Puzzling together a spinach salad with whatever I can find in the fridge left me angry and frustrated. I hate vegetables, so it shouldn't be a surprise to me I struggle to come up with creative and delicious vegetable combinations for my family. Instead of seeing my lack of knowledge about spinach as a teaching moment and a chance to be creative, I am bombarded with the list of failures I assign to myself. Halfway through the list, I stop. I am beating myself up. Cue the violin, but let's make it the opening to Everclear's "Learning How to Smile."
There is a phrase that has been following me most of my life, and only now am I beginning to realize how true it is. "You are being too hard on yourself." It is time I came forward and said I have been abused. The abuser is myself. Like in the song, my husband and I moved around for his school. Each time I hoped for a fresh start free from the abuse, and each time the depression inevitably followed. Only now am I seeing it is because the first box I packed was all my emotional baggage including the list of charges against myself and unreasonable expectations.
The irony for me is I am a smiler, which is something else I hear a lot about myself. "You're smiley." I am that person at the grocery store who will try to catch your eye in the aisle and give you a friendly smile. I share them freely with strangers. The more I get to know you the less I smile. And I don't smile for myself. So that is what I am vowing to do. Find the lighter side. Smile. And stop the abuse.
It is ok if I ruin the spinach. With Art's words,
Yes I know there ain't no finish line
I know this never ends
I am just learning how to fall, climb back up again.
So, off to the computer to find out what I could possibly make from this spinach that won't require a trip to the store and may entice my 6 and 7 year old to appreciate vegetables. And I did it. By mixing fresh spinach with mandarin oranges and almonds I never had to ask them to try the salad. Everyone took their bites. No complaints, and no abuse. I smiled.