I got into something of a cooking frenzy, yesterday. I blame Ina, because I was watching her show and she made this summer pasta dish and I thought, “I can make this and then I won’t have to cook again between now and when I go out of town on Thursday.”
The previous night, I fell asleep thinking, “I am going to bake a cherry pie.” I woke up thinking the same thing. I have no idea, so again, I turned to Ina for the crust, and then Smitten Kitchen for the pie, a sweet cherry pie, which of course, had me humming, “She’s my cherry pie,” all night long. Eighties rock is still the best.
The pasta was going to require some time and something involving maceration which, (I LOOKED IT UP), means to soften by soaking in liquid.
Usage: I macerated myself in the bathtub this morning.
I halved a large quantity of tiny tomatoes. The recipe called for four pints but the containers I bought were in ounces and math is hard and I just decided to go with three containers and hope for the best.
Next I fake julienned a quantity of basil which is to say I was not graceful in my knife work, added some minced garlic, salt and pepper, as well as a cup of olive oil and mixed that all together. I covered the situation with plastic and set it aside, to macerate, at room temperature for FOUR HOURS. That is ridiculous, but I am good at following instructions when I respect the instruction giver and sometimes, even when I don’t.
I have been thinking about my first boyfriend, the boy I loved who then served me up to his friends after I thought I had already given him everything he could possibly want. I am loathe to even call him my boyfriend, but it’s the most convenient word to contain what trespassed between us before I became the girl in the woods. He was not a good boy. I think I knew that even then. He was very controlling and sadistic and he took so much from me, long before I understood that I could say no in such circumstances. I was a baby. I knew nothing about anything. I hate thinking about him but I am still plagued by the question of why I thought I loved him and why I let him do the things he did to me and why why why.
While the macerating was going down, I began to prepare the pie dough. I mixed the dry ingredients—flour and salt and sugar. Ina said to use a food processor but my Kitchen Aid was up to the task. I had faith and my faith was rewarded.
I was thinking about this boy and how the most unexpected, and sometimes uncomfortable or unwelcome things can shape your sexuality. I have never felt shame about bisexuality. Women are attractive and intriguing. I am into it. I struggled a bit with accepting that I desire men because I had so many reasons to be terrified and repelled by them. We want what we want, though. And, as we all know, #notallmen. I enjoy them.
I’ve realized, especially recently, that for me it’s about the person. If the right someone makes me laugh and think and smile when I least expect it, if they are all too often on my mind, if I want to take care of them and be taken care of by them, if I think about the softness of their skin and the coolness of their lips, if I can’t or won’t imagine not having them in my life, I don’t care what gender they are. This is just me. I understand that this is all so very individual. We want what we want across the spectrum of sexuality. We’re wired how we are wired. Can we change? I doubt it. Maybe we can, however, evolve.
But, I keep thinking about this boy. I try to ignore the definitive line between the things he did to me and what fuels my desires now but that line is there, and though I feel no shame, though I accept myself, I hate that line. I want to evolve.
I added VERY COLD BUTTER and some COLD vegetable shortening (eww) and ice cold water to the flour and got that going until it firmed up and began to resemble dough. Totally worked. Baking is magic.
I was on Twitter chatting about how I love giving love advice even though my love life is often prone to disaster and then people e-mailed me questions and I am going to give them answers, here!
I’m falling for my smart, funny, thoughtful, and, oh dear God, HOT roommate. I haven’t said anything to him about it but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t feel the same way. (There might be residual fat girl self-esteem issues to get into here but that’s probably for another round of Ask Roxane.) I know I need to put some distance between us, but it’s hard to stay away when I like talking to and hanging out with him so much! (Moving out isn’t an option at the moment.) I don’t want to lose a great friendship with a sweet guy. Any ideas on how I can get over this?
Hopeless At This Shit
Oh girl… oh oh oh. There are, likely some residual fat girl self-esteem issues here. Those are issues that, I often worry, stay with us for a lifetime. I have a theory about us girls with these issues. We often focus our desires on people we view as unattainable so we can at least enjoy the rush of crush and the taste of want and feel a little more alive but we do so in a way that keeps everything at a distance. If we love or like someone who we are rather certain won’t love or like us back, we can better prepare for the inevitable heartbreak. We set ourselves up, not because we want to but because we don’t think we deserve any better. We give ourselves a known outcome because the unknown of a mutually reciprocated relationship is terrifying.
Maybe I am projecting.
That said, what is “unattainable”? I refuse to buy into these notions. Despite everything, part of me still believes anything is possible. This is, likely, not at all helpful for you. But. He’s hot. I’m guessing you are too because I have a good sense about these things. You could be hot together. Trust your instincts, though. If he’s not into you in that way, don’t stay stuck in that place of unrequited desire.
Clearly, the friendship you have with this guy is strong so don’t deprive yourself of that relationship. At the same time, you do want to make sure you’re creating other social and maybe dating opportunities for yourself. Get out in the world. Treasure the friendship you have with your roommate. Treasure yourself more.
I wrapped the dough in a ball and put in the refrigerator for half an hour. So much waiting.
I have started seeing Someone New. She is very sweet and giving in all the ways I hoped for in someone I date. The thing is, I have an extremely difficult time with short tempers; while, intellectually, I handle it very well in the moment when someone gets super angry, my whole body rebels in response: I get migraines, feel the need to panic and flee, get nauseated, etc. This is all due to growing up in a super abusive household filled with physical violence.
Someone New and I have friends for a year and seeing each other for about a month now. She has told me she has a temper and that she knows it’s a dealbreaker for me. She has never in her life gotten physically violent; she just yells and talks some shit. We haven’t had any angry scenes at all, and we’ve been able to talk through any misunderstandings in a healthy and rational way.
If/when she does lose her temper around me at something, but she’s still treating me super well, how can I rewire my brain to not be terrified? I’ve been in therapy for a few years, but any ideas are appreciated!
Lesbian Who Appreciates Roxane’s Ideas About Dating (LWARIAD)
First of all, how thrilling that you’ve met someone and it’s all new and lovely. I am so happy for you.
The old wounds we carry are heavy indeed. Your new lady has a temper and she has told you about it and she knows what your limits are and frankly, you guys are in a wonderful place where you are being open and healthy and communicative. Bravo!
Don’t sit around waiting for her to lose her temper. That’s no way to live or love. Will she lose her temper at some point? Of course. Life happens. What you have to do is take care of yourself, whatever that looks like. I don’t know if you can rewire your brain to not be terrified. Those gut reactions are forged in often permanent ways.
Perhaps you can rewire what happens when the moment of terror passes. Breathe deeply. Try, in that moment, to remember the difference between the present and the past. Your new lady is not your past. She is not the person or people who hurt you in such terrible ways. She will, I am hoping, never hurt you in such terrible ways though I cannot guarantee she will never hurt you. We hurt the people we love sometimes and then we hope we can earn their forgiveness.
I would also urge you, if her temper flares around you, to remember the foundation this new relationship was built on, the friendship you shared, and how open and lovely you two have been with each other. When you start from such a strong place, it will always be possible to get back there.
While the dough was chilling, literally, I had to pit two and a half pounds of cherries. I have an AMAZING cherry pitter that pits four cherries at a time so this wasn’t as terrible as it could have been. Of course, I was watching The Bachelorette at the same time and that was precisely as terrible as it could have been. It was really painful watching Marcus get shut down like that.
When the dough was ready, I cut it in half and rolled out one half, gently laying it in my pie pan. It was pretty ugly and I had to do some patch work.
There is, I must admit, something very satisfying about making things from scratch, to know every component of a dish was made by your own hands. As a lazy person, I’m a fan of pre-made things but it was a lot of fun and deeply relaxing to make my own dough and my own cherry filling. I felt productive and capable.
I thought, “Look what I can do with my two hands.”
To prepare the cherry mixture, I added corn starch, the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, almond extract, a bit of sugar (nowhere near as much as the recipe called for), and then I freestyled and also added some bourbon vanilla, because vanilla is amazing. I stirred all that together and it smelled really good.
I love cherries. I really, really do.
I’ve got a crush on my teacher. He’s 20 yrs older than me.
I kinda think something might be there between us, but I’m not sure how to go about changing the dynamic. Help.
FYI, I’m 34, I’m not opposed to the age difference.
It’s totally understandable to be hot for teacher and because you are 34 and not a traditional undergrad, I am not as worried as I might normally be. Still, the dynamic between a teacher and student is imbalanced, no matter what your ages are. He is responsible for a part of your education. He gives you grades and mentorship. In a romantic entanglement, you will always be at a disadvantage. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage.
If there’s something between you and teacher, I would suggest waiting until you will no longer be taking courses with him so the conflict of interest is diminished. Send him an e-mail or stop by his office and ask him out for coffee or a drink. In a non-academic setting, you will be able to better get a sense of what, if anything, there is between the two of you. If he is an ethical teacher, he will not make the first move no matter how attracted he may be to you.
I added the cherry filling to my ugly pie crust and then chunks of one tablespoon of butter.
How do I make a man who loves me but has given up on me stop giving up? Or maybe it’s, how do I figure out how to let a man who loves me go even though I still love him because we’re not good for each other?
Some bad things happened to me in my past, far back and then farther, and I don’t like to talk about them but they’ve made me afraid of intimacy to the point that I can’t even stand to cuddle most of the time. I was in a very long distance relationship, across the ocean long distance, for five years, and as much as I wanted to build physical trust to go along with the emotional trust that was already there, as badly as I wanted to be intimate with him, I never could. I think we didn’t have enough time together in person for my body to learn that he was safe. Lots of things over the years threatened to tear us apart, most of them my fault, or at least instigated by me.
I’m a difficult person, especially for those who try to love me. He always held on, always said he wasn’t going anywhere. I finally trusted him and his solidity.
And two weeks ago I guess it was finally too long. He said he thought this was something we needed to work on on our own, not together. He said he would miss me, still loved me, but he wanted more than I could give him. He said he wanted a girlfriend, and everything that goes with that. I’ve texted him too many times, too desperately, tried to get him to have another conversation about it because I don’t think he has all the facts about what I want (which is the same as what he wants) and how much I’m willing to work on it, and finally I’ve deleted him from my online spaces and from my phone and I’m trying to leave him alone. I want to tell him that it’s not something I can work on alone, it’s something that needs time and patience and another person, but I think he’s through hearing me.
I feel broken, not just by this ending but by my body that betrays me at every turn, and I still love him desperately and I can’t stop thinking about him being intimate with someone else, loving someone else, and wanting to die. I realize this is so dramatic and unhealthy a response to this situation, but it’s the one I’m having. I want to stop having it, and to be able to display as little emotion as he’s displayed throughout, and I don’t know what I’m asking really but I’ll take anything you’ve got.
Dear Feeling Broken,
You are not broken. You have been hurt and there is a difference. You’re also not being dramatic and unhealthy. You are hurt and this is how you are showing that hurt. If you’re still sending him desperate texts in like a year, you will probably be in unhealthy territory.
This letter hit me hard because so much of you write I could have written myself. I am difficult to love. I know this about myself. Intimacy is hard for me. My body recoils from so much, not because I want to, but because it’s my body’s natural instinct for flight, for self-protection. Someone in my life calls this instinct my force fields.
I am trying to tear down my force fields. I wish I had a step by step guide but I don’t. The truth is that I don’t know how I’m doing it, and it’s not easy, and for every step forward there is a stumble back. I do know I have a lot of help and am doing more to spend intimate time with people my body can trust. Sometimes, we have to, despite our better judgment, trust the softest parts of ourselves to someone else. Are there ways you can do that with your inner circle? Are there people in your life with whom you can be intimate (which is not necessarily sexual), to whom you can talk and touch in ways that might help those force fields weaken?
It sounds like this guy has reached a limit and I don’t know that you can change that. I would not assume he is acting without emotion. He might be. Or. He might simply express feelings differently than you. It sucks and I wish things could be different. I wish he would see how much you have to offer once your force fields start coming down. I’m sorry this isn’t the case right now. I want to punch him, not in the face or anything. You’ve made a good step forward by deleting him from your various online and cellular places. If only it was that easy to delete your suffering.
Have you been in therapy? Do you talk to anyone about these difficult things from your past? Unburdening can do so much.
Allow yourself to hurt right now. When you’re ready, it’s time to focus on working on these force fields. I don’t think we ever wholly rid ourselves of them, but we can, I think, get to places where the force fields fall enough to allow the right one one. Get ready.
The pie was ready to be covered so I rolled out the second half of the dough, GENTLY lay it upon my pie, and brushed an egg wash over the top. The recipe called for covering the crust with coarse sugar but I didn’t have any of that. I used brown sugar instead.
You want some of this brown sugar.
FINALLY, the tomatoes were fully macerated. I boiled pasta, then added it to the tomatoes along with a cup and a half of parmesan and I tossed it all together. This is a kick ass dish. It tastes perfect. It will last for days. It can be eaten warm or cold. As Ina would say, this dish is FOOLPROOF.
This is how my cherry pie turned out. I allowed myself one piece and then gave the rest to a friend which is probably a little tacky but she likes pie and it’s not like I licked the pie or anything. My pie was ugly but fucking delicious, the right amount of sweet and tart. At least two other people agree.
Here’s the thing. I don’t expect you to be anything else. I don’t want you to be anything else. You are perfect exactly as you are. No matter what happens, even if it ain’t easy or simple or ideal, we’re going to be great.