Spinach soup for the confort of the soul
February has started with a bang. Full of hope, ideas, creativity zinging through my fingers, a certainty that this year really was gonna rock, and dreams really would come true, and so much energy in me to work, more and better, to achieve, more and better, to try and to learn and to grow. To prove this, I have a folder filled with gorgeous food shoots I did in the first two weeks of this month, and the second volume of my book finished, while the third is already more than fifty pages long, and a few props handmade and handpainted to top it all off, as well. And yet, I am not an optimistic kind of person, still, the hopeful and happy state from January had carried itself on to February.
And then it all came toppling down. By mid month, here we were back in financial dire straits again, having to rely in the good faith and good willingness of family to pull us out of scrapes, having no leeways whatsoever, not even to go for a hike somewhere when the sun shines, because the gas is so expensive and we cannot afford to go any further than a 100 metres of our house. And the creativity was gone, and the desire to create, and the will to make do, and all. I was disenchanted. I am disenchanted. All of a sudden, from thinking this year would be a better one, and the financial problems would subside or disappear all together, I was back to thinking what is it all for? As I said, I am not an optimist by nature, some people would say I'm down right negative, others would surely call me a realist. But knowing my normal thought process is that of always expecting the worse and never believing in good coming my way, I always try to counter said thought processes whenever I find myself inside them, by thinking hard on all the good things I have in my life, and being thankful for them.
Still, I am only human, and sometimes the downward spiral is too strong, and no good measure of happy thoghts and thankfulness can stop the lack of faith, so I know there are days when I just have to go with it, and let myself hit rock bottom. With projects that don't pan out, oportunities that never knock on my door but always on someone else's, it's hard to keep faith and hope in sight. And that's when I start questioning myself, and when I start losing the love for doing the things I do. I start wondering why on earth should I waste my time writing a book that will never ever get published, nor see the light of day. I start wondering why on earth should I put so much effort into this blog, as it will never get me anywhere, it will only be a means of spending money I clearly do not have. And I start loosing the will to do it. The worst part is knowing that nothing I do currently is laying money in the bank, food on the table. I do not contribute for this family's financial well being in any way. And I start wondering if I even deserve a place in this world. What am I worth, really? Because, like it or not our worth is measured by the job we have, the income we make, the car we drive, the brands we wear, the number of visits and sponsorships and collabs our blogs get, the money we bring in. I'm nil, in this. But do not take my words for a trip down pity lane, this is not the point of them. It's just what it is, I do not contribute financially and that, my friends, is something that makes one feel like one is inexistent and a burden.
Only this doesn't mean I want to get a job, I do not. I refuse working outside my home, as my priority is being a full time mother - so go ahead and stone me to death, feminists - and homemaker. Make no mistake, I have been out there and done that of the working girl. With my age and my skills and my work experience all I can get are telemarketing and contact center work, and the conditions, the hours, the salary on those jobs... well, it won't do. The money I would be spending on having my son stay at school overtime - both in the morning as in the evening - and the money spent on his school meals, plus money I would be spending on transportation to and fro work place, would just not compensate the loss my husband would get on his salary due to taxes of having a wife employed. We have been there and done that, and it turned out we were loosing money by me being employed. But it stands to reason that I see myself as not adding food to the table and all I do is waste money. See, ever since I started this blog, I have spent money we shouldn't be spending on a camera, a tripod, a new laptop when my old one kicked it. So I end up thinking if maybe I should just give this all up.
If I simply canceled my internet connection, for instance, and stoped using the oven so much so I have photographic subjects for the blog, maybe I could save some money, I think. And then I remember that I only photograph the food we cook that has been planned already, I don't go out inventing stuff to cook up and try out and post here. It's all part of our daily food intake, so the oven would go on the same, and so would the stove. And as for the internet connection, well, my husband really needs it for work too. So that is also a no go. Turns out that just closing down this blog would do nothing for our finances, either way, and the truth is that most times I really get a kick out of it. Even if I get nothing else, it gives me a sense of achievement, a sense of improvement, all I have learned so far, maybe it won't matter much out there in the world, but to me it does, it makes me feel good about myself. So the lost opportunities, the lack of encouragement, of results, well, it does get me down. I did not get into this for fame or sponsoring, but I did get into this hoping it would bring something good my way, if I strived and worked hard enough, thinking I had some sort of talent. Some days all I end up with is the feeling that I am not working hard enough to deserve rewards, I am not good enough, I am not enough. And that does take its toll on one. Even if it's just once in a while.
Same goes for that book I'm writing. Why would I stop? Or why would I kick myself at not advancing at a steady rhythm, if I am not on a deadline, nor do I have any objectives for it. I do it for fun, because I like doing it, because there are days I just have to do it. What good would come out of giving it up for good? None. Still, I am as human as the next person, and there are days when I do feel like nothing is worth it, and it all means nothing at all, and my soul lacks hope and faith, and is in need of comfort. And for that I have spinach soup. Don't ask me why, for some people it's chicken soup that does it, my comforting dish is a spinach soup. It's rather easy to make, not deserving of a full recipe, but I still urge anyone to get a bowl of it down your throat whenever you feel down. There is something of the childlike memories of warmth and comfort, at least to me. Its aroma takes me back to when my sister was a babe and my mother cooked her soups that had the same scent to them, takes me back to when my son was starting on solids and I did these thick, nourishing soups for him. You'll need a litre of good meat stock, we used turkey stock made from the trimmings and the carcass, four to five medium potatoes - I do not make soup potato less!! - a courgette, a leek and a couple of carrots, as well as a large bunch of spinach. Dice all the veggies, and cook in a pan with the stock and some salt to taste untill all is tender, then blitz. It's as simple as this, but it will fill your kitchen with a suave and comforting smell, and if you have a bowl of this, along with some good crusty bread, it will certainly give you a sense of comfort as good as a hug. Especially when it's cold outside. I'm having one today, to try and dissipate this sense of discouragement that has been filling me for the last few days, here's hoping it goes away with the rains!