I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

This Valentine's Day I Loved Myself

There are few holidays that I hate more than Valentine's Day.  Actually, I used to hate Valentine's Day.  In fact, I remember one time I posted a huge rant on facebook about how much I hated Valentine's Day and how all it did was force people to buy cards and chocolates and it made single people feel bad.   I then got in a fight with a friend about it and all I got was looking and feeling bitter.

Fortunately, this Valentine's Day was different.  Yes, I am still single.  No, I did not do anything exceptionally special-I worked in the morning and then I watched a movie with my mom at night.  No one in my family really goes out of their way to celebrate Valentine's, even my parents only gave each other cards.  I did do one thing right though: I worked on loving myself.  One way I do that is by the way I talk and look at myself.  I used to inspect my body every time I looked in the mirror and all I would see are my flaws.  I used to tell myself horrible things and make myself feel bad.  Now I work at telling myself that I am beautiful, even if I am no longer skinny and when my thoughts turn negative, I try to bring the cause of why I am feeling that way into my awareness.  Usually my negativity (and yes, I still occasionally have even suicidal thoughts) is due to the fact that I am exhausted.  Once I realize that I can breath a sigh of relief, because I know the feeling will fade once I get some sleep.  By loving  myself, I have learned how to take care myself.  A couple I know that I thought would last forever recently broke up, reminding me that the only relationship that is guaranteed to last forever is the relationship between one's self and with one's Higher Power.  In feminist circles, Valentine's Day is also a day when feminists typically speak against domestic violence.  Did you know that one in three women will be the victim of domestic violence?  So, during this Valentine season I urge you to love yourself and if you are in a relationship where you are beginning to feel threatened, please get help if you can!

 Something that has helped me learn to love myself is the practice of taking pictures of myself when I feel good.  Showing the pictures to my readers makes me feel good too and is the reason why February is now one of my favorite months!
(Shirt from Stein Mart, Leggings from Dillard's, shoes from Marshall's)

Another way I like to love myself is through my cooking.  Here is a recipe from allrecipes.com

Vegetable Chowder:
1/2 cup chopped onion,
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup broccoli florets
3 cups water
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups 2% shredded cheddar cheese
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup milk

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute the pepper and onions in butter or margarine until tender.
  2. Add remaining vegetables, water, bouillon, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Combine flour and milk until smooth; stir into pan. Bring soup to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Mix in the parsley. Just before serving, stir in the cheese until melted.

(I have a confession to make-I labeled the picture "vegetable chowder" before realizing that it is a different kind of soup.  I believe it is instead of a vegetable,  northern bean, and ham soup.  I can't find the recipe for it anywhere.  Both the vegetable chowder and the bean soup are good.  Unfortunately, you only get the recipe for the chowder.  Sorry!)  Cheesy vegetable soup doesn't get much better and February is an excellent month for soups.  Show yourself some love and eat some healthy, hearty, homemade soup!

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Shakesville: Getting Real
That is a life that feels real to me, and fuller than my life without the internet, which is a tool that helps me actively maintain relationships with my dear and deeply valued friends, in spite of the social anxiety that constantly invites me to retreat.

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