The other day, a girl in my high school group asked what I was like when I was her age. She asked what I did when upset, my teenage equivalent to eating a tub of ice cream in front of a sad movie. I thought a moment and suddenly remembered sitting on the floor in my room with the green carpet and sea foam walls, back pressed up against the bed, journal out and angry music turned up loud. I’d write poetry.
I wrote a lot of terrible poetry. I also wrote some poems that were quite good, words that I still have and to this day, can bring chills in their ability to convey a feeling, to put me back in the exact moment of their writing.
My AP English teacher singled out a particular poem one day during my senior year. Standing at his podium, he read it aloud to the class. I still recall the moment because I was incredibly embarrassed. I mostly reserved my poetry-releases to funny bits in birthday cards, never sharing the serious ones. Though he didn’t say my name, I sat there petrified, afraid I’d be called out. I don’t know why I’d chosen that particular poem to submit for a class assignment; perhaps because it was powerful, those words having been torn from somewhere I didn’t know existed. Having them on paper was a vulnerability and the very act of sharing with my teacher was scary enough; having them read aloud to a room full of peers was unnerving. If only those words were safer, lighter-hearted, less mature, I would have been more fine in sharing.
Mr. Colley having done reciting, he and the others praised those words, commending their particular arrangement. As I listened, I allowed myself to momentarily separate, treating the words as if they were the work of another. In some ways their ownership wasn’t mine as in the throes of writing, I never really had a choice in putting them down.
I share this memory because it’s exactly what I felt in writing and sharing my last post.
I cannot begin to express what it is like to sort through all the words, thoughts, and feelings inside and pull them out, one by one, getting them down on a page exactly as they were meant to be, and then having them composed, opening a window and flinging them out to the world haphazardly, not knowing why or what will become of them, knowing only they need to be flung.
I’m only just recovering from the result.
I am overwhelmed by the response; by the amount and depth of public and private messages received. The summary, if I can summarize, is that it is important to be real, to be vulnerable, to share the highs and the lows and to help each other out in our improving.
My dear friend Kari shared a mantra on her blog that she spent a year striving to live by. I was so inspired by Kari’s mantra that I wrote it down and plastered it to the back of my phone. When it wore off, I tucked it away in my purse. On the days I am furthest from living by them, I seem to randomly pull that wisp of paper out and gain an instant paradigm shift.
Kari’s words: Be brave. Be kind. Be true.
I don’t have preconceived notions that anything I say here is particularly important in the grand scheme of things or even inspiring to others, but I do know that Kari’s words stuck with me. I’ve been pondering them, applying them, being brave with them. In passing them along, I hope Kari’s mantra can serve as a guide for you, just as it has guided me. In whatever ways that apply, I hope you can be brave. I hope you can remember to be kind. And when life brings little nudges, I hope you can be true.
Miso Quinoa Polenta, serves 3-4
I’ve been making a mess of polenta this spring and one day, realizing I was short on cornmeal/polenta, I grabbed the quinoa and my coffee grinder and inspiration was born. The result is a nice change from both quinoa and polenta, and combines the best of both. I used a tri-colored quinoa, so the result is a touch gray, but any type will do. Grind it down to a fine meal in batches. As for the miso, I have only tried this with a soy-free chickpea miso that I purchase from a big bulk container at the co-op. I think it is this kind, but I’m not entirely sure. Regardless of what you choose, I recommend a lighter type.
1 cup quinoa
2 + cups broth of choice or water
1 Tbs. light miso
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
3-4 spring carrots, finely grated
a big handful of salad greens
spring onion greens, sliced
4 eggs, fried, or protein of choice
sunflower seeds for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium pot, bring water or broth to a boil. Slowly, whisk in the quinoa polenta, making sure no clumps form, and turn down to medium-low. Cook until it is as thick as you desire, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more liquid as needed. Turn off the heat and stir in miso and salt and pepper to taste.
- While polenta is cooking, prep the vegetables and fry the eggs.
- Spoon the polenta into plates or bowls, toss on the vegetables, sunflower seeds, and eggs. Enjoy!