Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oatmeal Sludging or Competitive Title Alternative to 'Chicken Noodle Soup For the Soul'.

Oatmeal. I love oatmeal. Now, the way my mother makes oatmeal, I've learned, is quite unique. Slow cooked oats in salted water, then, stir in cream, raisins,brown sugar (cups and cups of brown sugar) and finally, what makes it amazing, a stick of butter. At least one stick. A whole tub, if you're the soft-churned type. Maybe more sugar. Butter and sugar. It practically ran through my veins when I was little. Butter and sugary sweetness. The world was a giant bowl of delicious oatmeal. Once in awhile, I might bite into a raisin--it might be sour, but instantly replaced, even complimented, by buttery, sugary, creamy perfection.

I'm going to now transition into an awkward analogy. Oatmeal. I am swimming in a giant bowl of oatmeal. And not my mother's. Nope. This is unsalted, pasty, watery oatmeal. The kind that sticks to your fingers, dries in crusty patches, and is far from enticing enough to lick off. Hardly napkin worthy oatmeal. Just wash it off, down the sink. It's lame oatmeal. Maybe undercooked, too. No butter, cream, brown sugar, insert favorite oatmeal topping here. This. This is the oatmeal I'm navigating my days through.

I know there are people that can relate out there; oatmeal sludging. That feeling of heaviness, of every movement and intention being weighted by something that glues itself to every exposed piece of you. Many more of you are probably saying "what the hell does oatmeal sludging mean? She feels like she's covered in oatmeal..?" No. I shower. There is no oatmeal on me. What I think I mean ("she... doesn't know? ") is that the older I get, the thicker, stickier, and heavier life, in general, becomes. I think that's common. I really don't know--I only say that to feel a little more sane myself. Maybe not everyone interprets that as Oatmeal Sludging ("oh, she capitalized it. She's serious now") but for me, I needed to identify it. Label it, stamp it, categorize it, define it loosely. "It" being a feeling. See, recently how I interpret things, feel things, process things, has been changing at a chaotic, incomprehensible rate. And I was actually going berserk. Most things I thought I understood I became unsure of. Things I wanted previously, no longer applied. What a hectic mind frenzy, what madness! All sense of self--evaporated before I could even scoop a drop up as proof of my own, grounded, existence. What is going on?! (cough--it's called 'your twenties'--cough). Peanut-gallery-in-my-head aside, what is going on, is the realization of, and experience in, Oatmeal Sludging. Living daily life in that highly viscus, goop that sets in with responsibility and age.

I'm not so okay with that idea. What to do with such an analogy? This, this is where my blogs are handy on a personal level. Because, I can bring it all back around, like a good little writer that is pretending her words are making sense. Bring it to the beginning, tie it all in. Package it all up, stick a bow on top, and left click-it it into to space. Ready?:

I, I love my mother's oatmeal. I love the uniqueness of it. It's like crack for the soul--screw that "Chicken Noodle for the Soul" no, this is Crack-Like Oatmeal for the Soul. ("Wait, how does she know what crack is like--" NO! No. I do NOT, it's another analogy. Go with it. But don't, I mean, just get a bowl of delicious oatmeal, okay?) Ultimately, what makes it so special is not the sugar, or the raisins, or even the amazing butter. It's the love she put into making a delicious bowl of the best oatmeal she knew how to make. She had no 'secret recipe', she simply put in what she thought I'd love. Of course! What if that's the 'secret remedy' to Oatmeal Sludging? Discovering and remembering to add my own ingredients? An appreciation of 'being' and an openness to changing realities--that's the raisins, balance. Butter: acceptance of what is, and what is myself. And sugar, all that sugar! Love! Naturally. SO many cups of love. My mother's oatmeal, flowing through my veins in a rather different way.

Now, Oatmeal Sludging is still there. I think that's life. Life's naturally a bit sticky to get through. But, knowing that maybe all it takes to make that goop a bit tastier, a little sweeter, even wonderful to move through, is remembering a few of those ingredients--well, that's more manageable than the previous chaotic blunder I was swimming through. Don't get me wrong here, life cannot simply be fixed with oatmeal analogies, or brown sugar used as a metaphor for love, with all its complexity. I'm in no way saying that. But I do believe there is something in carrying around little "happiness reminders", silly life analogies, or memories, to just kind of infuse the day with. In this case, I've apparently been really missing oatmeal. But look what I've learned from letting myself explore that!

Oh what a thing, life is so much more than a bowl of cherries. Life's a bowl of the most perfect, unique, oatmeal. I really should inform Quaker Oats. I feel like a new company motto could really help my blog out. I also find the man on the logo oddly handsome. He's got stature. He gets my analogy. He adds butter to his oats, I'm sure....


  1. i'm in love in analeigh!I don't know you,you don't know me,but your real YOU-your soul,your spirit,your behavior-I love it!May be we will never meet in life,but i feel that you are my soulmate!i love you(i love oatmeal too :) )

  2. New reader here. Your writing and thoughts-on-paper style really cause one to reflect and try to grasp what you're trying to get across, which is all a writer can really ask for, right? I wish you posted more, most blogs come across as overly overt to the point where they're not sharing a true feeling, thought, or emotion, but a manufactured piece of oneself that is far from the original inspiration.

    But yes, oatmeal. Once you feel like you're free of that mind-occupying hinderance of yesterday, another one will soon follow. Whether it be in your mailbox, Facebook wall, or those late night (and sleep preventing) thinking sessions in bed, they will always find you. Unfortunately, it seems the older you get, the more haste they have. Regardless, I've found that a good bottle of wine and an even better friend will shake off the stickiest of oatmeal, if only for a single, star filled evening.

  3. Bai_Hui watched Crazy Stupid Love... hahahaha

    but yea. new reader as well. you are surprisingly a LOT smarter and deeper of a person than I thought. I Don't know. I guess I just expected your writing to be less... smart sounding. lol.

    As for this particular post, I can truly relate. There are somethings that just make you feel better no matter what you are going through. Great blog. Great post. and you are a great actress as well.. I think you have a bright future ahead of you.