet, also as Brown says, one must believe they are worthy of love and belonging. What I currently experience is a complete sense of wholeness in my life. My job reflects my truest self and I am excited as I develop my role and do what I love. My relationships are blossoming. I am stable and happy in my home. At this moment I can truly say I feel I have everything I want and need right now. I am happy. I do believe I am worthy. I know I am not perfect. I own my mistakes. I am willing to show up in life with all my imperfections and just be real. Truth and courage are not always comfortable, but they are never weakness.
Vulnerability is not weakness.
To say this is to say having feelings equates to being weak. Vulnerability is certainly risky and scary. It opens one up to the possibility of hurt and betrayal, but it also creates connection and love. I would much rather live with love and connection in my world than feeling the need to be perfect, having fear of rejection and judgement for not being so.
How does vulnerability influence my writing? It challenges me to be thoughtful in my words, to speak my truth and to risk the criticism of others. I also feel strong enough in myself to take that risk because I know the critics don’t matter. I don’t think it makes it less scary to “put myself out there”. I just feel the need because to do otherwise is to reject who I am. To see my own words gives me strength in my truth. It cultivates a momentous energy of joy and fulfillment.
As I said earlier, this topic and the story that developed has nothing to do with food. Here’s my twist; I took one of the biggest steps of my life thus far; one that makes me feel completely vulnerable and exposed. That is, I am actively taking steps to buy a tiny house and a piece of land. Scary and so incredibly exciting!! With this decision comes huge responsibility and accountability. I decided to cut back on my grocery bill so I can save more quickly toward my goal. I developed the most delicious soup recently that was simple and cheap. Getting a little more creative in the kitchen and using what is on hand in my fridg helps me save money and feel accomplished as I work to make a long time dream a reality. I know this to be true: I am worthy. It’s okay if I feel completely vulnerable even saying that!
Enjoy the delicious simplicity of this soup, know you are giving your body healthful nutrients and saving a little money while you’re doing it!
Simply Delicious Soup on the Cheap
Put the carcass of a 2# chicken (organic, free range) into boiling for 30 minutes to 1 hour, allowing any remaining meat to come off the bones. Strain liquid into bowl then add back to the stock pot, keeping the burner on simmer. When bones are cooled, clean the meat from them and add back into the stock pot of liquid. At this point you can add any spices and veggies you have accessible in your kitchen. Bring the stove temperature back up to a boil for 2 minutes then reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour or until all vegetables are tender. Here’s what I added:
1/2 of one yellow onion
1 garlic clove
1 small patty pan squash
1 medium yellow squash
3 medium carrots
1 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1 15 oz can of great northern beans, drained
1 small handful of quinoa linguine style noodles (just enough for some “chew”)
Spices included: garlic powder, tumeric, thyme, crushed pepper and sea salt
In total this entire soup cost me about five dollars if I don’t include the price of the entire chicken, which I got several meal from before the soup! I am still eating it 6 days later. Today’s lunch will be the last of it! Now that is savings!