The unofficial poet laureate of People With Feelings, Mary Oliver, has a poem that contains the lines: “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.” Grief is a complicated thing. You don’t ever really stop grieving the things you’ve lost, you just move to a different place with them. Some days seem more straightforward than others, others your sadness and anger and longing can fill you from your head to your toes. This weekend, I have suggestions about comfort: comfort food, mental health, and a making a small difference with citrus.
Eat: It’s time for some comfort food. A friend brought me Spinach Dip from Costco last week – more accurately, La Terra Fina Spinach, Artichoke, and Parmesan Dip and Spread. I am not the first one to discover the beauty and versatility of this dip, as this article from delish will prove. It is just as good hot as it is cold, and you can have it a large number of ways: as a dip with veggies and crackers from the fridge, heated and served over pasta, or even heated on toast with a runny egg on top. Let’s just say that this tub is already gone from my fridge, and I’m not the least bit regretful.
See: May is National Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. This year’s theme is More Than Enough – the idea being that no matter who you are, what your diagnosis is, or what your present challenges might be, you are more than enough. If you are someone with a mental illness like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, I can’t stress enough how not alone you are; the numbers alone speak for themselves. According to NAMI, the The National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 American adults experiences a kind of mental illness in any given year – and if you have been diagnosed with cancer, you’re twice as likely to face mental health challenges. NAMI has a spectacular section of resources put together for young adults, including professional recommendations on how to disclose your diagnosis to a significant other, find a culturally competent therapist, and manage mental health in college. There is no magic solution to manage mental health that works for everyone – but talking about it is the first step in finding community with others.
Do: I was walking around the block with my dog the other day, and I participated in my first lemonade stand of the season. “LEMONADE!” a small child yelled over and over again, not varying their inflection or their very straightforward sales pitch. I asked the adult present if the stand would still be there in about 10 minutes, which gave me just enough time to set my dog up with some cold water in the kitchen and scurry back around the corner with two dollar bills in tow. The kid and adult were both really excited to see me, probably assuming I was just buying myself time as I passed. I got two big cups and remain a very happy customer. My suggestion: be sure to keep some singles on you as you walk or drive around in the coming months. And rest assured, knowing that you’re going to absolutely make someone’s day.
Have a comforting, cared-for, delicious weekend,