Happy weekend to you, and happy Easter to those who are celebrating today. This is less my holiday than Passover, which I celebrated on Friday, or Greek Easter, which my mom and I will celebrate next Sunday, but I’m spending time with the idea of rebirth.
A year ago today, Steven moved out. It’s a strange anniversary to commemorate, but I’ve been surprised at how much feeling it brings up. Memories have been coming and going, and I even had my first dream since the breakup last night. (I’ve never been able to remember dreams; a year or so before the breakup, I started remembering bits and pieces, and my therapist and I spent time journaling them, but they stopped altogether last spring.)
I’ve been observing this one-year mark in small ways. I wrote a thank you card to the yoga teacher whose class I took while Steven was here with the moving van. I’d put myself in a supported pose and cried quietly through most of this teacher’s class, and I remember feeling so grateful to him for giving me the space to do that, for bearing witness gently.
I’m also thinking of the time that’s passed since April, comparing where I am when I wrote this post to where I am today. It’s a different interior landscape. Anxiety has receded; I know that it’s something I live with and will experience again, but it’s been months since it affected my ability to function, and I’m grateful for a period of freedom. I’m still angry, but I’m less angry, and I’m not clinging to my anger the way I was for a while.
I’ve gained enough perspective to see that the breakup isn’t something that happened to me, which is how it felt at first. I’m learning to own the things I chose not to see, the clues I didn’t want to pay attention to, the ways in which I did my own hiding and dissembling. I’ve gotten over the idea that there’s something I could have done to make things happen differently. The relationship belonged to both of us; I couldn’t and shouldn’t have steered it on my own.
I’m letting go of my shame about the fact that things ended and the way they ended. I’m releasing the idea that what happened between us is some sort of indication that I’m not capable of making a lasting partnership work. I carried that idea around like a weight for a long time; it’s still with me, but I’m learning how to put it down.
I’ve started dating again, here and there. It’s been OK. Mostly it’s shown me how far I am from feeling at peace with myself and my life as it is. So I’m continuing to take the advice of a good friend who invited me to date myself. I’m planning solitary time and activities that I look forward to. I’m saving for a trip this summer. I’ve made my home a space that I love being in. After months of erratic sleep, too much screen time, and soothing myself with vegan cake, I’m getting back into more consistent self-care routines, including calming nighttime rituals, lots of nourishing food (along with the soul-nourishing treats), and finding a good balance between social time and me time. I’m redefining the experience of being on my own.
More than any other breakup I’ve experienced, this one has worked in unpredictable ways. The same wise friend who encouraged me to date myself told me, “heart wounds aren’t the same as other wounds—the healing is never linear.” For a while, I felt so impatient to be healed and partnered up again, which I see now was a way of resisting what had changed. I’m not interested in rushing the process along anymore; I’m simply staying curious about what it has to teach me. Or at least that’s how I feel on a good day.
A few weeks ago I started reading Sharon Salzberg’s Real Love. The book has helped me to see something that I was starting to see already, which is that love is abundant, but some of the narratives we create about it are narrow and fragile. I’m working to widen my understanding of love and to cultivate the self-compassion that makes me more able to give and receive it. Even a month of this mindfulness practice has helped me to feel more connected. And I’m grateful to Salzberg for reminding me that “letting go is an inside job, something only we can do for ourselves.”
I’m looking out my window on this Easter Sunday at trees that are just about to start blooming again, peeks of sun through a cloudy sky, and I’m catching breeze through the window that’s finally cracked open as New York City thaws from winter. I’m feeling poignantly aware of how possible it is for life to begin again. What a blessing.
Wishing you a hopeful start start to the week. Here are some recipe links and reads.
Lindsey’s apple breakfast cookies look like just the power snack to get me through this wild home stretch of grad school.
I’m so intrigued by the idea of a miso pesto ramen!
I want to toast thick slices of this seeded current spelt bread and eat it for breakfast tomorrow.
Walnut avocado yum sauce, anyone?
1. Miriam Reilly draws on her experience of grief to inform these wise words on how to comfort the brokenhearted.
2. A reader sent me this article, which offers a curious and interested, yet balanced perspective on the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry. On the same topic, new research suggests that the DASH diet—which can be modified to fit a vegan lifestyle and has been associated with lower rates of many chronic diseases—may benefit depression, too (I paused when I saw the word “cure,” but the article is more nuanced than the headline).
3. My cousin gave birth to very premature twins over the summer. I’d worked in the NICU as a volunteer during my post-bacc, but this was my first glimpse into the often terrifying experience of being the parent of an extremely premature baby. This article highlights the remarkable advances in neonatology that are changing odds for premies who have access to care.
4. On the topic of pregnancy, RD Jess Cording addresses food shaming and food anxiety during pregnancy. I really like her emphasis on tuning out shaming or triggering voices.
5. Finally, and relatedly, I was moved to tears by Heather’s tribute to ED recovery and how it opened up space for her to experience the joys of new motherhood. It’s a really beautiful read.
Till soon, be well.
I’m shaking off the last aches and sniffles of a summer cold this morning, but my grumpiness about the cold is being offset by my delight in a beautiful, dry, and clear morning here in NYC. It’s been damp and gray for the last few days—good weather for staying home and sipping tea, but a little dreary overall. It’s nice to see the sun. I’ve been reading some articles on loneliness in the last day or two, both published in The New Scientist….
I’m just back from a short trip to D.C., where I was visiting family. I had just enough time to walk through my old neighborhood haunts, catch up with a couple friends, and simply enjoy being back in the District. I expected the memories of my D.C. years to feel weighty. My time in Washington was eventful: it started with a breakup, was enriched by a lot of unexpected friendship and camaraderie, closed the door on my ambitions of being a doctor, and…
As you can see, it’s been a busy weekend over here! For a long time I’ve been hoping to make this blog more user-friendly. It’s been my intention to offer more easily searchable recipes, useful resources, and a brighter, cleaner design. I’m so happy to introduce you to the new look on this wintery Sunday afternoon. If you start to poke around, you’ll find that recipes can now be searched according to dietary preference (gluten-free, tree nut free, no oil, etc.) or meal…
Happy Friday, friends. As you settle into your weekend, here’s a little reading material for you. 1. Delicata Squash Butter from Helyn of Helyn’s Healthy Kitchen looks like a scrumptious alternative to almond or pumpkin butter. 2. This Cranberry Walnut Chickpea Salad Sandwich from Julie of the Simple Veganista looks filling and tasty. 3. Janet’s Pan-Roasted Cauliflower Steak is, like all of her recipes, creative and lovely. 4. I’ve been on a soup kick since the rutabaga and parsnip concoction I posted yesterday,…