ONE HUNDRED DAYS! It’s hard to believe that 100 days ago we started this little food delivery adventure, born of desperation and anxiety, on a whim and a Facebook post. 100 days of trying to communicate better, 100 days of learning to listen and hear and respond in a thoughtful way, rather than an automatic way. 100 days of long work days and rearranging our space to accommodate 300 pounds of various flours, and mountains of other supplies. 100 days of laughing until we cry, and crying over the deep wounds of our society, and the frustration of our government and it’s leadership. 100 days of working to bring some good food to our friends and the wider community, while wrangling grocery store lines, learning to maneuver through the world in a cautious, safe way and finding comfort in each other. 100 days of arguing and talking and talking and talking until it’s ok again. 100 days of running a business together, in our house, and still liking each other. 100 days of learning new ways to be. 100 days is enough time to move into a new way of living, a new way to look at the world. Although we started our SIP journey a couple of weeks before we started MARTHA AVENUE Home Cooked Food, somehow this time is inexorably linked for us. The business saved me from feeling useless…as my (our) theatre world crumbled into the past, cooking and creating and writing has given me a sense of being useful and given me comfort.
I have been thinking a lot about that word comfort since my friend Elizabeth and I touched on it during our discussion this last weekend. We talked a bit about “comfort zones” and how the phrase can really mean two different things… something that feels good, or simply the thing that we do habitually and therefore feels most “comfortable.” Usually when I say something is “out of my comfort zone”, (although in the moment I probably mean that the new thing doesn’t feel comfortable), I think the main thing that comes forward is that this new thing is not part of my habitual behavior. Sometimes, the things that I do out of habit are not actually truly comforting to me, and the moving out of my “comfort zone”, while difficult or awkward at times, is actually a movement towards something that is more in alignment with TRUE comfort.
Last year around this time, I was able (for the first time in my adult life) to step away from some of my habitual behaviors around food, and move towards a new way of nourishing my body. This shift resulted in my losing some weight and repairing some health issues. I had gotten some big scary information from my doctors about things that were imminently problematic, if I didn’t take better care of my nutrition and overall health. Stress management, nutritional intake, moderate exercise (but more consistent). I had a lot of support from Angie Cole, and a metabolic diseases group run through my doctor’s office, but a lot of the success was due to my being able to step out of the “rut” I had been in. The “rut” being the habits of how I was dealing with stress, sadness, anxiety and depression. The ways that I comforted myself… reaching for sweets when I was sad, reaching for crunchy things when I was anxious, reaching for too much when I was angry. Somehow, in that space of time (which lasted roughly 100 days), I was able to step out of the habitual ruts I had been traveling, and find new ways to comfort myself, which in turn created a truer sense of comfort… in my body and the reassurance through lab work that I was healing the issues I had with my heart and my liver, in the pleasure of “shopping” in the trunk of “someday these might fit again” clothes in my room, in the greater strength and ease of movement in my body, and in the empowering feeling of taking charge of my health in a positive way.
In the last 6 months or so, I have slipped back into old ways of comforting myself. Slipped back into those ruts in the road. Partly, it was because new patterns are harder to maintain simply because they require care and focus, and partly because there were lots of things pulling my attention… falling in love, moving my dad, traveling and exploring food across the country… and then, this pandemic, the shelter-in-place, the loss of career/avocation, work and purpose. The ruts in the road of our behavior patterns are ruts exactly because we have worn them in over years of relying on those behaviors to comfort us, or to help us move down the road in some sort of fashion, even if it doesn’t exactly make us feel good. It’s “comfortable” not necessarily “comforting”.
Now, I need to find a way back up out of those ruts and back onto the green track of the road. Even if I have to drive up on the middle verge and the side of the road for a bit to get my life back on a more healthy journey. This journey of our lives is filled with twists and turns… this last four months has brought more twists and turns than we could have even imagined, and it’s not done yet. Who knows how long we will be on this little side-road. Who knows how long we will need to find new ways to feel connected and of use. Who knows how long we will need to find comfort in smaller, simpler ways.
For now, I am going to try to remember that the ruts of the road aren’t always the most comforting… they are simply the most “comfortable” because they got laid down so long ago. I am going to try to remember to take care of myself in ways that bring true comfort… to use my outdoor tub more often and with greater attention, to get my ass down to meditate more often, to get out for a walk in the morning when the birdsong is louder than the traffic, to pay attention to the warmth and love all around me. I am going to try to really hear Willi when he reminds me that my worth is not wrapped up in my body image, that my body is worthy of love and of deep care. To trust in his love and in our joint capability to find joy in the little things. I am going to remind myself of the support I have all around me in the truly comforting conversations with Kim and Kristen and Elizabeth and Dick and the weekly CAROL call and the daily conversions with Jamye, sometimes deep thoughtful conversations and sometimes just sharing recipes and silly things.
I am going to find comfort in the sound of Willi reading to me, even if the Donner Party doesn’t seem, on the surface, to be a subject that is comforting. In reading this book, we are finding so much to talk about, so much to think about between the chapters. The strength of women, the bravery of people trying to find a better place for their families, the resilience of the human spirit, the perspective of how comfortable our lives really are.
I hope that you all are finding some true comfort in your days. The world is seeming more and more fragile and precarious day by day, but I hope that within that craziness, you are able to find ways to bring some peace and kindness to your bodies and to your hearts. This writing practice is something that brings me true comfort, especially when I hear that some of what I am working through resonates with some of you. To be reminded that we are fellow travelers on this little road, and although the ruts may be different for each of us, they are there. And we can keep trying to find new ways to travel, ways that might bring a sense of comfort that is more in alignment with how we want to be in the world. I, for one, am glad to be in your company.
This week’s MEALS ON HEELS at Oasis (pick up at Oasis or get it delivered by your favorite drag queens) can be ordered through their site https://www.toasttab.com/oasis/v3 Orders for this Friday will be taken through Wednesday. We are thrilled to be providing food for all the Fridays in July, with new menus for each one. This week is a Provençal inspired menu, next week is a Jerk/Jamaican inspired menu, the last week in July is a BBQ menu. We are so excited to be a part of this collaboration and are so grateful to D’Arcy and Lori for making it happen!
Take care of yourselves. Reach out if there is anything that I can do to help you find your own way out of the ruts of your road and back up onto the green. Care for your bodies in a truly comforting way and be kind to your heart. Be kinder than necessary to those around you. Everyone is dealing with so much heartache and anxiety. Drink extra water, wash your hands, and for goodness sake, wear your masks.
We are 100 days in. We are so glad to be here with you all and look forward to the next 100 days of bringing the goodness your way.
Hug yourselves for me xoxo