Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday, friends. It’s been…a week. Nothing
insurmountable, just a pile-up of a lot of things at once. They all
had one thing in common, which is that they were largely outside of
my control.

It started last weekend. A relationship that I’d actually been
hopeful about (the first in a long time), came apart. Its
unraveling felt as sad and mysterious as its beginning had felt
bright and surprising. I guess it’s a mark of some sort of
progress that I understood all along that I couldn’t really
change the outcome.

As the week got underway, I was surprised to find myself in a
particularly challenging professional/academic situation. This,
too, lay outside of my control. “They” say—and I tend to
believe it—that we can’t control what happens to us, but we can
control how we respond. Even trying to control my responses felt
like a lot of work. By the end of the week, all I could do was
acknowledge that things were difficult and I was doing my best to
get through it.

Through all of this, I was waiting on health-related test
results. They were fine, thankfully, but the experience was a
humbling reminder that our bodies are vulnerable, and there’s
really only so much we can do to take health into our own

There were other things, too. Small reminders that, no matter
how hard I try to create a life that is safe and bounded and
peaceful, I can’t fashion a cocoon for myself. Life has other
plans. Work intrudes. Other people have intentions and needs that
vie with mine.

By Friday, I’d entered a state that’s pretty foreign to me,
which a kind of passivity. Or perhaps a better word would be
acceptance. I wasn’t fighting anything that was happening. I
wasn’t trying to change it. I wasn’t even trying to manage
things with particular elegance or grace; oftentimes when I’m
struggling, I try to wrestle back control by crafting the most
“admirable” response I can, whether it feels genuine or not.
This time, I gave myself over to everything: to the fact that
things were hard, the fact that I was struggling, and the fact that
I didn’t have the energy to pretend otherwise.

I can think of times in my life when resistance felt important
and useful. I’m thinking especially of moments in my life as a
graduate student, which has been marked by a lot of discouragement.
It’s been very important for me to fight against the impulse to
give up; I’d never have gotten through my post-bacc or my masters
program if I’d allowed the discouragement to get the better of

For the most part, though, I tend to overestimate how much
conscious control I have over things. This is especially true in
relationships, but it can also be true at work and in life as a
whole. There are forces at play that have little to do with me. I
can craft responses to my circumstances that feel healthy, honest,
and kind. And—as I learned this week—I can also let go, stop
trying to come up with the “right” responses all the time, and
simply allow things to be. Which means allowing myself to be,

This shift in perspective has happened quietly, internally, and,
until now, pretty unconsciously. No matter how subtle, it feels
significant. I wonder how things would be if I allowed myself to
feel this way—not indifferent, but unresisting—more often. I
guess there’s only one way to find out, right?

For now, happy Sunday. Here are some recipes and reads.


I love the looks of Sarah’s brown
rice and sweet potato sushi

A great, all-purpose plant protein option: sesame
tempeh crumbles

Not sure how I missed these in December, but Sophie’s
cauliflower steaks with pine nut salsa
are so beautiful.

I’ve got a bag of whole wheat couscous that I’ve been
wonderful what to do with. I think
these FOK bowls
just gave me an answer.

Finally, the
vegan paella of my dreams


1. A new study shows reduced
risk of breast cancer death with a low-fat diet

2. Interesting: the Guardian
has changed its style guide to introduce language that accurately
represents the environmental crises facing our planet
“Climate change” will now be “climate crisis,” or
“climate emergency,” and “global warming” will be “global

3. Would you see
an AI doctor for diagnosis
of a routine illness?

4. I’ve had the Sunday Scaries all year long, and they’re
particularly bad right now. Maybe Joanna’s strategy of
ending the weekend with a bang
will work?

5. Finally, I love my
friend Erin’s essay about why she and her partner whipped up
biscuits and gravy on the morning of their wedding
. Here’s a
sneak peak:

…[T]here was no moment more perfect than our breakfast
together. We sat in comfy chairs in front of our fireplace wearing
regular clothes, eating piping hot food we’d made ourselves. It
could have been any other day of our lives up to that point—and
that’s really what was so special about it. This day wasn’t
the day, or the only day. It was just a day.

Here’s to a week full of everyday breakfast. Have a wonderful
rest of the day.


The post Weekend
Reading, 5.19.19
appeared first on The Full Helping.