What About The Alchemy?

A Blog By TADA

Vlog: Weekend Recap — December 8, 2020
Thrift Haul – 11/08 — November 22, 2020
Shut-Up — December 12, 2018

Shut-Up

Junie B. Jones ended its run on Saturday. Now I get to enjoy some time off before I jump back into my creative projects again. In less than two weeks, I will be in Naples, Florida with my mom and her side of the family. On one hand, it feels good to have a long break coming up. On the other hand, there is this tiny little voice that whispers to me, “Keep working. You need to be doing something. You need to be productive and always be producing. If you’re not creating, you’re wasting time.”

This voice is always hard on me. It doesn’t have to be about creativity. It comes out when I’m stressed, angry, anxious, when I’m trying on a cute outfit and it’s too small, when I feel unattractive, when my memory blanks and I forget something I used to remember very well. It likes to remind me of my flaws, my failures, add things to my “to-do” list, and replay past moments of my life where someone made me feel like garbage.

I’ve been regularly seeing a therapist to cope with the last seven months and we’ve been working together to reprogram my line of thinking. After nearly 29 years of life, I’m finally recognizing how little I’ve honored my body. I don’t treat myself well. I’m mean in my self-talk and I eat terrible food. I drink a ton of caffeine, which I’ve known for years how it’s bad for my heart (I have tachycardia) but it’s also now proving to be affecting my digestive system.

Earlier today, I came across a quote I liked. It said, “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” I know I’ve heard it before, but for some reason didn’t resonate with me until now. To an extent, I think I really heard it because I am finally ready to take care of myself properly. I’m ready to do the work necessary to honor my body. I’m ready to tell that sneaky little voice to shut up, because I’m not doing anyone any favors by running myself ragged. I’m done making myself a martyr for no reason. I finally get it: There’s no glamour in being a workaholic.

I am ready for a break. 2018 has been a quite a year and I’m ready to put it to bed with a fresh, clean slate with 2019.

Every weekend morning, I try to take a picture of the sky because I always think the sky in the morning is at its prettiest.

Thanksgiving, Weekend with Mom, and the future — November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving, Weekend with Mom, and the future

I had a good Thanksgiving. Because I passed my 90-day mark at my job last week, I got paid for Thanksgiving AND I got a floating holiday!

On Thanksgiving, my family (including Neal and his mom) came down to Springfield and we had dinner at Village Inn. I worked at Village Inn last year for Thanksgiving, and I know they did a good Thanksgiving meal! I forgot it came with a free piece of pumpkin pie.

Then we had Thanksgiving part 2 over at Neal’s house with his family. It was a good time. My mom and Neal’s mom, Brenda, talked while me, Neal, Neal’s uncle Keith, aunt Sheri, and cousin Madison all watched Christmas Vacation, which is a family tradition for them. It used to be a tradition for me and my Grandma Barb, but it fizzled out over time and the tradition stopped. It was a good time.

I spent Thanksgiving weekend with mom and Neal in St. Louis and we hit up some cool local spots around Kirkwood (and some Jack n the Box for Neal). It surprised me to realize how much I miss Kirkwood and the general St. Louis area.

We took Neal to Strange Donuts since his old job was a similar-style donut shop in Springfield.

Iconic Amoco sign close to Forest Park in St. Louis

My mom is doing well, considering the news she got last month. We talked a lot about her cancer. Mainly we talked about her cancer of the peritoneum which is secondary to her colon cancer. Peritoneal cancer is terminal and its not an easy death. Mom and I talked candidly about what to do after she passes on. We also argued, got mad at each other, made up, cuddled, laughed. So we acted like normal mother and daughter. We’re going to Florida for Christmas to see my mom’s family. Eleven days on the beach will do both of us a lot of good. I got Mom a good Christmas gift that I know she’ll love.

Next month Neal and I celebrate our one-year anniversary. I can’t believe how much time has passed. I’ve never celebrated an anniversary before and boy, what a year it’s been! Neal has been an amazing partner to me. He’s been so supportive and patient with me, especially with my mom’s health issues. Stress/depression/grief can really affect your memory and it absolutely has affected mine. Neal will sweetly remind me of things I’ve forgotten or will listen to me as I tell him a story I’ve already told him. He’s a good egg. I’m excited to be celebrating a year of doing life with him. I hope it’s the first of many years with him.

We love taking goofy selfies

Recipe: Cheesy Deliciousness — November 18, 2018

Recipe: Cheesy Deliciousness

When I was younger, my mom and I would make our own version of a Rotel dip. Instead of calling it Rotel, we renamed it “Cheesy Deliciousness.” I hadn’t had it in a while until for a Halloween movie night last month. I forgot how easy it was to make and how yummy it is. I figured I’d share the recipe on here for anyone who is in need of a quick and easy dip recipe.

Ingredients:

I chose a hot salsa because I love a good spicy kick to my dip. This recipe is really versatile, so you can change it to mild if you’re more of a mild salsa kind of person.

  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1 can of tomatoes and jalapeños (I used Herdez Casera Hot Salsa from the Hispanic Food section at my local Walmart Neighbor market)
  • A splash of cooking oil (I find it helps keep the dip from hardening when it cools)
  • Optional: extra cheese (my mom would love to put shredded cheddar in it whenever she made it)

Directions:

  1. Open your salsa and pour contents into a medium-sized pot.
  2. Place pot onto the stove, temperature on High
  3. Stir while the salsa heats up in the pan. It will heat and begin to bubble quickly.
  4. Add one entire package of cream cheese to salsa.
  5. Stir salsa and cream cheese combo so the cream cheese melts evenly.
  6. Once the cream cheese and salsa have been fully mixed together, remove the pot off the stove. Let the dip cool for a few minutes and then pour the dip into a bowl (slowly to prevent splatter).
  7. Ready to serve!

Finished product!

And that’s it! A quick and simple dip for any occasion. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!

Enjoy!

Tess

Struggling — November 4, 2018

Struggling

For the last week, all the overworking I’ve done has starting to catch up to me. I’ve been using work as a coping mechanism. Feeling busy is better than feeling sad and depressed. But now, I’m so tired. And for the first time in a long time, I’ve been feeling so alone. I work alone (my boss and I primarily communicate through a work instant messaging service). I generally live alone because my roommates both have their own lives. I see my boyfriend once a week due to other priorities and neither of us having a car. My busyness leads me to not being able to have much of a social life, which I recognize now is my way of staying safe from people who’ve hurt me. My mom has other things on her mind while dealing with her health. Several times now we’ve gotten into fights through texts, so I’ve been trying to keep my communication short and sweet, to not upset her or get upset myself. This leads me to feeling a genuine loneliness that I can’t really shake.

I’ve been seeing a counselor regularly regarding all that has been going on in my personal life. Yesterday, I was talking to my counselor about how alone I’ve been feeling and how meeting new friends and developing a new support system has felt hard to do because I worry about feeling abandoned. Abandonment only has to happen once, but the effects of it can last a long time. It’s funny to think that at nearly 29 years old, I’m still experiencing a struggle with loneliness and making friends and building relationships. It feels so kindergarten. I really thought I would’ve gotten past that by now, but here we are.

So I keep doing what I’m doing. I keep showing up to work and I keep showing up to my responsibilities and creative projects. I keep going, even though I don’t want to, because I least get something done. Eventually, they will either end or come to a resting point. Then I can relax and recharge my batteries fully.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to honor my mind and body as much as possible and give both the rest they need when they need it. That’s the best I can do right now and that’s okay.

A stained glass window at the Jubilee Theatre in Marshfield, MO, where we have Junie B. Jones rehearsal.