A birthday post - A reflection on how the last year has changed me and bread for the taking and the celebrating, because I'm a bread person.
So today is my forty fourth birthday. How time seems to fly, innit? Feels like I only just turned twenty four a couple of days ago... no, not really. When I was twenty four there was no internet like we know it now, at least. When I was twenty four I had to buy film for my camera if I wanted to take pictures, and then have them developed at a lab, and it was freakin' expensive. When I was twenty four I loved photography, but could not pursue it due to it's cost. When I was twenty four I was awesomely stylish, and thin as a whistle. Not healthy thin, mind you, because when I was twenty four I hated food and could go on a glass of milk and an apple the whole day.
Now I'm forty four I have a food blog. I have a DSLR camera that allows me to take pictures whenever I want and that alows me to play with and pursue my love for photography, my love for styling, my love for food. Now I'm forty four I'm back to being nearly as stylish as I was twenty years ago, finding myself dressed up in much the same style I did back then, all leathers and lace and velvet, witchy goth vibes all over the place, with a bit of the roaring twenties thrown in for good measure. I find that I have maybe gone full circle, in that aspect. I'm not thin as a whistle, anymore, far from it, but I'm not unhealthy looking either and that can only be a good thing. I have saggy breasts, now, pot belly, wider hips and wrinkles and a less fresh complexion, but I feel so much better in my skin now than I did when I was twenty four.
It feels like a lot has changed, in these last twenty years. And a lot has, with the world, with society, with human relationships. It might feel hard to keep up with the pace, the fast lived pace that seems to be the norm nowadays, but we strive, in our own ways we all strive! I feel like I have managed to reach some sort of a balance in my life, and I am beyond grateful for that. I have reached a point where I get to do mostly what I like, what I find makes me better and makes me feel acomplished and successful, I get to be with only the people I find make me feel good with life and the world in general, I get to choose who I bring into my life and who I keep out of it. It's been a process, a very big one, and I have deleted a lot of people out of my life for the bad they did me.
This last year, the one that took place between my previous birthday and this moment right now, was not an easy one. Come to think of it, it was rather hard, it had plenty of hard moments, especially between September and March. Still, we seemed to have taken things in stride better, because I kept seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, I kept walking straight towards that light, and moving my loved ones along the same way. It was a very tough year, indeed, in certain emotional aspects, but as for the rest it was not as hard as the previous years have been. It had a lightness to certain aspects that made it easier to deal with the flood of hurts and pain and emotions that hit us. It had very good things happening, as well.
The very best thing there was, during this past year, I have to confess has been this. Publishing this ebook, even if self published, has been a major stepping stone for me. Not only for the fact that I made my own dream come true, that of being a published author, but most importantly because I never believed myself to be deserving of it. I never truly thought I deserved to have my dreams come true, whatever dreams I might have. I just didn't find myself worthy of that. I didn't find my writing to be good enough - and I still have some doubts, most days! - but there's so much shit being published out there, that it was a moot argument anyway. The worst thing was that I had lived for forty something years in a mindset where I did not perceive myself of any self worth, of being worthy of even having dreams, let alone realizing them.
But rather unexpectedly, strangely enought, something shifted in my head last April. One day I sat at this very same spot and I wondered to myself "Why the hell not?". And so I did it. I researched and researched, I studied my options, I weighed in the pros and the cons - not that there were many of these, quite frankly! - and I took a leap of faith. Faith in myself, in my dreams, in my desires and in my self worth. It did wonders for me, and it is still doing. Whenever I look at my ebook for sale on Amazon.com, a huge sense of pride seems to fill me, an enormous sense of joy, quite overwhelming really, making me gasp for air as my heart jumps in my chest. It was a turning point inside me, a big turning point. It has made me stronger, tougher, more self reliant and self assured, it has boosted my confidence in so many ways, and it does make me proud, it makes me "pat yourself in the back" proud.
So today, tonight, I am celebrating my forty fourth birthday, yes, and with a spring in my step that wasn't there a year ago, and I am celebrating myself and my achievements so far, not only just this book that makes me so happy, but a lot more that I can now see clearly as achievements, personal ones. I am where I wanted to be, I am who I wanted to be, and I can only go forward. I want more, yes, of course I do, I have more dreams and goals and desires, I have more inside me to delve into and bring forth, I do. But tonight I will be celebrating how far I have come already, with this for dinner, and a great bottle of red, along with these delicious cheddar and sundried tomato rolls for entrée. And then there will be chocolate ganache tarte, in a crust made out of hazelnut and cocoa cookies, and there will be joy and peace and a sense of achievement, alright. Because I am worth it.
For these rolls you will need:
- 350 gr flour
- 200 ml lukewarm water
- 9 gr fresh yeast, or 4 gr dry baker's yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp oil
- five to six sundried tomatoes
- a chunk of cheddar, cut into smaller pieces
Place the flour in a bowl, and dig a hole in the middle. Around the edges of that hole, scatter the yeast. Inside the hole place the salt, the oil and add the water. With the help of a fork start mixing flour and water together. Once you have it all mixed in, take the dough off the bowl and start kneading by hand over a surface scattered with flour. You should knead until you obtain a silky, smooth dough, that has some elasticity to it. Form into a sort of ball, scatter flour over all the dough, and let it proof inside the bowl four a few hours - 1 to 2 if you're pressed for time should be the minimum required, but it does make for a much better bread if you leave it for at least 6 to 8 hours. Once it has proofed, get the dough off the bowl with the aid of a spatula onto a floured surface and add the chives, the cheddar and the sundried tomatoes roughly cut into smaller sized chunks.Now mold it into the shape you want, and place the bread on an oven tray, that has been covered with baking paper and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Finally, bake it on a previously heated oven at 180º until they are golden and hollow sounding. Eat this with a tuna rillette or on its own and you won't be sorry you've taken my word for it!! I'll leave you to it, and go off to celebrate my own birthday as I see fit - it usually involves a lot of cooking and a little bit of writing if I can manage to fit it in!