Getting creative with dinner used to be a passion of mine. I loved trying new recipes and creating my own. I loved thinking about it and put a lot of time each week into dinners, even creating blog posts about recipes on top of it all. It is amazing to me how much things can change in life simply due to mental health. I slowly released a deep breath while simultaneously clicking the Pinterest button and suddenly realized that I was taking yet another step forward. It wasn’t enthusiastic which was evident by the sigh I had subconsciously released but it was deliberate. I have found myself plodding ever onward, slowly reintroducing back into my daily life the things that used to bring me joy. I recently had to take a step back from almost everything I had once loved but was not absolutely necessary to the proper operation of our home and family. You can read my previous posts to get more of an idea on what that entailed but stepping back and giving myself space to reduce stress and balance myself had forced me to keep the dinner part of my life simple and easy.
I guess when I woke up this morning my brain decided it had enough reserve to explore the bold delicious world of food with more focus and energy again. When my brain decides to launch me back into one of these areas I have vacated, I find myself a little apprehensive and cautious. My inability to do everything I once did had taken me so by surprise and the blow had hit me much like a ton of bricks. I say that quite literally as there were moments that I wondered if I would survive. Now as my mind begins its steady march forward I find myself trying to hold it back a little just simply out of fear. I fear going too far too fast and taking another crushing blow. Could I survive another one? I have yet to fully heal from the first one. It is a process and one I have never been through before.
I have always been one of those annoying people that over prepares for every single thing I do in life. I research it, take notes, make goals in my mind and take the steps slowly and methodically to ensure the outcome I have desired. Heaven help anyone that tries to hinder my path. To put it simply and honestly, I’m a control freak. I don’t relinquish control easily. I resemble the 1 year old who lucked upon a marshmellow that happened to land on the floor. I grasp it with tight hands and a devilish grin of delight at this treasure that is mine to fully enjoy but turn into a monster of hellish proportions as the prize of my life gets plucked from my grasp the moment mom realizes I have an enormous choking hazard squished gleefully in my palm. I scream in pure agony at the loss I have had to endure and I worry about what is going to happen next. I’m sure that death must be the only thing to follow something this terrible. I have always struggled with letting go of control in my life and I am quite sure that I always will.
From a very young age I took on a kind of caretaker role in the lives of those around me whom I loved. It was not something forced upon me, it was simply in my nature and as I began to fill that role major struggles started to become a constant factor in the lives of those I loved. It was just a simple coincidence that the two coincided and it was one of those things that just played out with life. The more I took on the more I was in control and the better I became at manipulating my world around me to maintain that control and make it work for me. This eventually leads to a highly stressful environment but I have only ever learned how to function in this kind of environment so for me this is home. This is comfortable. I was always the one who met stress and problems head on with a Spiderman like action thinking, “I got this.” I am learning how to function now even when, “I don’t got this” is my reality.
I am also learning to enjoy change. I NEVER thought I could enjoy and even look forward to change but it is as if there is this horizon that I was never able to see before because of the mountain of control I had build up around me as a gigantic security blanket of stress and limitations. My mountain came crashing down around me and when I stopped looking down in horror at the destruction lying all around my feet and the blurry cleared from my tear filled eyes, I viewed this gorgeous horizon of possibilities that had always been just beyond the mountains. It was there obscured from my view and fear had kept me from it for so long. Finally I can see it clearly and yes the unknown of it scares me, the fact that I have little control over it scares me but the possibilities embolden me and bring life to my tired mind filling it with new dreams and visions of what can be. These are way less concrete than what I used to see. These are lucid and fluid ideas that are less controlled by me and more guided by me. Each step forward comes with fear, yes, but as I let go of control and enjoy this new place I am in I will choose to enjoy the journey in all that it contains. The fear, the joy, the disappointment, the hope…it all is important and all a reality of life. I cannot control it and I won’t try to anymore. I don’t have to. I’m free.
As my 3 year old son says when he trips over the blanket that is tied around his shoulders, “Sometimes Spiderman trips on his cape.” Yes he does, and it’s ok because even when he trips on his cape and falls flat on his face his heart is in the right place and when he gets back up he will be smarter and humbler. When we learn from our falls and realize our weaknesses we become more in touch with reality and we can get back to saving our world without losing ourselves and our sense of wonder at what might be when we release it all and watch the world freely unfold before us. Right now it is unfolding onto the pages of Pinterest and that will spill over into my kitchen tonight. What becomes of it is yet to be determined but whatever it is will smell incredibly good especially when I know that it is a product of my next step forward. Marching on…