Sugar and spice, that’s what I’m made of

I’ve been doing a lot of baking lately and the results have been yummilicious, which is surprising because I always thought I wasn’t good at making desserts. But just like running and working with technology, I was wrong about my own capabilities. I’ve become more than a passable webmaster, manually switching web hosts for this blog with minimal issues and pat myself on the back success. And I not only ran a 5K last year, but kept up running since then and intend to continue. As for sweet treats, I was always better at eating and appreciating them than actually making them. Or so I thought!

If you look at my list of recipes I love on the left side of the screen, you’ll notice that a lot of them are desserts. One trick I’ve learned about sweets is that the best ones actually have a dash or so of salt in them to make the sweet flavor even sweeter. The more sugar is in a dish, the more salt is required to bring that flavor out. I find that so interesting, and it’s an obvious metaphor for life. The best parts can’t be as good without that bit of salt to really contrast them. So maybe I seem positive and upbeat and completely in control, and for the most part I am, but there are moments of self-doubt or times when my heart just wants to sulk and the loneliness hits.

In those moments, I close my eyes and take a deep breath and find flashes of memories, still pictures of the life I once had, flashing on the back of my eyelids, taunting me and haunting me and giving that sulky heart more to drown in. The heart becomes an independent being, separate from the rational, organized, STRONG part of me. And I miss him. Not the him he either became or I refused to believe he was all those years, but the him I thought I had married. The him I loved. And okay, rational Sheba says, he isn’t that guy anymore even if he ever really was, so get over it. But the heart replies, I don’t care, I don’t want to remember anything but the feeling of dancing with his arms holding me as I just let go and didn’t care who was watching. I want to remember the feeling of sexiness that came from HIS eyes watching me dance and HIS hands holding mine and HIS fingers leading me through a crowd. And rational, didn’t know I had it in me, strong Sheba responds, Ah, but now you’re sexy in YOUR eyes. Isn’t that what the past two years have been about? The end of that journey is that now, YOU LOVE YOU.

Becoming a mother was the biggest turn around of my life.

And after all that borderline schizophrenic, emotional tug of war saltiness, I feel relieved and renewed. Life is sweeter. Also, having an outstanding support system is the ingredient that gives the dish of my life a great little kick. Thank you my family and friends, especially Melysa S. and Zahara for about the thousandth time!

When I used to make dessert before my separation, I tended to psych myself out in advance, thinking, “Oh, the rest of the meal will be delicious so maybe I should just BUY dessert so I don’t ruin the whole thing.” I told myself I was in over my head, and lo and behold, I found myself overwhelmed, covered in flour and baking soda and sweating sugar streaks down my neck and staring into a bowl of custard that wouldn’t set or a tray of deformed, or liquidy, or burnt cake and fighting the urge to throw down my spatula and eat my way out of the sweet mess and into bed sobbing. So maybe I was a little overdramatic? It was traumatic, people, especially when my hormones kicked in once a month and again during pregnancy!

Anyway, I set myself up for those major fails with my negative thinking. But one huge difference since I became a mother, got separated, and filed for divorce is my sense of accomplishment and my belief in myself. I know if I think I can do something, I do it. And with all of the eye rolls and sighs and logical, oh so annoying arguments that start with “But Mom-my-y,” I need that core of determination and self-assured certainty to get through the day. And seriously, I’m not even raising a teenager right now! She’s TWO and a half, what the heck is going to happen in ten years?! And how many syllables will the word mommy have in it by then…

So maybe the sweet masala of my life includes a teaspoon of salty tears, a few drops of bitterness and bile. It takes those things to make the end result better. It’s the same theory as that a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. Something about that combination in life makes the whole thing easier to swallow. And so I CAN run. And I CAN create and control a blog. And I can walk a 5K along the boardwalk pushing a stroller into the wind with a combined baby-stroller-diaper bag stuffed with extra everythings-weight of about 60 pounds. Because I said I would, I did it and felt amazing even after a bout of extreme loneliness the night before. I’ve got my cake and I’m eating it, too! And it tastes soooo good loves, so so good. :~D


I think I can, I think I can

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” – Arnold Bennett

You’ve probably noticed major changes on my blog lately and I’m sure there’s more to come. Truth is, as I’m expanding what I’m doing here, I’m also learning what I’m doing here! I could never fully grasp the concepts of technology and how all the “gadgets” worked. I used them, but I felt overwhelmed and flustered when I thought about the vast reaches of the Interwebs. But that’s okay. I’m not going to talk myself out of trying. I won’t say, “Oh, I could never do this so I still can’t,” and then give up. I’m a smart girl. I can figure things out. And when I don’t know what to do, I can ask for some help. That’s what technical support is there for, right? :~)

Nothing in life that’s truly worth it is easy. I’ve always sold myself short with my self-deprecating humor and overly explanatory justifications for why I just could not do something. But last year I challenged myself to start running. I trained with Stroller Strides of Long Island among moms who were trying to get back into shape, moms who’d been great athletes and moms who had never run a day in their lives. I fit in that latter category.

I believed I wasn’t cut out for it. I was the last one to finish the mile every fall and spring in school, barely making it through the last lap because I was so out of breath. I felt like a tight-fitting helmet was shoved down on my head, the heat suffocating me. I’d get dizzy, my face blotchy red and yellow, my lips pale, and I’d have to go to the nurse’s office. Every time. Twice a year, every year, all through school. Oh yeah, that was a great way to feel like less of a nerd! (It’s okay, nerds are cool now :~D)

Guess what? I ran the 5K and although my goal had been to simply finish by walking and running in intervals, I actually ran the whole way! I have never been prouder of myself than that moment when I accomplished something I thought was impossible. During a time in my life when I really needed it, I felt like I was in control, strong and able and positive I could do more. The craziest thing was that after all those years of discouraging myself and not really learning how to do it right, I found out I actually liked running!

What believing in myself looks like

So the same thing applies here. I’m learning about blogging with a little bit of trial and error and quite a lot of intuitive know-how that I didn’t expect. I got through the process of transferring my blog from a free WordPress hosted one to a self-hosted site almost seamlessly. There are a few bugs to work out and I might play with the theme and widgets a bit to get the right look and feel, but I’m doing it. And it feels fantastic to say that this is really MY blog, with my sweat and tears and aching fingers!

What feels even better is knowing that my efforts are essential to taking my life to the next level. I could have left this as it was, free and simple, but then I’d be getting back exactly what I’d paid- nada. And although I started this as a therapeutic activity, there’s no reason why I can’t make some moola for myself and my daughter with my writing. I know my worth- I’m not worth zero! So I’ll be writing some sponsored posts and personal ones and you might see some advertisements, too. *Waves at potential sponsors*

Don’t worry, I’ll never sell out. I’ll always write what is true for me. My opinions, my thoughts, my own blog. Just like it’s always been. Only now, in addition to all of your likes, comments, and support to feed my soul, I’ll also be getting a little green in my pocket. Besides, you know I’m still the real thing when I can put that I’m a Muslim in the tagline and put a button in my sidebar for a blog with the words sex and bacon in the title! And the button has a (gasp) pig on it. The blasphemy! ;~)

What can I say? I’m unashamed and unafraid, uniquely me, adjusting as I learn and improve. Join me in this transition, won’t you?