50 – don’t believe everything you think, the banality of everyday evil, and banana bread.

Look, I love being 50.  OK, 53. And a half. As much as I’ve learned through five decades plus, there is one thing I have always struggled with, and apparently always will.

dontbelieveeverythingyouthinkI’ve heard them called negative tapes, negative thoughts, many, many ways to think about these things that haunt us.  Not so much regrets, as just the low-level echoes of the voice we created for ourselves early. The one that speaks up when we’re self-conscious, or shy, or scared, or worried…or despairing.  The easiest way I’ve found to express it is the quote in the graphic.

“Don’t believe everything you think.”

Hard to do–we keep being told “you must love yourself, or you can’t love anyone else.”  And that voice that is such a part of our lives does not love us. For the religious, it’s the voice of the devil: “You’re too stupid to pass this test on your own, you might as well cheat.” For those who think in terms of electronics, it’s an infinite loop: “No one wants you, no one’s ever going to want you–you know you’re going to fail, and when you do, no one’s ever going to want you.”  For the self-help gurus, it’s the subconscious, to be fought with affirmations: “I am strong, I am invincible, I am…woman.” Or something like that.

Then, there’s the middle road through all of that.  Just don’t believe the voice. Easy to say, hard to do–in my more relaxed moments, that inner voice is Ethel, the keeper of all that is depressing. Britni’s relentlessly cheerful attitude is almost bearable when the alternative is Ethel, the schoolmarm, the one that assesses everything, and always finds a flaw. By the way – I’m not schizophrenic.  Probably.  And it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

Voices to the side, If we let the banality of the everyday evil that haunts our self-assessments win, we spiral out and down, we burn out, and we feel we deserve to do so. We don’t.  No one deserves that.

If it will make you feel better, here’s a recipe for banana bread.  I got it from my best friend about thirty years ago. Friends, too, can help you assess those voices… and best friends can tell you that you’re full of crapola. It’s oddly helpful.

Banana Bread

Note:  Apparently, I just bring bananas home to die.  So, I throw overripe bananas in the freezer, where they will turn very dark. You don’t have to wrap them or anything, just leave them until you need them.  I pull them out to thaw when I pull the butter out to soften.  They will peel very easily.  The bananas’ flavor intensifies as they freeze.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
Grease a loaf pan with a bit of butter, margarine or shortening.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (one stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup (or three bananas) mashed
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts (Pecans are best, but you can use almonds, walnuts, or any other nut, just make sure to chop them–they absorb some of the moisture in the bread, and eating a big wet walnut is urky.)

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, add eggs, beat, then all dry ingredients except nuts and beat until smooth.  Add bananas and nuts, fold them into the overall mixture.

Pour into a greased loaf pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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