“Cool.” “Close.” “Embrace.” “Satisfaction.” “Pleasure.” “Getting your groove back.” “I’m still the good girl, trying to be a bad girl.” These are words and phrases plastered on my vision board, a collage of images and words that capture what I am creating in 2012. I made it on New Year’s Eve, and it hangs on the inside of my closet. A large portion of it is dedicated to relationships. I want Love in 2012 and beyond. There I said it. Pure. Simple. Unapologetic. I deserve it. It has taken me all of four years of being divorced to own and name that desire.
For some reason this post is hard for me to write. I’ve drafted and redrafted. Started, deleted and started again. It’s supposed to be short and sweet. It’s supposed to be for Valentine’s Day, and I barely finished in time even though I started almost two weeks ago. So here’s the raw, honest deal. I have not really dated since 2008, but now I finally feel like myself again. Beautiful, brilliant, spiritually-attuned, creative, energized. I deserve the best. I deserve it all. I will be dating in 2012.
Though the one has not manifested before me, the process of putting together the vision board helped me clarify what I want. I look at the board everyday. I smile at it. I like the words on it. I’m moved by the images on it.
There are pictures of four handsome men. A cool, hip-hop artist, who is FINE and whose style, and most of all whose lyricism and artistry, I appreciate. Another of a former pro athlete who is vegetarian. He is there because I am vegan, and I love nurturing, welcoming and sharing life-affirming food with others. My next love does not have to be vegan, but he does have to be open to experiencing this major part of me. In the third picture, a man and a woman cook together. He is at the cutting board, and she is behind him as if her arms were just around his waist. In the fourth one, a man lies on a sofa admiring something. In his smile, I see strength, confidence and affection. He looks like he’s admiring something, perhaps the woman he loves.
Oh Yuk. You are becoming one of those. . .a dreamy, hopeless, romantic.
The act of making a vision board is an affirmation in and of itself. It’s the same as my grandmother’s expression “Name it and Claim it. . .If there is something you want in life, tell God, expect it, move in the world like it’s already yours, and watch it show up.” I have not been so confident about this in the love sector of my life. Perhaps because where man woman love is concerned, I have not seen too many good models up close. I am a child of divorced parents. I am divorced myself. I have been engaged in the healing process that is necessary behind the end of a relationship. The vision board I created almost four years ago had nothing about relationships on it. The board itself is down in the basement in a space that I pile junk in. Junk that prevented me from even entering the room. But it’s been four years of recovery and (re)discovery of who I am in the world. To get here, I’ve been writing and writing and writing some more. I’ve been cooking and writing about cooking and teaching about cooking and cooking some more. I’ve been creating new surroundings in my home. I’ve been purging physically, emotionally, and spiritually, things that don’t serve me, that don’t make me feel alive, creative and whole. Although the one has yet to show up, I treat myself the way I want to be treated in the context of a relationship. The way I want us to be when we are together.
Love is hard to write about when you doubt that you’ve truly experienced it or when what you were sure was love deteriorates into something else. . .
So tonight I am dining at Vita’s Eatery, aka my dining room, in the comfort of workout clothes. Esperanza Spalding serenades while playing her upright bass. Even though it’s a Tuesday night and no one else is home, I decide to eat on china. Not a chipped plate, not the plastic ones that the kids use and not the one they made one day after school. I eat from my finest dishes. Battered and fried tofu, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli with garlic, herbs, and vegan butter and a glass of white wine in a crystal glass are what’s on the menu. I light a candle. I move the lily that I love the smell of from the guest bedroom to my placemat. I breathe, take my time and savor the food. I think about the peace of mind that I now have, and I consider what this experience would be like if shared. . .A half hour later I receive a text. It’s an invitation to Mishas, a coffeehouse in Old Town, Alexandria.
I’m not big on coffee, but I can have tea or apple cider. . . I like Old Town and Mishas seems like a cool place. . . I considered myself to be in for the evening. . .It’s only 10 til 6. . . He’s a bit younger. . .It’s just a cup of coffee, damn.
I laugh to myself, shower, get cute, and go.
“Spectacular” is another word on my vision board. . .I am taking relationship ruins and resurrecting something spectacular.
Vita’s Battered and Fried Tofu
Marinade for tofu (in a medium bowl with a tightly fitting lid)
1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Batter (in another medium bowl with a tightly fitting lid)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Pour oil about an inch high into a cast-iron skillet. Heat over medium high heat for at least 15 minutes or until the next steps are completed. Cut the block of tofu into cubes of your desired size.
For the marinade: In a medium bowl with a tightly-fitting lid, combine the liquid amino acids, onion powder, garlic powder and ground ginger. Add the cubes of tofu and seal the lid. Invert the bowl, turning it over gently a few times until the tofu is evenly coated.
For the batter: In another medium bowl with a tightly-fitting lid, combine all of the batter ingredients. Working in batches, add the marinated tofu to the batter. Seal the lid, invert the bowl, turning it over gently until the tofu cubes are coated evenly with the flour mixture. Add the chunks to the hot oil and fry, turning the cubes for 8 to 10 minutes or until a golden brown coating forms. Do not crowd the skillet. Adjust the heat as necessary. Cover a plate with a paper towel. Transfer the fried tofu to the plate. Repeat until all the tofu is fried.
Serve with hot sauce.