Dessert, Morning or Afternoon Tea, Not So Easy, Sweet

A Messy, Hopeful Path / Ginger & Lemon Panna Cotta with Blueberries and Thyme

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
C.S. Lewis

This year’s been hugely challenging and revealing. I’ve had an unshakeable instinct that life’s been headed in the wrong direction and the quiet, steady voice deep inside’s been nudging me towards alternate routes I’ve been unwilling to walk.

The only outcome to battling myself in this way is heartache; and some days the pain of the struggle’s been immense. I’d love to be able to see things are headed into shaky emotional territory and sensibly guide myself back into grownup land. I’m just not. I fight and holler and stamp my feet until, eventually, I’m curled in a ball on the floor, begging for ease of mind and promising anything to the universe if it stops the pain.

After lots of searching, I’ve found that this path’s about authenticity; specifically to drop behaviours developed in childhood as a reaction to feeling unsafe and unprotected in the world. At a young age, I subconsciously took the hand of the small, scared child I was, placed her in the middle of my heart and started building walls around her to keep her safe from whatever was happening outside. Thick, heavy, impenetrable walls. And I’ve kept her there ever since.

Blueberries - TIK

I built a personality designed to keep her protected and ensure no one could ever hurt her again. I became tough, standoffish, controlling, funny, prickly. I chose a career that guaranteed no softness. I surrounded myself with emotionally distant people who also kept everyone at arm’s length, forming no real connections, making enough money that I didn’t have to rely on anyone, never allowing myself to fully love.

Now, having walked a gentler path these last ten years, having fallen utterly in love the day my son was born two years ago, and having continued to seek a path through this pain all year; the girl in the middle of my heart has found enough courage to poke her head above the ramparts and start asking for a place in the world. And it’s terrifying. I keep wondering who’s going to protect her if I can’t anymore (after all, she’s me and, no matter how multiple personality-esque this piece might sound, I don’t have a mind capable of being more than one person at once…) — she’s the writer, the introvert, the dreamer, the idealist, the one who loves without constantly looking for an exit. She’s also vulnerable, easily overwhelmed and very new to the world.

When I’m her, I’m clunky and awkward. I say clumsy things that replay in my head for hours. I talk to people I no longer want to keep at a distance and find myself ducking for cover mid-conversation. I’m writing, baking and photographing for a living even though I’m not making money and yet the thought of walking back into a big corporate leaves me feeling nauseous. I’m not the me of 3 years ago, but I’ve nothing to replace me with yet.

In short, life’s messy.

TIK - Thyme

But I’m back on the path that brings ease and comfort. It’s muddled and awkward with more challenges to come, but it’s also full of the kind of hope I’ve struggled to find for a while.

On walking this new journey, I’ve already found an unexpectedly loving community in my area. This week, after an impromptu breakfast with a local friend, she went home to find ‘just because’ flowers from a neighbour on her doorstop; and I got home to find a book for my son’s current sleep troubles from a lovely friend in my mother’s group, propped against my front door. The most amazing part is how commonplace these acts of kindness are around here.

I’m also challenging myself to seek people who intrigue me, to see if honest and whole connection is possible; I’m particularly excited that those I’m drawn to are funny, smart and irreverent, with a passion for life and a hefty side-helping of quirkiness. This, in particular, remains a fragile area, but intimacy doesn’t seem like the distant planet it once was.

And if I can keep opening my heart and stay on this tangled path that still makes no sense at all; it’s possible those big, tough walls will be dismantled for good. And who knows which paths I’ll be walking then.

A path I’m entirely happy to walk is the one that ends with this delicious Lemon Panna Cotta and Gingerbread with Blueberries and Thyme from Alisa over at The Family Meal. I’ve been in serious sleep deprivation land again with my toddler’s night-time antics and have been pretty sick for the last few days (which is why this post is so late) so food of any sort is not high on my agenda. Luckily, Alisa writes one of my favourite food blogs and I’m happy to share any of her recipes anywhere, the main photo is hers as well so any kudos go straight to her! I made this about a week after she posted it onto her site and it is truly delicious.



34 thoughts on “A Messy, Hopeful Path / Ginger & Lemon Panna Cotta with Blueberries and Thyme

  1. SL says:

    Such an honest post – thank you for your frankness. I’ve had a similar few years. Authenticity and vulnerability go hand in hand and that’s the hardest part. Sending love and kindness your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ginger snap..(chuckle..) This looks gorgeous, love your blueberry photo as well. I read somewhere once that being on a journey of self discovery (for want of a better phrase), is like being an onion, constantly peeling our outer layers off to get to the core of our true selves. Hope you all get to catch that sleep train soon. 🙂


    • Oh yes! I loved your ginger nut biscuits this week, they look so fab. I like that analogy, it’s just going to have to keep on peeling then…

      From your words to my son’s ears! I’m looking forward to less sleep deprivation for sure.


  3. Another beautiful post that reminds me a lot of my own journey. I hid myself in books and academia for a long time, so long that I now have three degrees. I can see now that it was also a way of protecting myself from having any relationships with real people. The recipe looks delicious and I am looking forward to reading your friend’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Emma, I have friends who talk about hiding from the world with academia as well. There seem to be so many ways to stay small while not necessarily recognising it as a small life (if that makes sense?). I hope you enjoy Alisa’s blog, I think she’s great!


  4. What an impact the birth of a child has on one’s life – I thought I had it all sorted when my firstborn arrived, and now, a decade later, child no. 2 made me start from scratch again … Embrace the changes!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aww sugah,
    Sorry to hear you weren’t feeling well. I’d wondered where you’d gone to. And sleep deprived? Poor baby (you).
    But hey, here you are, back with another winner 🙂
    And cheers Suzanne, to more “funny, smart and irreverent” people, who’ve got a “passion for life and a hefty side-helping of quirkiness.”


  6. So pleased to see someone writing about the importance to them of making meaningful connections.
    It’s such a fundamental part of my everyday existence and my perception of how these connections are faring can make or break my day when my confidence is low.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh absolutely. To know I’m not alone with anything that happens in my life and in my mind is one of my favourite, and most challenging, parts of being human. I’m pretty awed that I get to keep practising connecting (and getting it wrong as often as I get it right!) for as long as I’m willing to front up.


      • Re-reading your post reveals more knowing the outcome of where your instincts told you that you were headed.
        I’m poised to leave the corporate world and embark on a new journey into the unknown which will hopefully lead to somewhere where I’m a happier person and more ‘my true self’. Since everything else has changed I was hanging on to this one constant, but it was part of the problem, and eventually time was called on that too and my hand forced to embrace further change.
        I hope your changes of late lead you to better times and places.
        Maybe you should go chat to your barista some more!


  7. If you have a two year old toddler, then your life is about to explode! This is the period when her personality will seem to start developing faster from one day to the next. She will find new joys, there will be tons of questions and you will get to watch her eyes when she looks at something new and see the “Ah HA!” moments when she “gets” a new concept. In a short while she will be telling YOU stories that she makes up with her own imagination and you will become enthralled with the way her little mind works to explain the world around her. It is a magickal time that rivals and beats anything Hollywood can film or any author can conceive and your inner little girl will learn it is safe to come out and play with your precious girl and grow together. It heals you of almost all the hurts and pains in your own childhood. At least I certainly hope your “mommy” experience is as wonderful as mine was with my three boys, because that is exactly what it was like for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly what I’m finding about my little one. The experiences we’re able to share have grown exponentially in the last 6 months. I always knew having a child would be wonderful, but I had no idea just how many incredible joys I’d find (along with very little sleep!). Thanks for such a thoughtful and lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “This, in particular, remains a fragile area, but intimacy doesn’t seem like the distant planet it once was.” This statement is compelling and authentic. I love it. Exploring one’s vulnerabilities is hard work and heart’s work. Last night I went to a yoga class for the first time in well over a year… I was amazed at the internal dialog that went on for at least for the first half hour… me judging me… me avoiding me… me sighing at me… and then as I settled in I began to appreciate the journey again. Lovely post. I hope the sleep gods bless you and your son tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

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