Pick a path and stick to it

How do you know that you are on the right career path? What if you don’t know what you are planning to do with your career? What if you don’t know how to get there? How do you overcome the obstacles in the way?

Those are some of the questions that mull through my head as I try to sort out what to do with my life. I am married, have a university degree religious studies, have a series of health problems and have absolutely no idea what I actually want to commit to as a career. I have been told by some that I should go on to be a Speech Language Pathologist, others have said Dietitian, others still Aesthetics. My experience is in teaching and tutoring, though I did not complete teacher’s college.

Ideally, I want to go on to become a university professor teaching theology. Unfortunately, life is not ideal and neither is my heal, which puts a serious kink in the timeline of feasibly being able to complete those years of study without some other reasonable career-like job in the interim. My husband is on his way to become a police officer after years of experience in the security industry, and I am stuck reflecting on how I can help to provide for our family as well. Most things require more training than I have, which I do not mind undertaking. What I am stuck at is deciding what makes the most sense to dedicate that time into while knowing my limitations and working within them.

I feel like I almost have too many options, so for now, I will look prayerfully and continue with improving my health as I tutor online from home.

Another step towards my novel

I am surprised to say that re-writing a 98k word novel is significantly easier to do than writing it all out in the first place. For several months I have been stagnating in my writing, unable to move forward and address the changes that needed to be made in my book before it could be sent off to a publisher. Recently, I found myself in a state of utter frustration (due most to my health being utterly deplorable of late) where I was able to sit down and begin the arduous journey of rewriting a very long story. Much to my surprise, I found myself writing out the story with ease as I went over it chapter by chapter. It turns out that all I needed to overcome the frustration of having to rewrite such a tremendously long piece of literature was to simply be more frustrated with my own state in life. In comparison, re-writing began to look like a fairly simple and straight forward task.

So far I have gone over and edited just over 8k words, though I have had to take a short break for the holidays. With all of my family commitments combined with work, I have not had the time to continue beyond that. Though it may seem that I have but scratched the surface of my novel, I am proud to say that I am no longer daunted by the prospect of continuing to re-write it all. Something that I have also learned in reading my book with such care: I built the story quite well. What I am finding is that I need to work on the actual writing style rather than the content of the book. As an author, that is a very uplifting realization because it simplifies the entire editing process. With the story being well developed, all I need to do to add in the extra information that I had been missing is to write it in as I expand my descriptions and character development.

I am hoping to have my novel written out within the next couple of months, at which point I will have a family friend (who happens to be a university professor in the English literature department) edit my novel. With any luck, that editing will polish off my novel enough that I will be ready to send it to publishing companies.

A temperamental relationship with food…

Food is universal. Food is powerful. Food is necessary.

Food can be beautiful, or it can look obscene.

Food can be bitter, sweet, acidic, salty or tangy. It can come in different shapes and sizes. From plants and animals to fungi, we and all those around us feast on nature’s plentiful bounty. Food is a joy for many and a curse for others including myself. It was not always a source of pain and anguish, but it has become so as I have allowed dietary restrictions to rule my life. I focus on what I cannot eat, on the pain that is inflicted during a celiac reaction, and all of my memories of sweet and wonderful food become twinged with anger and sadness.

I spent my youth with an unusual propensity towards cooking and most importantly baking. I would adore the time I spent with my mother baking in the kitchen, and I became quite proficient at it as the years went by. I cooked Sunday dinners from the time I was in middle school because I so badly wanted to cook like my mother could. I could role out a flawless pie crust, create fancy and artist breads tied in braids, bake cakes from scratch and decorate them with ornate designs. I was no professional by any means, but I had a natural affinity towards it. Baking was one of my all time favorite things to do on the weekends. Then it started to hurt me. Now, I think of it of those memories and stifle back tears.

I was good at it, which is not something I flaunt about haphazardly. I loved it as much as I love to dance and do music. If I am honest, I probably liked it more than those two hobbies because I did not need to practice in a structured way or attend class in order to bake. I have not been able to bring myself to dive into gluten free baking since my diagnosis almost 5 years ago. I can’t seem to bring myself to do it without wanting to cry and feel stripped of the skills I possess. If I put my mind to it, I could likely make a beautifully textured cake even today. I never thought I would miss doing something as much as I miss baking.

It makes me angry with food that I am so limited in my choices. I read of others with my same limited diets that thrive and enjoy the necessary experimentation, but I have fallen into a tempestuous relationship that I do not know how to change. I don’t know how to regain that joy I felt in my childhood as worked the dough in my hands. There is a texture that cannot be replaced. Unable to eat gluten, dairy, sugar or carbs my options are rather limited to experiment with. It feels as though it is impossible to do. Impossible to enjoy it again.

I have been watching food shows and documentaries, learning of the things that empower and inspire chefs around the globe. I hope that I can find a way to no longer feel angry with food, and be able to feel that joy again. I know that I may not find inspiration from watching the joy of others, but at least it gets me looking in the right direction. I don’t want to focus on why it makes me angry, I want to focus on how I can change that.