When I started thinking seriously about resigning from my well-paid corporate job and writing full time I wrote a list of my fears. I called the list “Pros and Cons”, but that’s the cunning of my fear, to grab a classic movie quote, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.
There were surprisingly few once I distilled them down, but each of them hurt like a festering wound. “I will always be an average writer, no matter how hard I work”, “If I fail at this I will be too old to become successful at anything else”, “I will never earn enough money writing”, and the big one, “I’ve dreamed of this for so long, what if the reality is a let down?”
Fear can be a blanket fog in my life. It exhausts my courage, my dreams, my joy – and it’s always hungry for more. I’ve spent time so lost in fear that the world has seemed full of bleak and empty eyes, mirroring my own. And it always presents itself to me as being the sensible option, the practical voice in my mind. It works very hard at keeping me small and alone.
The bravest thing I even did was stop running, turn and challenge fear to prove itself. On that day I learnt that all darkness disappears in light.
On this day I spoke to a wise woman. Someone I trust implicitly. Someone who always seems to follow her dreams with clarity and a steady hand. I told her my fears and asked how she continues to find the courage to follow the pages her heart writes. There was a long pause on the other end of the phone, then she answered slowly and deliberately, like her soul spoke the words her head couldn’t translate.
“You can’t control your success. But you can control your regrets.”
I look at that sentence now and it seems so small. I know what each word means, the sentiment isn’t new. But something in me broke as she spoke from her soul to mine and I wept fiercely as my fears finally disappeared under a tidal wave of hope.
I spoke to my husband, resigned from my job and started to write on that day. I don’t know if I’m going to be successful, I may not be one of the greats – I may not even make much of a living from my writing. But I’ll never have to wonder what might have been.
Speaking of living without regrets, I contemplated not making this beautiful recipe from Chez CateyLou because some of the ingredients are hard to find outside of America. I’m so glad I ignored my initial thoughts and deAmericanised it (not a word? It is now!). The sweet potato and yoghurt add a lovely, sweet creaminess to one of my favourite Sunday morning breakfast dishes.
- 1 cup self raising flour
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbl sp light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Large pinch ground nutmeg
- Large pinch ground ginger
- Small pinch ground cloves
- 1 egg
- 1 cup full cream milk
- 1/4 cup greek yoghurt
- 2 tbl sp melted unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup mashed sweet potato
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Extra butter for frying
Mix flour, salt, sugar, soda and spices into a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, greek yogurt and butter.
Stir in the mashed sweet potato.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.
Stir until just combined.
Fold in the chopped walnuts.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.
Add a small dollop (about 1/2 tsp) of butter to the pan and wait until it melts and starts bubbling.
Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan for each pancake.
Let the pancakes cook until small bubbles appear on top and are brown underneath.
Flip the pancakes to brown the other side.
Remove to a tea towel or wire rack, wipe the pan with a paper towel, add more butter and continue cooking pancakes.
Eat on their own, drizzled in maple syrup or smeared with mascarpone.