I remember these weeks of 2017 very vividly. I can’t quite put my finger on why but as I walk through them in 2018 I find traces of them around every corner. Maybe it is the daffodils that I have once again filled my home with. Or that this time last year I started going to a gym and one year later I voluntarily continue to go because it’s not really your ordinary gym. Possibly, it’s that this week a year ago, I felt the strongest I had ever on a work out and then bam, my initial adductor injury decided to rear her ugly head. To add further insult to injury I’m able to run even fewer miles now than I was running 365 days ago. Something about those final weeks in March and those first weeks of April feel transformative and meaningful with a year’s worth of reflection and living under my belt. And yet, as I remember them I have remembered them with a sense of sadness. Sadness because sitting here today it is easy to look at my life a year later and feel like nothing has changed, that in some ways, in too many ways, I am either the same or further behind my spring self of 2017.
My inner critic who has far too strong a voice in my head wants to see it that way, especially right now, where so much feels hard and never ending. It wants to tell me the story of how I’m not good enough because: ‘Look, look at the progress of the last 365 days, can’t you see there isn’t very much?’ I could look at it that way. Part of me wants to because I had envisioned myself sitting in a very different place when I was buying daffodils last March. Irregardless of that fact that those thoughts are plain untrue, that isn’t the mindset I want to have. All this thinking that results in me finding the ways I am lacking and not enough. It needs to go. It helps no one. Least of all me. And I have grown, tremendously in some areas. In others I am in the thick of it and all I can really do is throw my hands up in the air and surrender myself to the process, commit to the process and acknowledge it may be sometime before I can really see or measure the growth. Patience has never really been my thing.
Here is the on paper comparison:
I was injured. But I was able to run my first half marathon.
I was stressed about my weight.
I was stressed about my finances. 10 weddings booked.
I was in a relationship and yet I felt like I was living my own life fully independent of it.
I found I was physically stronger than I believed.
I felt guilty about all the things I had in my life and my ability to travel.
I filled my house with daffodils.
I discovered my love of hot almond milk tea lattes.
I didn’t believe in myself as a photographer.
I wanted to control everything. (But I didn’t know it).
I really wanted to start a blog.
I had this idea about photographing women.
I was really really hard on myself.
I could not get my sourdough bread to properly rise.
I was afraid to be alone.
I wanted to spend more time with my family.
I am injured. But I have not given up. My resiliency surprises me and makes me proud.
I am stressed about my weight, but I am working hard to take a new, intuitive approach to my health that is really hard but that I deep down believe in.
I am stressed about my finances and yet I am honoring the call to a slower pace this year despite it. 8 weddings booked for the year.
I am single.
Despite all my setbacks in all forms of training I feel like a stronger athlete and person.
I feel less guilt and more gratitude for what I have. I travel guilt free.
I am writing these words surrounded by daffodils.
I am drinking peanut butter hot chocolate as I write these words.
I am more in love with photography than ever. I recognize that it is a part of how I experience this world and my life. And that I have something to offer the photographic world.
I want to control everything (still). But I see it now.
I started this blog and it while it has taken me almost a full year from the first post to actually share here, I believe in my commitment to write and share my story. Or I fake that belief on the days I am filled with doubt.
I am photographing women for a project but I’m afraid that I don’t have the follow through to see the project through.
I am hard on myself but kinder.
I can consistently bake sourdough bread that rises.
I am not afraid to be alone.
My mom and I talk on the phone almost daily. We are closer than ever. This last 365 days has been filled with so much joy because of her.
A very good and very wise friend once told me about her future 80 year old self. They’d already had a conversation about the life this 80 year old woman would be looking back upon. But what this friend pointed out that I had too often failed to consider was that the path to reaching that joy filled slightly eccentric a bit nutty 80 year old self was not linear. Life feels very nonlinear right now. Progress is in the smallest of steps, the slowest of breaths. It’s in the choice to keep fighting, to keep pushing, to keep giving myself grace, to granting myself rest when that need is only as quiet as an itch. It’s the sum of all my choices and not each move on the board because some of them feel like, ‘WTF was I thinking there?’ or ‘I finally know what I am doing’ often in the same day, sometimes the same hour, the same breath. Basically, this feels like a very weird time in my life.
A year ago I made this ‘springy’ avocado toast (which I’m calling a tartine because I love France and feeling fancy and it is an open faced sandwich so that makes it a tartine) with the intent of sharing it on this blog very soon after first consuming it. I made it the first time I went to my gym. It feels right to finally be sharing it a year later as I in some ways live an identically different life these hundreds of days later. One key difference in the recipe is last year I made it on stunted sourdough that I made with my own two hands. This year, it’s made on sourdough I lovingly coaxed into rising and producing an even and moist crumb.
Happy spring friends!
- ¼ cup frozen peas, thawed
- ¼ large avocado or ½ a small avocado
- ¼ teaspoon yellow mustard powder
- 5-8 large fresh mint leaves, divided and thinly sliced
- sea salt to taste
- thick slice of sourdough bread
- goat cheese, ricotta or dairy free spreadable cheese
- greens of choice
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- sunflower seeds, toasted
- radish, thinly sliced
- poached egg (optional)
- Toss your greens with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
- Toast your bread in a toaster or on an oiled cast iron skillet flipping to brown each side.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl mash the peas, avocado, mustard powder, half the mint leaves and sea salt with a fork until a rustic mix forms.
- Spread toasted bread with your a layer of cheese of choice. Top half the cheese layer with your pea and avocado mixture. Top the other half with your salad greens. Finish with a poached egg if using and sunflower seeds, radish, the remaining mint and a final squeeze of lemon juice.