Lately, I’ve been struggling. A few weeks ago, one of my closest friends succumbed to Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She was truly a beautiful soul, and losing her sort of sent my brain into a tailspin of doubts. She was very young–in her early thirties–and beyond simply mourning her passing, it also slapped me upside the head.
Here I am, healthy and hale, (for the most part) and I am wasting my life.
Yes, I have beautiful children, family, and friends, etc, but I avoid doing so, so much, because I am terrified to do so. I am an extroverted introvert–meaning–I can work a room. I can chat and mingle and make small talk with whomever, rather gregariously so, but really, I just want to be at home, away from everyone, where I only need to talk to those in my most inner of inner circles, and keep my interactions with others completely under my control.
I’m great on social media because it doesn’t require a bra or people.
I’m great with the vague notion of interaction.
I can live in my headspace of dirty jokes and words on pages and not be bothered with reality.
That doesn’t sustain me. It’s not making me happy. I am incomplete.
We are all of us, incomplete, but I feel like the marionette unfinished by the toymaker, and placed on a shelf. I’ve got all of the working parts, but nothing guiding the strings.
Right now, I have six–SIX–completed novels which I’m terrified to finish the edits on and publish. (I have decided to self-publish, as I’ve dealt with the big houses in academia, and it’s a lot of rigamarole I wish not to deal with in my creative life.) I can’t even gather the ovaries to send it to my
or The Professor to read it. My cousin is a freaking NYT Bestselling author, and has basically begged to read another–(because, nepotism, and I make a killer martini) and I just haven’t been able to stomach the idea. Read my scholarship? Fine. My book reviews? Great. These little memoir-y bits on B2B? Acceptable. But sweet fuck. Read my fiction? You may as well open my brain and read the gray matter like tea leaves.
And I’ve fallen woefully behind on pimping my blog. I suppose I’ve always viewed this little space on the internets as a happy destination for me to share my love of food, books, and fitness, not caring about traffic or who read it. That just doesn’t seem good enough anymore. I’m not content with letting this blog drip slowly into complete anonymity. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words, hundreds of recipes, featured a MILLION .GIFS THAT THE MASSES NEED TO SEE RIGHT MEOW.
I cracked. I splintered. I needed and need help.
I’ve done the UNTHINKABLE for me. I picked up a–gasp–self-help book. Because books, unlike my shrink, don’t expect me to talk about my feelings with anyone else but myself.
Also, like social media, no bra required.
I started and stopped a bunch of them. Tony Robbins, while he may be everyone’s guru, is not for me. Same with Stephen Covey, Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra. I am unmotivated by rich, middle-aged men, it would seem. Though, I understand how many find solace and inspiration in their words.
I am, Tom! Gah! Didn’t we talk about this last night? 😉
Apparently, I am only swayed by self-help books which are laced with profanity, don’t take themselves too seriously, and may read a bit like being thrown in a room with a bunch of ninjas, slicing you with their “improvement” swords.
Apparently, my self-help needs violence.
Walter White as me, talking to, well, me.
What’s the book?
Jen Sincero’s approach is at once funny and insightful, bawdy, and beautifully, beautifully, brazen. She doesn’t mince words or expurgate that which may be uncomfortable from her pages. It’s a raw and real self-help book that reads like a conversation with a friend.
To me, You’re a Badass felt foundational. It digs into why it is the reader isn’t where they want to be, and provides a reasonable approach to breaking down the cage holding them in place, while not just offering their idea of a skeleton key for the lock.
It was a kick in the ass.
I needed that kick in the ass.
Now it’s time for an action plan. I still have NO idea what that looks like, but I have a better grip–I think–on the why of it. Why I stand in my own way, why I am terrified to let people read my stories, why I don’t SEO/Pimp/share B2B with more readers.
I was an insecure child. I was an even more insecure teen. I am an incredibly insecure adult. I don’t trust much of my own work aside from my scholarship. Not my writing, not my acting, and not my living, to be completely honest. I trust my Hobbit hole in *The Library, and my research. I trust my palate and my taste in books. I even trust my teaching. Somewhere along the way, I began to distrust my creativity, and unfortunately, that has always been the muscle that pumps my heart the hardest. (Ok, research may be on-par with creativity.)
I’m really and truly grateful that I found this book when I did. I needed it.
(one star removed for referencing “The Laws of Attraction,” which, however valid, reminds me too much of The Secret, and a dude who kept hitting on me at a bar in the Village telling me all about it. He actually said “Good things are coming for me. Can I make you come for me?” WHAT THE FUCK?!?! Thanks, creepy guy at NYU bar, for giving me fodder for a lifetime over one pickup line.)
*blogger’s note: “The Library” is capitalized because, Libraries, mother truckers.
What recipe goes with self-help books?
Obviously a carrot cake, because you’re just deluding yourself when you say “it’s healthy.” Just admit you like carrot cake for fuckssake.
It’s vegan, but really, even if it wasn’t, I’d have made it vegan anyway. Sometimes eggs and carrots get gummy, whereas banana and carrots do not. Also, I used olive oil because I think it gives a sharp depth to the carrots that butter does not. It’s floral and herbaceous. It just works.
Vegan Carrot CakeAre you a badass? Review: You Are a Badass by @JenSincero and Recipe: Vegan Carrot Cake. #amreading #ambaking #vegan Click To Tweet
Vegan Carrot Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Keywords: bake side snack dessert vegan vegetarian cake
Ingredients (1 bundt cake)
for the cake
- 7 oz by weight shredded carrot
- 1 mashed large banana
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup non-dairy milk of your choice. I like vanilla cashew milk in this.
- 1 cup brown or coconut sugar or half coconut sugar half maple syrup
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 cup chopped nuts–I like black walnuts in this, toasted.
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp baking powder
for the glaze
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 4 tbsp vanilla soy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- shredded coconut for topping.
preheat the oven to 350F
in a large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients (including carrots)
set aside 1/4 cup flour
sift in flour, powder, and spices
toss walnuts in the flour and stir lightly into batter.
pour into a greased bundt pan
place on the center of the center rack
bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
let cool completely.
for the glaze
whisk together ingredients and drizzle over cooled cake
top with coconut.