I pick a fig. I should say, I steal a fig. I wait til it’s tender. A purple bruise that spreads around it’s slowly growing hip once it’s had the sun touch it long enough. I wait for the sweet sweat on it’s flesh to appear which leaves a welcoming stickiness to the touch, a readiness to the touch, that’s how long I wait. I pick. I steal. Carefully, I cup it into my hand and bring it inside, making sure to give thanks to both tree and the owner who keeps it so close to home. I slice it down the middle, open it into the shape of a heart, and only then is it ready to eat.
November has always been about gratitude. But for me, right now, it is also about healing. I’ve so much healing to do, and several people to thank for bringing me closer to it.
I hit *almost* rock bottom a little over a week ago. Besides the fact that we’ve yet to put a name to the bone disease I have, I began to experience a pain in my tooth that spread to the entire left side of my body. To say it was scary or that it hurt is an understatement. I thought I was losing my mind from the pain and that my vision was being affected by it. I went to two clinics and four private offices in my neighborhood (including hospital) and was told, with attitude, that they could not help me for reasons such as: too busy, you can’t afford it, it costs $110 JUST to walk into the building, we don’t do walk-ins, your insurance sucks, etc. I went home in even greater pain, feeling definitely of a delicate nature, and severely alone.
Next morning, I was thankfully taken care of by a clinic (I showed up before their doors even opened), and felt relief for one full day. But then the pain returned even greater and I learned that the work that was done had caused infection. I called a private dentist that was recommended to me by my ex’s mom, beautiful Lori, but they told me they are booked til Monday. While I was on the phone with them, text messages were coming in. I hung up feeling terribly lost because my only other option was heading back to the place that gave me very little relief. I checked the text messages, and it was his mom saying, “I got you in for 11AM. What’s your date of birth?” I stared at this message for a full minute before going into hysterics. SHE was the reason they were booked that day. I cried and cried and cried my gratitude. I cried for many reasons. That she’s still in my life even though he isn’t. That I’ll be in the right hands no matter the cost. That I’m much closer to healing. That I have very beautiful people in my life who check in and who choose to never check out. I have keepers and to say that I ever felt alone is incorrect. I’ve been misguided by my own damn self which is to say, I was yielding TOO readily to pressure. Our brain is capable of steering us in every wrong and right direction, and it’s hard to tell which is which when you’re IN it. Thank you to my girls who constantly checked in. To my mom who is staying here with me.
In the middle of writing this post, something else happened to me. It’s too tender to share, like the last ripe fig I take to my room. But when hard messages come, you listen. I’ve been hit with tons of messages within the last few days and I AM listening. From here on out I am going to take major care of myself. Tenderness is in order.
My first step to healing, in between and after all this pain, was feeding myself tender things. I craved vegetables like mad. And fish? I turned to Nigel Slater for that one, loosely following a recipe of his in my favorite cookbook, Tender.
Easily the best-tasting potatoes I’ve had in a long while. This entire meal cost me no more than $4. You quarter red or white potatoes, lightly brown them in olive oil in a cast iron pan, then throw in some lemon wedges, dill, onion, and pour 1 cup of chicken broth over them (or veggie broth) before laying the fish on top and popping it in the oven. All done til tender…in about 30 min. Simple. All I want is simple. I’ve zero intention in complicating my life anymore.
My first TRUE craving, though, was beets. And soup. So I made borscht. And during the first full day I felt zero pain, I decided to have myself a tiny brunch with just me. And the Peanut.
I truly tapped into my Russian half with this one. Dilled up heirloom tomatoes tossed in olive oil, feta and smoked salt. Nice cup of borscht. And smoked salmon on a bed of cream cheese on rye. And arugula cause why not.
My root canal is in exactly 3 hours, and I’m about to log off and make a smoked split pea before leaving. I want all tender things for the next few days, even for you. Maybe a roasted garlic mashed cauliflower with more greens. If you can think of anything simple and soft for me to make, please do not hesitate to share.
Much love and gratitude to YOU, and please please please take care of yourself. Be with gentle feeling. <3
Edit: It is now November 9th, and tenderness for our world is in order. Team up with Love. Now. If you’re the kind of person who finds yourself pushing away good people in your life, now isn’t the time. My healing isn’t a solo act. My growing isn’t a solo act. Yes, it begins with me, with you, but it doesn’t STOP there. Healing is of holding hands. Eating together. Solving problems together. Do you know how much work and hurt is among us? This is just a very small example, but If I am having problems with health insurance now, what do you think it’s going to be like for me these next 4 years? I am scared. My entire newsfeed on social media is scared. And I just want to say that I love you. I am here. I am ready to work even harder, to make a difference no matter how small it may be. Let’s do this, tenderly, but with force.