A few weeks ago, I had a really awesome experience! I attended a workshop for legislative advocacy for reproductive justice, which is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. It was held at the Women's Feminist Health Center in Atlanta. It was really cool to be in a room with around fifty other people who are all passionate about the same social justice issue. It was very liberating and empowering! It is sort of wild for me to think of myself as someone who might lobby for justice. In my mind, lobbying is something that only people with a lot of power and self-confidence do-definitely not me, BUT then the question remains, if not me, then who? More and more I am seeing that everybody just plays at being confident at least some of the time and if we keep on deferring activism to someone else who seems better able, then really, nothing much will get done.
But the workshop was special to me for another reason too. Years ago, I took a NAMI Peer to Peer class and we had to write out how our mental illness affected us. I was very sad as I wrote and talked about how my mood swings and emotion deregulation prevented me from doing the kind of advocacy that I wanted to do. At that time, I felt very limited by my mental illness. Sometimes I still do. But when I was at the workshop a few weeks ago it was clear to me that I have come a long way. No longer do I uncontrollably sob when discussing tough topics or have to leave the room. No longer do I get so discouraged that I think about quitting or killing myself. Instead, I felt energized and motivated. There was one moment when I started to get a little emotional and sad, but I then took a deep breath and thought of ways I could soothe myself when I got home and after about five minutes of thinking positive thoughts, I was back in a positive space. What a big accomplishment for me! I am very proud of myself and excited for the future!
Another accomplishment for me are the wonderful cookies I made for my church's Christmas party last week. I made peanut butter Nutella cookies. I got this recipe from the food blog, Lemon and Anchovies. Unfortunately, their website is refusing to open, so I can't provide link love today.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar or Splenda
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup Nutella
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat all the ingredients until well blended.
2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two baking sheets or line them with aluminum foil. Shape the dough into roughly two-inch balls and then flatten them on your palm.
3. Place the disks two inches apart on the baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes. I would err on the earlier side with these cookies. When you pull them out of the oven they will seem too soft. Use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Look at all those cookies-what a wonderful sight! They're really good too. These cookies are very dense, rich, and soft-perfect with a glass of milk. Everybody loved them. They taste like your basic peanut butter cookie, but with a hint of chocolate included.
And here I am wearing my Christmas outfit for the party.
The tights give it a sort of Valentine's Day feel, but hey, God is LOVE, right? lol I got the tights on clearance at Hot Topic. They remind me of some tights I had when I was a kid and they definitely put me in the holiday mood.
For the rest of the outfit: shoes, DSW; sweater and skirt, Torrid; undershirt, Old Navy. I had a fun night with lots of laughter, good food, and great cookies. I told them about my wonderful experience at the workshop and they were very encouraging. It's sort of funny to think about how much better I am doing and yet with my chronic fatigue, I still feel like I need to be on disability. Regardless, I now know that I can still contribute a lot to this world despite having disabilities and I now accept that I will continue to get better too. In this time of Advent-waiting, it's very exciting for me to think of what the coming year will bring-it may bring some sadness, but I am also sure that it will bring more recovery too.