Five Minute-Friday: Sausage

(Note: “Five-Minute Friday” is an activity adapted from Kate Motaung’s blog. Each week, I use and write for five minutes straight with the word as a prompt, free-write style with no editing and no over-thinking.)

Seriously? Last week “joystick,” and this week “sausage!” (I can hear the jokes now.)

I have been vegetarian now for over a year. (I had bouts of vegetarianism and veganism in the past.) When people ask why – “Is it an animal thing, or a health thing?” – I answer, “Yes.” And also an environmental thing. The best resource I can point to is the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, as that was the book that made me rejoin the vegetarian world.

It’s not that hard, actually, even living in Cincinnati, a city nicknamed porkopolis. Meat substitutes abound for just about anything. All this week I’ve eaten sandwiches for lunch, and the “deli slices” look like any other lunch meat, but it’s really white bean and kale. Last night, I made “Kickin’ Western Chili” from a diabetes cookbook that is entirely plant-based. And, if we want to get technical, I am not a true “vegetarian.” I eat fish. And Eating Animals horrified me, but apparently not enough to eschew dairy, eggs in particular.

I’m a fan of adding restrictions to your diet, whatever those restrictions may be. Every time I’ve been vegetarian, or the many-months stint I had as a vegan, it forces me to think before I eat. I have to read labels. I have to often pre-plan. It’s mindful eating at its best, really.


Five-Minute Friday: Contradiction

I’m increasingly interested in the concept of “both/and,” and I wish I had heard about it earlier. Maybe I did and dismissed it, too difficult a dichotomy to understand. Now, though, I see it not only as an alternative to “either/or” but really THE TRUTH.

I’m thinking of the #MeToo movement. People can be BOTH kind, generous, friendly AND predatory. People can be BOTH supportive AND sexist. For that matter, people can be BOTH advocates of social justice AND racist.

Adopting a “both/and” mentality allows me to see so much more than I could with an “either/or” outlook.

Yesterday, my brother-in-law and I enjoyed an unexpectedly long car ride (thank you, Boston traffic – how I haven’t missed you!). We get along well and are similar in a lot of ways. In the span of a roughly 15-mile ride, we discussed parenting, death, writing, Stephen King, and work (not specifics, but more philosophical ideas about paychecks and such), among other things.

In the context of this conversation, he gave me a book rec, Everything is Horrible and Wonderful. It’s a memoir written by a sister after her brother (a writer for Parks and Rec) died of a heroin overdose. I obviously have not read the book yet, but the title alone appeals to me because, really, isn’t this true about just about everything that matters in life?

Five-Minute Friday: Fraud

(Note: “Five-Minute Friday” is an activity adapted from Kate Motaung’s blog. Each week, I use and write for five minutes straight with the word as a prompt, free-write style with no editing and no over-thinking.)

I will be 40 in less than 6 months, and I am wondering when I finally stop feeling like a fraud. Will it magically disappear at 40? I had a friend who, when she turned 50, said her colleagues told her she could now start saying, ‘F— you, I’m 50,” a phrase to be uttered as her excuse for saying no to whatever she didn’t want to do, for letting go of whatever she didn’t want to hold, for finally being able to declare unabashedly that she didn’t give a f— any more.

Can I use that for 40?

Fraud. Imposter. Imposter syndrome – the underlying feeling like you don’t really deserve your job/status/title/life because you somehow haven’t earned it. You don’t fit the mold of the woman/mom/boss/business person you think exists.

Of course, the kicker is that we all feel this way to an extent. There IS no one-way to be or do something, really.

I’m currently reading a really thought-provoking book, Old in Art School. The author is a 64 when she decides to leave her life in academia – a chaired professorship in history at Princeton, no less – to return to art school as an undergrad…and then continue on in an MFA program at RISD. Despite her impressive academic pedigree, her experiences as a woman, as a black woman, as an “older” black woman render her an outsider in art school. The fact that she has published books, one that lands her an interview on The Colbert Report during her stint at RISD, counts for nothing.

She feels like a fraud.

I’m only 2/3 of the way through, but I’m guessing she doesn’t find a way to nix that feeling by the end because I’m not sure any of us ever really do.


(Featured image is one of Painter’s works, the author of Old in Art School.)