I've been perusing the new Jamie Oliver cookbook ("Jamie's Food Revolution") and, as usual when I look at his books, getting inspired. I first bought one about 6 years ago, and used it constantly. (Who knew that the Brits could make good food, lol! And who knew that chicken baked with bananas and corn would turn out so well?!?!?!)
This was when he did his first school lunch program, in the UK (He did something similar in the U.S. last year.) It's what gave me a real appreciation for family meals and real food. He also has a regular column in Australia's "Delicious" magazine; hella expensive, but SO worth it! (That's where I first heard about Curtis Stone. Did you know that when he first came to the U.S. an started filming "Take Home Chef" he prowled the aisles of Gelson's grocery store in Pasadena? The very same place where I'd do my shopping while my son had his occupational therapy nearby! I started dressing nicely and putting on makeup, just in case. Never saw him, though. Sigh.)
But, I also have a confession to make; at Safeway today, I picked up a few boxes of Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choice frozen entrees.
Because...I LIKE them!
There's a part of me that chastises myself for it. It's frozen, it's processed, it's all the things that "real" food isn't. Then another part of me pipes up and tells the first part to stuff it. That's the same part that tells me it's OK to have a Coke Zero now and then.
I LIKE that part!
That second part may just be the part that's holding on to whatever vestiges of sanity I have left.
Because, as we all know, I have perfectionist and "good girl" tendencies. Success is elusive, nay impossible! I can never be thin enough, smart enough, good enough at ANYTHING, and certainly not healthy enough!
For example: I went to the dentist recently, convinced they were gonna tell me I had a mouth full of Jack Sparrow pirate teeth and would need 6 root canals. Y'know what they said? I needed 2 fillings re-done and a cleaning. Oh, and a mouth guard, 'cause I grind my teeth when I sleep.
Then they gave me a new toothbrush, set up an appointment, and sent me on my merry way!
No one scolded or yelled at me. No one tsked as they looked in my mouth. In fact, they were all very nice and helpful!
It's hard to get used to. After so many years of being criticized an manipulated, I've come to expect it. (In fact, the last dentist I went to yelled at me and scolded me for being in pain after chipping a tooth and EXPOSING A NERVE!!!!!)
Because I've been thinking A LOT about the way I was spoken to and treated for much of my life. And reveling in the feeling of self-righteousness that went along with it; It WASN'T just me! I WASN'T being paranoid! People really were overly critical, and judgmental (emphasis on the MENTAL, in some cases). I remember one day in which I was criticized for the way I walked, the way I danced (which, granted, was pretty spazzy), the fact that I chewed my lip and/or twirled my hair, and for misreading a rehearsal schedule and coming in 10 minutes late. The ONLY time, in 5 years, I'd EVER been late, for ANYTHING!!!!!!
It made me feel like crap, but it was par for the course. By that point, it was what I expected. I had ZERO self-esteem, and believed the people who told me I was worthless.
It's funny; the only compliments I got at that time were for my appearance. Because I was VERY thin. Of course, I was thin due to the double whammy of anorexia/anxiety.
Recently I ended a nearly life-long friendship because I realize that I CANNOT be this person's idea of a friend. As I looked back on our relationship, I started to see just how much damage we'd done to each other over the years. This person is highly judgmental, and often misinterprets words and deeds. It then takes hours, literally, to soothe their hurt feelings. Y'know what? This person and I are adults now. We are 41 years old. I have 2 kids, and this person is NOT one of them. This person is also missing a sensitivity chip when it comes to the feelings of others.
Sorry, I don't have the time or the inclination to deal with it. I have enough insecurities of my own. Don't try to give me yours.
And it hit me yesterday, when I had a good Mad going, that I no longer have tolerance for BS. I won't go into the details of the Mad, but it lasted a good 9 hours, lol! At one point I was feeling guilty because I thought maybe I was being a wee bit selfish. Then I realized, NO! I am NOT selfish! What does my life consist of? Working and taking care of my kids! That's IT!!!!! I don't go out with friends, I don't go on vacations very often, and when I do, guess who's watching the kids while everyone else goes off and does their own thing?!?!?! I was feeling manipulated again, and I blasted that guilt away and replaced it with MAD!
And it was GOOD!!!!!!! I stood my ground, and I ROCKED!!!!!
Because I am NOT a lesser human being! I DON'T have to agree! I HAVE an opinion, and it is as LEGITIMATE as ANYONE ELSE'S!!!!! And I'm NOT gonna smile and nod on the outside while I seethe on the inside anymore! I'm not gonna sit back and let anyone insult me anymore!!!!!
I. Am. NO ONE's. PUNCHING BAG. ANYMORE!!!!!!