Hold Your Horses

This woman did not fly to extremes; she lived there.

—Quentin Crisp

• • •

Enthusiasms are suspect in someone with bipolar disorder.  There’s a thin, fuzzy line between passion and obsession, drive and driven.  So it is with cautious optimism that I pursue my intention of becoming vegetarian.

As I sat in my coffee shop yesterday, journaling, I could feel the buzz of mania—my thoughts leaping and shoving each other out of the way, the Crusade taking me over with its conviction, dedication and magical thinking.  But, after the despair of this past weekend, the energy and purpose felt like a reward for slogging through the Pit.  A Reprieve.  And yet, I knew it would be a mistake to identify with the high I was feeling.  I was still there, behind the excitement and the speed, so the task was to watch and wait.vegetarianism

Starting new projects while manic can definitely get them off the ground with a bang.  The energy acts like a catapult—but the one pulling the trigger isn’t too concerned about aim.  I once ripped out the carpet in the whole basement of my house in an hour.  Did it need to be done?  Maybe.  My cat had been peeing on it for years.  Did it need to be done at 11:00 at night?  Probably not.  The trick with mania is not to do anything that can’t be undone later.

vegetarianism, Alicia SilverstoneHolding that maxim, I spent a couple of hours in the library reading about vegetarianism and retrieving information buried in my defunct memory.  I remembered that I flirted with this years ago, influenced by my friend, Dee, who is a devout vegetarian.  The basics all came back to me and seemed so easy.  Could it be that easy?  To a manic, sure.  We are invincible—gods in our own minds.  We scoff at the feeble attempts of mere mortals!

Yesterday, I was able to set my super powers aside and assume a gentler approach.  Instead of running to Trader Joe’s and dumping money I don’t have into miso and tempeh, I bought a bag of pinto beans and some produce.  I still have my Moosewood Cookbook—one of the few things that has survived my many manic purgings—and found my favorite (and simple) recipe for refried beans.  Last night I made a meal so beautiful, I had to take a picture—corn tortillas with my homemade refried beans, brown rice, green onion, yellow bell pepper, topped with salsa and mango.

The fact that I actually cooked a meal is not lost on me, either.  Cooking can be a major source of anxiety, but the process of soaking and cooking the beans felt very relaxing.  There was a sense memory in running my hands through them, hearing their clatter against the strainer.  Another question arose—could this process help me find the creative cook that vanished when I got sick?  This, too, I’ll hold gently as the adventure unfolds.

Because, I am on an Adventure!

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pegoleg
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 08:49:56

    Good luck with exploring this new way of eating. I’m way too partial to meat to give it up, but I do try to go vegetarian a couple times of week.
    p.s. I love that the donkey is Penelope.

    Reply

  2. docrob50
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 10:20:08

    We use Moosewood cook books! Be happy to share a few recipes……….and yeah holding self and beans in gentleness makes for a happy time and a good meal.

    Adventures r us!

    Reply

  3. Kitty
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 11:09:40

    I will print and save this post forever! … I will read and re-read it. This is one of the most powerful things you have ever said to me… And I trust the rest of you got something from it as well. And in case you are wondering… No, I’m not manic right now… My words and my heart are calm and joyful… and ever so grateful for you, my Subby. Perfect.

    Reply

  4. Kathryn McCullough
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 16:17:56

    Well said, Sandy. I SO know the feeling of beginning a new project on the cusp of mania. I, too, tore up carpet in a manic frenzy. Can’t wait to hear more about your vegetarian adventure.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply

  5. karen
    Jul 31, 2012 @ 22:22:50

    that is one gorgeous meal! if you want any support with the vegetarian quest i am at your service with deep bows. sending love from melanie’s house.

    Reply

  6. mlatimerridley
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 10:50:51

    Best of luck on your adventure! Hopefully the creative cook does come back! And the picture of your food is fab, the colours are so vibrant!!

    Reply

  7. littlesundog
    Aug 01, 2012 @ 21:44:53

    I am interested to follow your vegetarian quest. I have wanted to delve into that for some years now, but haven’t had the guts. That photo of your dinner had me salivating!!

    Reply

  8. Dee Ready
    Aug 03, 2012 @ 12:27:30

    Dear Sandy, I’m glad to discover that you are considering exploring vegetarianism and I’d say that first meal looks scrumptious and probably tasted that way also! I’ve given away almost all my vegetarian cookbooks, if I hadn’t I’d send you some.

    The three I’ve kept are “Moosewood,” which you’ve already used, “The Meatless Gourmet: Favorite Recipes from Around the World” by Bobbie Hinman (Sue Filbin gave this to me), and “Easy Everyday Vegetarian: Meatless Main Dishes You’ll Love”–a Betty Crocker cookbook. I use all three quite frequently, especially when I have friends over for supper.

    I’ve been a vegetarian now since September 1980–so nearly 32 years. I’ve never regretted this decision, which I made while sitting with a friend in the Stillwater park by the St. Croix. I truly don’t think of myself as a devout vegetarian. Rather, I think being one is just who I am–like I am a human and a woman. Peace.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 21:13:30

      I always admired your convictions in life, Dee. Being a vegetarian was just one of them. Like you say, you simply lived your essence, which was a joy and a privilege to be around.

      Reply

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