Friday, February 15, 2008

"Lovers go Die" Day and the Vortex of self-confidence

WOW. A *much* better "Lovers Go Die Day" than last year's accidental date (Mark had a really bad accident & had surgery so I took care of him). I am a ridiculously romantic silly girl in many ways so it is always nice to have a fun occassion like the love day to have a date. Brett and my first connection was about cooking, so we completely outdid ourselves with dinner last night.

He made:
Cajun fish tacos with this simple topping of onions, cilantro, lime and spices, then some mango/pineapple/avocado salsa and homeade chips.

I made:
  • Black beans (bacon, green peppper, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt - UNBELIEVABLY YUMMY) topped with Feta
  • Roasted vegetables (butternut squash, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini) with cayenne, lime juice, salt and jalapenos
  • Hot Fudge pudding cakes

Let's just say a word firstly about the dessert. I avoid baking or making desserts. Why? I am a kick ass cook (I think) and can make any "regular" food taste awesome. I feel that I can rely on my end result being yummy. For example, with my vegetable soup, the veggies are never overcooked and in fact are just the right kind of tenderness. The only thing I'm slightly shy about is cooking meat, but I'll usually go for it anyway, especially if I have a recipe.

But baking. Oy. Historiclly, when I try to bake something it is either (reliably) dry OR the flavors are just wroooong. So I decided (in the spirit of the Partnership Explorations course) to try something new. I'm totally addicted to my Americas Test Kitchen cookbook (thanks Becca for introducing me to that) because they test everything ahead of time for you - imitation or pure vanilla extract? what brand of feta is best? what is the "key" success factor in the recipe? dutch cocoa or does it matter? for the perfect boiled egg does the egg need to be room temperature?

The key success factor in this recipe was DO NOT OVERCOOK THESE CAKES. So I follow the recipe meticulously and I'm *beyond* excited at these decadent luscious lumps of chocolate in the muffin tins, and the huge heaps of cocoa/brown sugar/granulated sugar sitting on top of them. I feel kind of high about this unreal valentine's day choco-heaven I'm about to present. So I set the oven to 400 and cook for their recommended 20 minutes. We pulled them out and immediately I remember - it said cook 20 minutes OR UNTIL THEY ARE BUBBLING. Dammit! In fact, instead of bubbling, they look rather hard and crusty on top. I had expected these soft, oozing little chunks of heaven with pudding perking out of the top. Not quite!

The trick to the pudding part is the combo of the sugar mixture + few teaspoons of (liquid) coffee on top. The liquid grabs onto the sugar topping and pulls it into the center of the cake, making a pudding. While there was some pudding-esque type stuff in the middle of the cakes (and the flavor was to DIE for), the cake part was hard to scrape out of the muffin cup and so the whole thing looked like a mountain of chocolate crumbles topped with ice cream. Oh well. Back to my story that I suck at baking!! Becca, on the other hand, has the Midas touch! She brings the most decadent, succulent, perfectly amazing desserts on earth to the table. WOW. Hoping to learn that.

Anyway jeez. Didn't mean to go on like that. This post was going to be about dating & self-confidence. I seem to have this semi-unconscious habit that comes from a place of wanting men to love / reassure me / know that they want me. It goes like this (to Brett last night):

I love that I get butterflies when I'm about to see you!

He smiles.

Pause.

Pause.

Pause.

Suddenly I am TIPPING OVER THE LINE - NO NOOOO - DON'T DO IT! Do you get butterflies when you're going to see me?

He smiles.

Pause.

Pause.

Pause.

Later I asked if I have asked those kinds of questions before and he said yes, a lot. Dammit. I know that I did this all the time with Mark. All the time is not an understatement.

Do you miss me? Will you miss me? Did you miss me? Do you like my body? Don't you want to see me? Were you thinking of me? Do I look good today? Do you think this shirt is flattering? How come you don't call me more? Do you like the way this lotion smells? When are we going to spend time together again? Would this haircut look good on me? Do you think I'm funny? Do you think I'm hotter than her? Are you attracted to me? What's my best feature? Do you think I'm sexy? Why do you think I'm sexy? What do you love the most about my body? Do I matter to you? After we're not dating, will you refer to me as someone important in your life? Are we dating? Do you care about me? Have I mattered in your life? What do you think of me? Am I smart enough for you? Am I someone you could fall in love with? Why do you like me? Wait, can you tell me again? I just want to hear it again.

And on. And on. And on. Questions questions and more questions. Mark wasn't so good at the smile-pause-pause thing. He would NOT smile, but pause and go DEAD silent and then divert the subject completely. Every once in a while, he would just lose his shit with me and rant about how I push and push and push him. Pushy? I'm not pushy.

While I totally totally totally empathize and am compassionate with myself as to why my insecurities are on display / from whence those questions come... I want to be resting in a place of such calm, love and acceptance for myself that those questions are not driving my interactions with them. Sigh. It seems like when I first start to date someone, I'm just being myself, confident, high, open... then I start to deteriorate and need them to hold me up with encouragement about what they think of me. It's not a great feeling to want that validation from them ... once I get sucked in it feels like I can't breathe and I can't stop asking or wanting something from them - I lose myself and am not being myself either.

Vortex
A whirlwind, whirlpool, or similarly moving matter in the form of a spiral or column. Anything that involves constant violent or chaotic activity around some centre. Anything which inevitably draws surrounding things into its current.

Also, one more question, a good one this time.

If I'm with the "right" guy for me, will I still feel anxiety or will I feel completely at home and not need reassurance?

3 comments:

  1. Hi honey! I am exploring something very similar right now...and in my opinion (which I reserve the right to change since this is, after all, an exploration!) whether or not you meet the perfect guy and whether or not you lose your anxiety and need for reassurance by meeting said guy, it is still a beautiful, challenging, and worthy exploration to discover calm, love, and peace within your own soul and your own skin. Perhaps these men are just little prompts to send you on your way to loving your self fully...anyway, thanks for sharing. As always, it was a joy to read about you. (:

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  2. Anonymous9:33 PM

    Helen--

    Thanks for always holding me up as a great cook. Feels so nice to hear that. I actually destroyed some chocolate volcano cakes from Test Kitchen once... :)

    I have to go out on a limb here and say that your questions don't have anything to do with the guy. (so it doesn't matter if it is the right guy or not) That said, it might be that there is one guy who is able to be with you through it, lead you to another place, and you will feel like you can let it go. (as opposed to ranting at you about being pushy, which is not about you but about him and his issues)

    i love this exploration. and I love hearing about Brett - he has such a warm smile.

    love,
    Becca

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  3. I'm so behind on your blog!!! Dang! I don't know what's happened, but wanted to chime in here with your question - I agree that it has to do a lot with *you* not the guy, however, I feel confident in telling you - from my experience - that YES if you choose someone who loves you for who you are then YES you will feel completely at home and not need reassurance. I TOTALLY know where you are coming from - I've mostly been ridiculously insecure with men & how they feel about me/perceive me. I have NEVER felt insecure about Will's feelings/perception of me.

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