Saturday, July 9, 2011

Burrata makes it Better

Our 4th of July was at Lake Arrowhead in southern California. We were with M's grandparents and aunt. This was not so easy of a trip for me however as it was my ex-husband's father, sister and step-mother whom I adore and love. Families breaking up is like an unending amount of band aids being ripped from thin-skinned parts of your body. My friend and I have been emailing back and forth the last couple of days about this. She is about 3 months ahead of me in her own marriage breakup. We check in on occasion with one another. Is it better for you yet? Has the heartache softened? Are you crying less? Are your afraid your friends are tired of talking about this yet? Dating? Along with the immediate loss of a long term partner, extended family is a whole other ball of wax. I have struggled with feeling replaced and trying to understand how I will fit into families I have come to love when they are not mine, but are for my daughter. I start to cry thinking about how much time, energy and love I put into making connections with my ex-husbands family the past 11 years now knowing that I will most likely never talk to most of them again.

My girlfriend and I have also been talking about the fairy tale we as a society buy into. Girl meets man, man takes care of girl. No one mentions the rescuing, resentment and power imbalances that go along with the current acceptable "successful" marriage template. The power we willingly give away for a version of safety and security that is nothing more than a mirage. I never would have believed someone if they told me how painful a family breaking up is. Life is so mysterious in that way. So much of the most potent experiences are like heavy clouds, bursting with emotions, grief, relief, joy and suffering. We can look at the storm clouds and feel the wind, sense their intensity, hope we can seek shelter, and yet until we are rained on, we can never fully understand the experience. Storms are imperative for nature to survive. Like a forest fire raging out of control, it is necessary to release the precious seeds that only fire can for its ultimate survival. And so it is this for our hearts also. For my heart to grow, I need the storms. So I carry tissues everywhere for my tears. I seek solace in my friends who also seek soul storms and intimately understand their wisdom and power. I cry rivers and know my life preserver is loving the grief. I am sad and tender and open hearted. I am angry and scared and accept that it is ok to miss my life before that was so lifeless. I am thankful that even when it seems that everything is gone, it is also grace wiping the slate clean for our hearts to fill with a new and more authentic kind of love. Saying goodbye can be really hard to do.

After coming back from L.A. I had a dinner party. Dinner conversation with 5 women and 5 kids running around. I feel so lucky coming home. That day going to the coop, I noticed Burrata and the first heirloom tomatoes were in stock. Figs, shiso leaves and nectarines too. A whole dinner ensued that made me feel deep thanks that I have friends who do not shy from life and its struggles. Burrata, while perhaps being an older trend, it still on my top list of summer treats. A mixture of mozzarella skin filled with cream and leftover mozzarella curds, it is a showstopper! Creamy, rich, delicate and flavorful. I served fresh sliced heirloom tomatoes, high quality olive oil, local shiso leaves (mine are growing but not yet ready) sea salt and sliced burrata. A perfect celebration of summer's flavors with very little effort. Burrata is best fresh. It is a guarantee hit for any dinner. Burrata makes it better for me.


Anonymous said...

As I have frequently observed, you have your grandmother's gift of putting feelings into words that others can understand. This time you pose the conundrum of telling everyone about what has happened and at the same time telling them that until you experience the hurt and uncertainty, you cannot begin to understand what they are really like. The analogy of the storm being visible but not knowing what it's really like until you feel the rain was especially good.
Love, Dad

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Dear Jessica,

I've been reading for "a while" and just wanted to peek out from behind the curtain and say how much I admire your strength and honesty in all of these open-hearted posts.

I originally came to read about food (and I must thank you many times over for introducing me to Heidi Swanson and her fabulous books), but I keep coming back to update my prayers for you and adorable Miss M as you navigate into this new life. You are doing a GREAT job and I want to applaud you and encourage you to believe in yourself.

Your writing is deft and beautiful, despite the heart-wrenching events you relay. Each time I arrive for a little "visit" I come away encouraged -- and I'm a long-time married mom of five. Your words matter. Thank you for sharing.

Blessings to you, sweet friend, from a kindred blogger in Grass Valley. : D

Anonymous said...

I've been visiting your blog for over a year to try and find ways to get my toddler girls to eat more vegetables. I am now also coming to read your reflections on the break up of your marriage. I am sadly going through the same awful process, and struggle with the mass of emotion and how it impacts every aspect of life. I wonder what emotions will hit next and what might trigger them. Your posts are inspiring and I loved the elegant storm metaphor you used. How true. You are able to beautifully describe the vulnerability, despair, and most of all the hope one can feel going through divorce. I am impressed with how gentle you are with yourself through this process. It is hard to allow yourself time to heal when your life seems to be going off the rails, yet you seem to manage that.

Jessica said...

Debbie and Anonymous..well I cried reading each of your comments. It is amazing to me how we are each having our own (sometimes painful also) experience in life and yet here you are giving me words that are soothing, compassionate and hopeful. I know I have blog visitors, but I don't know most of them. When you become visible to me through your comments, it gives me tiny glimpses into your lives, and makes blogging about my personal story to the unknown world less scary and worth it. Thank you both so much for your comments and kindness.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jessica
you are so brave to share your emotions but do know that so many people can relate to your story. We feel for you desperately. But, you are coming through it. Your beautiful daughter must give you so much joy. And, of course, burrata is the best!! I think I shall try to find some in the market this week.

Thinking of you...

Jo in France

Jessica said...

Thank you Jo! Things are perking up and and up! I have a new project in the works related to this whole process...I will let you know as soon as it happens! xo

windycityvegan said...

Sometimes I ache for my first husband's family so much that the wounds feel fresh all over again. You're so brave to put it all out there, to share your thoughts and feelings on what you're going through right now.

Also, while it's sad to read that your friend is going through a breakup of her own, in a way it gives me comfort thinking about how you have someone who understands what you're going through, while you're going through it. My best friend and I went through unexpected and abrupt divorces only a few months apart. We were young-ish, in our mid- to late-20s and just starting to feel like bona fide grown ups. Our worlds were turned upside down almost overnight, and thankfully, we had one another to lean on, confide in, vent to, and ultimately buoy one another up. We gave ourselves up to our grief, and came out stronger than we could have imagined.

You're strength is amazing. Continue to embrace the storm - I promise it gets better, and you'll appreciate everything so much more once this is behind you.

Jessica said...

WCV..I am glad you told me this. I find too that people sharing the difficulties in life helps make it better. And, to have your best friend travel through the tunnels of life with you must have made your friendship that much deeper. I always think I wish pain upon no other..but damn, if you have to do it, a best friend to do it with must certainly be the ticket! Thank you a lot for your kind comment xo


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