The other night, a friend of mine shared a YouTube video with a group of us that made me laugh out loud, on the one hand, nod my head in total recognition on the other (because this little girl could be my daughter, with whom I had a nearly identical conversation about two days ago); it made me think, too about independence, interdependence, and how we learn to walk the fine line between them.
But first, you have to see the video.
Worry about yourself. YOU DRIVE. YOU DRIVE.
The other day, when I sprained my ankle for the second time, one of the other women in my class (who happens to be a nurse, though I don't think I knew that) came downstairs with me to make sure that I got ice packs and that I elevated my foot to reduce the swelling right away. I was incredibly frustrated with myself at the time, and I kept saying something on the order of "you should go back to class" ... partly because I really didn't want her to miss out on my account, and partly because I don't like people seeing me at my worst, when I'm frustrated and in pain. Who does? It's like being strip-searched. Besides, I really don't like asking for help in general. As I think we've already established. Worry about yourself, I told her, in my own probably-not-so-kind way.
But there are some times when help really could be useful, right? Like when we're two and trying to buckle ourselves into a car seat and we can't quite get it right, and so we just get more and more frustrated, eventually melting down entirely. Like when we are unlikely to sit down and get ice packs for ourselves, and more likely to grab our child from the Child Watch and limp or hop away the building. Or even professional help. Like when we're trying to move an elderly parent out of an apartment while also trying to move our entire family, with them, to another state. Movers really come in handy. Or, yes, that time you're thinking about right now. Yes, you could use some help with that, too.
There are also times when we need to be independent, when we should "worry about ourselves," but in a way that is perhaps more constructive and less self-destructive. For example: forgiving ourselves. That topic came up the other night, too, and we were surprised at how much easier it is, sometimes, to forgive others; we often hold ourselves to a very different set of standards. Maybe forgiving other people who haven't asked for forgiveness also falls into this category: the "worry about yourself" category. Take care of your own heart; there's not much you can do about theirs except to release them. And of course there are lots of other things, too. Like knowing and being attentive to our limitations. Putting on our own mask first before we put on the mask for the child sitting next to us on the airplane (am I alone in thinking that I'd have a hard time remembering to do that in a real emergency?).
But when we say these words, it's not usually in the kindest of ways. When I first saw this video, after I stopped crying from laughing so hard, I said, "well, she had to have learned that phrase from someone, right?" Of course she did. I can imagine the scenario: young sibling butts into older sibling's business when parent is admonishing older sibling for misbehavior. "Worry about yourself." Or: vulnerable adult is being offered help by someone, and doesn't want it. "Worry about yourself." Is it any wonder we live in a world in which we become more and more isolated? "YOU DRIVE."
How do we learn when it's time to really "worry about" ourselves, or others, and when it's time to back away?
Roasted Tomato Soup with Farro
Adapted from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks
This is a "worry about yourself' kind of soup. Because sometimes you also need someone to tell you what to do.
4 T. coconut oil (can substitute butter)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 t. salt
3 t. curry powder
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. ground cumin
2 (28-oz.) cans fire roasted whole tomatoes
6 c. water
1 14-oz. can coconut milk (full fat preferred)
to serve: (any of the following) cooked brown
rice, farro, lemon wedges, toasted almond slices, fresh parsley.
Melt coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and
salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions become soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
the spices and
cook, stirring continuously, for about 30 seconds, just until they are
fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, juices, and water. Simmer for fifteen
or so, then puree with a hand blender until smooth. Taste and adjust
with more salt to taste.
Garnish the way you like, and make it as hearty or light as you wish.