Way back in the day, at my old job, I was frequently teased for being a supernaturally fast email responder. I was a fast worker in general, back then. Aside from being quick to respond over email, I was a quick writer, quick to complete tasks—even the painstaking process of transmitting a book manuscript to production—and probably fast enough reader to have qualified as a speed reader, or close to it.
This is sort of funny for me to remember now, because in many ways I think I’ve become the opposite kind of worker. I still read and write quickly. But everything else seems to take me a long time.
Cooking in particular has become something I can only seem to do ploddingly if I want to do it well. Same with food photos. I’ve always been incredibly deliberate with meal suggestions and materials for my nutrition clients, but these days I spend even longer compiling them than ever. And my inbox situation at any given moment is…well. Not quite hopeless, but nothing to write home about, either 😉
I was thinking about this a lot this week. Instagram introduced reels, which are quick (15-second) videos, sort of similar to the snippets you might see on TikTok. Before I could even figure out what they were, it seemed as though most food bloggers had mastered the art of creating incredibly fun, engaging content using the new feature.
This tends to be my experience with social media. By the time I figure something out, many of the talented creators who do what I do have mastered the art of doing it really well. It’s inspiring, but it’s intimidating, too. It’s sometimes difficult to reconcile my slow adoption curve with the fact that I work in digital media, which is always changing at lightening speed.
I spent a few days this week feeling pretty down and out the things that make me slow to create and publish on various platforms. These include perfectionist tendencies (working on it), the fact that I’m quick to feel overwhelmed, intimidation, and a creative process that’s slow, for better or for worse. I remember being more fearless and oriented toward action, once upon a time. I wish I could be a little more that way now.
I spend too much time, as so many people do, comparing myself to others. I do this in spite of how inadequate it makes me feel, and in spite of the fact that it slows me down. If there’s any part of me that manages to convince myself that I’ll be more productive or better at my job as a result of self-comparison, experience proves otherwise.
Lately, at least, I’m able to make comparisons with a proportional amount of self-acknowledgment. Processing information slowly and deliberately means that I create from a grounded and thoughtful place. Being quick to overwhelm has taught me the art of maintaining boundaries and managing my energies effectively. Slowing down makes helps me to focus on, and truly appreciate, each task: each recipe, each written word, each image.
So often, the things we wish we could change about ourselves are also the home for under-appreciated and unnoticed gifts. I try to remember that, even as I push myself to grow. Wishing you both the ability to challenge yourself and the willingness to see your own strengths and special qualities in the week ahead.
Happy Sunday, friends, here are some recipes and reads.
I’m so excited to try Nicole’s vegan callaloo.
I hadn’t heard of korokke, Japanese croquettes, before I read Ellie’s recipe. Her white bean version looks delicious.
Tasty, swirly vegan blackberry muffins from Nicolette.
I can’t wait to try Jessica’s recipe for homemade vegan butter!
Finally, I love the idea of masala grilled cheese (any unusual spin on grilled cheese, really), and Shivani has a stellar recipe for it.
1. An interesting look at how Covid-19 might affect the upcoming flu season.
2. I enjoyed reading this article about the life of Mary King Ward. “Often cited as the first person ever to die in a car accident,” author Emily Willingham writes, “Mary King Ward was also one of the first successful female science popularizers, mixing religion, science, and entrepreneurial savvy to reach her 19th-century English audience from her home base of Ireland.”
3. A fascinating look at how mitochondira may play a role in mediating depression and anxiety.
5. Finally, a friend of mine sent me a link to Jacqueline Woodson’s poem “Absolute.” She said she thought I’d like it, and she was right. Maybe some of you will like it and its beautifully empowering message, too.
Have a restful afternoon and evening, everyone. Till soon.
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