Just an Obliger in a sea full of Upholders looking for some accountability.

It’s been a while. I’m always at a quandary… do I just jump right back in like it hasn’t been several years since I posted anything? Or can I just chalk it all up to Pandemic life, Career changes, falling in love, getting engaged, getting a second dog, planning a wedding and overall just adjusting to the current state of he world?

Everything has changed for just about everyone I know, which of course is good and bad and everything in between. I’m acutely aware that being stuck in a bit of ennui is not unique to me (Languishing is the buzzword of the moment) and I also realize that writing about this sense of feeling stuck is quite privileged. I haven’t been directly impacted by Covid deaths, gun violence, job insecurity or any other countless shit show things that seem to be happening these days. I’m beyond lucky, and I’m still having a hard time, and that is mental health for you.

I spent a large chunk of 2019 and 2020 meditating, focusing on really getting to the root of what makes me tick, reading and diving into self discovery, which I’m pretty sure is also just called your mid-thirties.

And here is what I have figured out.

  • I’m an Obliger.
  • I identify as an enneagram 4
  • My love languages are Quality Time and Acts of Service
  • I’m an extroverted introvert.

And I really wish there was a handbook/ manual that quickly outlined all of these things that I could just hand to people and say “this is how my brain works.” I have yet to find one.

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin totally made me feel understood for the first time. Hi my name is Tayler and I’m an Obliger.   (also this is #NotAnAd  )   I won’t go into too much detail because there is a literal book on it, but basically I function with accountability, especially in the work place, and take on more and more and more because people know they can rely on me to get things done. (which could/ will eventually However, I cannot seem to do that for myself, I need the external accountability. So when it comes to working out, fitness goals, getting organized, or a myriad of other things I “want” to do, it is really really hard for me to self motivated to accomplish those things because I need the external accountability and it needs to be that I’m letting someone else down, because its quite easy to let myself down. (and that feels pretty shitty… like I’m more okay with letting myself down than I am letting other people down? But yes. And then it perpetuates the feeling down about how you just can’t seem to get things done, and the other people in your life don’t understand why, and everyone just tells you to just do all the things, and even when you try to explain or advocate for yourself about what might be helpful, your therapist just tells you that you probably have ADHD. )

And overall this is the conundrum I am in right now, because I feel like everyone is finally getting to the point where they are becoming clear on their own boundaries. (I mean yay everyone, and hallelujah!) but also as hard as it is to say no, to be firm in our boundaries, it is also really really really hard for some people to ask for help. So while I am celebrating everyone who is finally stepping up and stepping into their own boundaries, its also really challenging to muster up the courage to say “can you help me with this?” and then to be met with a boundary of no. And on the flip side, as an Obliger, I tend to be the person who gets asked for help a lot, because I am the person who says yes a lot, so whether it is a volunteer project, something at work, something with friends or family, people feel quite comfortable asking me for help, and quite uncomfortable when I say no. But on the flip side, when I ask for help, I’m often met with blank stares, lack of response or zero follow through, which quite frankly sucks.

I’m not meaning to be on a pity party tangent over here. I do love that people have boundaries and know their own limits. I appreciate that people are busy, and have families and jobs and pets, and projects and all the things. But it is also really hard when often times it feels like everyone else in my life is an Upholder (can do things for other people and also follow through with their own motivation, no problem, all the time, no matter what.) Because when you ask Upholders for help, they legit don’t understand why you need help and why you can’t just do it. Just clean the god damn kitchen, just take out the trash, just look up a training schedule and go running every day. Their brains can’t comprehend needing the accountability, and so they are pretty terrible at giving it to other people.

And then there is the Rebel, which is why my fiancé is… and essentially he needs the opposite of accountability… so when I ask if he can help remind me to drink water, or take my vitamins, or do one of the countless other things that would make me feel like less of a garbage human and more successful, he also is not the best person to ask for help. He is a gem of a human, but if I were to remind him to drink more water he would not drink it just because someone asked him to. (he really isn’t that bad, but that is the instinct, to do the opposite of what is asked in certain situations.)

I asked my therapist for homework, and she told me I needed to keep a journal or a fitness planner. I tried explaining to her that I needed more accountability, and that is when she said she didn’t understand why I couldn’t just reach my goals and maybe I needed to be tested for ADHD or get a life coach. And I mean, sure, maybe I do, but also, it felt really frustrating to have the person you are already paying to check in with and talk to, just dismiss and say “see you next time.” Ok, but maybe if next time you asked me how I was doing with my goals instead of “what do you want to talk about today…”   (and yes, this is clearly a conversation I need to and will have with said therapist) But again, its really hard to ask for help, and then have the people you ask not follow through. Because then it’s just one more thing… I’m already disappointed in myself that I can’t seem to do the things… and then when I ask the people in my life for accountability, and they don’t follow through I’m just disappointed in them too. I’m letting myself down, they are letting me down… It’s a lot of pressure.

I know this is all coming up right now because I’m trying to get in shape for the wedding. Which feels cliché and shallow, but also is exactly where I’m at. I want my arms to look good in wedding photos! I don’t want people to ask me if I’m pregnant or just gained weight (I mean, lets be clear, no one should ask that anyway, and yet THEY DO. People are the worst. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.) I want to be motivated to exercise, and to keep the house clean! And I want the people in my life to understand that I’m trying, and honestly that I just need them to show up. I need people to ask me to go for walks instead of meeting for a drink (though lets go for drinks afterwards, cause that is fun too!) I need people to text me in the middle of the day and remind me to drink water, I need people to send me healthy and easy recipes, I need people to give me their workout shoes so I feel terrible if I miss a workout and make the other person miss their workout. (ok I know, totally extreme, but also exactly where I’m at.) I need people to invite me to yoga classes, I need to share my workouts with someone and have them ask me about them, I NEED THE BUDDY SYSTEM.   (I’m not yelling, per se, just like you know, emphasis.)

So how do you ask for help, respect boundaries and the realities of the world without feeling disappointed? And where are all my other Obligers at who would like an accountability group? Asking for a friend.

In the meantime, I’m trying… I’ve never stopped trying… I’ve got fitness apps, and water trackers, I set up a home gym in the garage, I will probably buy salad mix every week until the day I die, even if I don’t use it. I’m looking into Life coaches, and accountability apps, and maybe that is the answer. I’ll let you know. But I’m also asking for help. If you have a second could you check in with me about my goals? Could you send me a random message about drinking more water? Can we go for a walk, or go to yoga, or try and online workout together?

Saucy Lady: a social media inspired look into my meal prep

I’m not sure how to start this post. I was going to try and make this connection about being more un-plugged, and then loop it back to the merits of social media, and I’m not entirely sure how it is all going to work. One thing I can say for certain is that, even though I am trying to cut back on my screen time (she says while writing a blog she hopes you will read adding to more screen time for everyone involved), I have found a real value in social media. I’ve met people through instagram that I am now friends with in real life. I use it as a tool to connect with friends all over the country and the world. Not only do I use social media to find inspiration for yoga sequencing, barre moves, recipes and craft projects,  but it is a greay way stay connected with events happening in my own communty and to get a glimpse into the every day lives of people.

I want to give a shout-out to an instagram friend and real life acquaintance Hannah. Though I admittedly don’t know her well, a few weeks ago she posted a photo on social media about a sauce she had made and was eating on toast, and it was a sauce I was totally unfamiliar with. Zhoug. Have you ever heard of this? Maybe I’m late to the party… I am as a self- proclaimed saucy lady. (I mean this in every sense of the word, but anecdotally speaking I do make a lot of sauces.) My meal prep every week typically involves a large batch of hummus for snacking and lunches and at least one jar of sauce that I can use in a myriad of ways throughout the week. Some weeks it’s peanut sauce to be paired with salad rolls, or used to dress a Thai inspired slaw or a quinoa bowl with broccoli and cabbage. Lately I’ve been in a chimichuri phase, and the past several weeks I’ve been whipping up a large batch of the herby, tangy condiment and I put it on everything. It’s a great alternative to a salad dressing, is amazing on scrambled eggs, stirred into hummus, goes great with meat or roasted vegetables, and overall it is kind of the wonder sauce. I’m always curious as to what other people are cooking and eating so when Hannah posted a photo of this vibrant green sauce and a link to the recipe at Cookie + Kate I was really intrigued. Cilantro, cardamom and jalapenos? How do these things even work together? I decided to set aside my chimichuri for the week and give this Zhoug a try.

And it did not disappoint. First of all, its fun to say. Go ahead, let it roll off the tongue a bit. It almost has a “I am Groot” feel. Zhoug. Secondly, I found this to be just as versatile as the chimichuri, and have enjoyed the zhoug as a dressing alternative, smeared on some pita bread, with eggs, and thus far my favorite combo has been with cauliflower rice and lamb meatballs. Yum-o.

IMG_0409

Cauliflower rice, lamb meatballs, Zhoug, a smattering of pomegranate seeds

I’m not a super spicy fan (I like spicy, just not super spicy) so I only used two jalapenos instead of four, and I did not include the vein or the seeds. I did add in the red chili flakes though. The sauce was a tad bitter right out of the food processor, but after an hour all the flavors melded together in a really great harmony. (Even better the next day) I’m really excited to add this to my sauce repertoire, and glad to have a new food-blog to explore.

Do you have any go-to sauces or weekly meal prep staples? I’d love to hear what they are.

The return of salad season: white beans and tuna over greens.

Radish and herbs

Hello salad season, so glad you are back with us. My garden is literally exploding with lettuce and kale at the moment, so I’m trying my best to find creative ways to incorporate more greens into every meal. I love salads in pretty much every shape, and form, but this time of year when its still a little cool in the evenings, I find myself craving dishes that are a little more hardy. Something warm and robust, while still being healthy and simple. Insert, the perfect dish: white beans and tuna over greens. It’s ridiculously simple, you probably have all the ingredients already hiding in your pantry, it takes roughly 10 minutes to prep and assemble, and it’s super healthy.

I’ve been challenging myself to eat healthier, and I’m also attempting to be a bit more economical by packing my lunch every day. I joined #the100dayproject with the intention of creating and packing beautiful and healthy lunches every day for 100 days. They aren’t always beautiful, and sometimes creativity succumbs to the likes of PB&J, but for the most part, I’m having a good time with it, and have made some really delicious packed lunches. One thing that I love about this white bean and tuna dish, is that if I make it as a “dinner for one” I always have left-overs to take for lunch during the week, and this is pretty much the perfect meal to power you through a work day. It has protein and fiber to keep you full, nutrient rich greens, and a little air of “it’s more than just a salad, it’s a meal.”

white beans and tuna over greens

white beans and tuna over greens

What you need:

  • A variety of herbs (preferably fresh, but dried will do just fine.)
  • 1 can of Tuna
  • 1 can of Cannellini Beans
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Greens*
  • Fresh radishes for garnish *(optional)
herb garden

herb garden

I usually just head out to my herb garden and harvest a small handful of whatever looks and sounds good. In this particular dish I used Rosemary, Sage, Winter Savory, Thyme, and Chives. If you don’t have an herb garden, a medley of herbs from the store or the farmers market will do, or just dig around your spice cabinet. Though, I will say, that if you have any space at all to plant herbs, even if it is just in a few pots on the windowsill or back porch, they are the plants that get the most traffic in my garden. I love using them for garnishes, to flavor water, to season dishes, and when I’m in a pinch for a hostess gift, I usually will bring a bundle of fresh herbs wrapped in bakers twine. It’s useful, charming, and simple to put together. You will look like a domestic goddess, people will be impressed by the gesture, and all will be right with your dinner party world.

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bundled and ready to take as a hostess gift

bundled and ready to take as a hostess gift

herbs

herbs

Another great thing to add to the mix a little later in the season is edible flowers. Chives are the only edible blossoms I’ve got up right now, but I’m looking forward to utilizing more edible blooms this summer. Thus far, I have Nasturtiums, Borage, Bee Balm, and Calendula planted around my tomatoes, and I’m excited to be adding them to everything from salads to cocktails.

fresh radish

fresh radish

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Instructions:

  • Drain the white beans and the tuna and set aside. (  Note here… I’m a single girl on a budget, so I just pulled a can of tuna out of the pantry. If you wanted to class things up a bit, I would recommend using the tuna from Jacobsen Salt Co. ) Chop the herbs or add a blend of dried herbs to a bowl. Mix the beans and tuna with the herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and red pepper flakes.   Heat the tuna mixture in a pan over the stove until warm (about 5 minutes on medium)
  • Meanwhile place greens on a plate. Thinly slice a few radishes and set aside.
  • Once the tuna mixture is warm, dish it over the prepared greens, top with radishes, and drizzle with some good olive oil. Serve warm.

drizzle

Best enjoyed alfresco style with a glass of crisp white wine, or maybe some iced tea.

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*Since the tuna will be warm, kale, spinach and other robust greens are a wonderful base for this dish. I ended up using kale and red leafed lettuce.

*I have a plethora of radishes in my garden, and I loved the texture and color that they added to this dish. You might also add or substitute avocado, cucumbers, a poached egg? The possibilities are endless.