|2013: Day One|
Earlier this fall, I fell into an old pattern. When I feel strongly about someone and judge them to not feel reciprocally, I tend to run. But, because I'm often caught up in being benevolent and "good", I first puke a whole helping of vulnerability in their lap (usually via email, but sometimes in a conversation where I never allow the other person a moment to think or speak) and then make a mad dash for it. A drive-by good-bye. "You-haven't-done-anything-wrong,-but-I like-you-too-much-and-you-don't-like-me-so-I've-got-to-bail-but-it's-cool" sort of thing.
And here's the kicker. When I do this, I pat myself on the back for simultaneously absolving the other party of any "guilt" and for exhibiting vulnerability and honesty on my part. Look at me. I'm all self-aware, recognizing my weaknesses and standing up for myself without requiring the other party to do anything. I tend to think I'm nicely and politely letting them off the hook.
Ready for the lesson? (Sure, you are.) Vulnerability requires a second participant. Not an observer. Not a listener. But, someone who absorbs what you're saying and gives something (an acknowledgement, a response, a something) back to you. Dumping your confessions in someone's lap in a hit-and-run is not kind. It's not graceful. It's a cheap shot. While it may look "right" to you, it looks to them like a cop-out or an "I don't give a shit about your side of this". When you don't leave people an opening to receive or reciprocate your vulnerability, you're really not giving them anything at all.
I get why I do this. I think I already know their response. I hate pity. I'm terrified (like everyone else) of rejection. And it's true, often people will do just what you'd expect when you make yourself vulnerable. They will run. They will reject you. They will confirm your fears.
Sometimes, people surprise you. And that good you saw, those positives you dwelled in, they'll all come into sharper focus. You'll realize that there's a whole lot of space between perfectly reciprocated feelings and complete & total rejection. You'll recognize that caring for someone often involves being cared for in return and there's a whole lot of ground that can cover. It's an amazing moment and one I (or you) should not go around robbing yourself of. Relationships that involve two people, take two people to resolve. How's that for a new reality, 2013?
After ending a year with what I thought was granting grace, I find myself beginning a year being the one to actually receive it. I can't think of a better place to start.
This salad is the perfect contrast to a rich or grilled meat dish. Creamy and crisp, the mixture of flavors of textures are reminder that even the most diverse of ingredients can find a way to combine perfectly.
Apple, Almond and Butter Lettuce Salad with Herb Dressing
Serves about 8 as a side salad
3 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
3 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chives, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
salt/pepper, to taste
1. Combine mayo, vinegars and mustard with a whisk (or by shaking in a dish with a well-sealed lid). Add herbs. Season with S/P to taste.
2 medium Fuji apples (or similar crisp, tart apple), thinly sliced and cored
2 heads butter lettuce, washed and cored
1/4 cup sliced almonds (toasted stove-top over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for about 4-5 minutes)
3 tablespoons parsley leaves
1. Combine lettuce and apples. Gently toss with about 1/4 cup of dressing (err on the side of less dressing). Plate salad. Sprinkle with almonds and parsley and add more dressing as needed.