Many years ago, I was reading a blog post by a blogger I’d been following for a while. She wrote about a recent struggle with depression and her honest words made such an impact on me. I remember thinking how brave it was for her to tell her story. While I hated that she was going through it, I also recall feeling comfort in her words because it was another reminder that even those we admire and put on a pedestal are human. I was just like… Wow, it must’ve taken so much for her to share that. At the time, I was early on in my blogging journey, and I told myself that I would always try to share my struggles, just like she did.
Last week, I gave a speech at the University of Guelph at their Awards of Excellence Gala (you can see some photos in my saved story on Instagram!). In my speech, I shared how I’ve struggled with my mental health, like anxiety, since I was very young and how it’s felt debilitating at certain points in my life. I spoke about how various personal challenges have coincided with a career that’s made me face them head on. The day before the event, I almost decided to scrap my speech and write something that was easier to talk about, but I said screw it and decided to share it. It was my story! Allowing myself to feel shame surrounding my story only gives it power.
After my speech, a man with a warm smile came up to me, crouched down next to my chair, and thanked me for my speech. He talked about a time in his life when he struggled with his mental health, and we both had tears in our eyes by the end of our conversation. Another man came up later to tell me about his young relative’s struggles. This night was yet another reminder of the power of vulnerability and it left such an impact on me!
It’s been a bit of a strange year for me (one that I can’t believe we’re already half-way through!). I went through an emotional time for the first few months of the year and found myself in a mild depression. I lost joy and passion for so many things. At certain points, I couldn’t even bring myself to get back to messages from friends and family. It makes me emotional just writing about it now because the difficult emotions of that time come back so easily. After suffering in silence for 2 to 3 months, I finally opened up to my friends and family about it and got help. I’ve been in a much better place since the spring. I wanted to be honest about it and to let you know what was going on at the time, but I didn’t feel strong enough to talk about it when I was in the thick of it.
There’s also been another reason for my absence and this is something that’s much easier to tell you about! I have a third cookbook in the works and I’ve been working on it for about a year and a half now! Okay, okay, I did let this news “slip” in the blog comments a couple times and also in my Instagram DM’s, too, so you may already know. 😉 I’ve held off announcing it here because during certain periods, well, I wasn’t even sure if it was going to come to life. When I fell into my depression at the beginning of the year, I lost passion for almost everything. Creativity and motivation aren’t things that can be forced so I just went with the flow and tried to trust that I’d feel myself again.
After working through some things and starting to feel better, it was as if a lightbulb flicked on in my head. I came to life. I was suddenly thrilled at the prospect of creating again. I could not get to work fast enough. And since late winter, I picked up where I left off before January and dove into the work that I love so much. Shortly after, Eric, Nicole, and I started working with our recipe testing group (about 40 incredible testers strong!), and things have been going better than I could’ve imagined. The recipes are so delicious…my testers are telling me it’s my best collection of recipes to date. I’m so proud of it and I’m nearly finished, only about 1 month away from handing in my manuscript. Once my manuscript is in, I’m going to be diving into the food photography, which I’ll be shooting for this 3rd book. I’m a bit nervous at the prospect of shooting 100 photos in 2 months time, but I’ll get there, one day at a time! It will be fun to shift from recipe creation and writing to something so artistic like photography.
The cookbook is going to focus on something you all have been asking for more and more of over the years, and that’s more dinner and lunch recipes! It’s mostly going to focus on savory recipes, with a dessert chapter, of course (how could I not include a dessert chapter?). It’s going to feature food you’ll want to make for weeknight dinners, weekend meals, portable work/school lunches, and special holidays and occasions. Gah. There are so many gems. It’s slated to be out fall 2020, so not too long to wait (at least in the publishing world, this feels SO soon)!! If there’s anything you’d love to see in the book, please leave a comment below and let me know!!
Thanks for listening and for your support through the ups and downs of life. I’m so grateful you’re here as I’ve felt like a big ‘ol failure on the blogging front this year. It’s time to shake the guilt and move onward and upward. And if you’re reading this and struggling too, I’m sending you all the love in the world and hope you can find a support system!
This is my first ever vegan ice cream recipe on the blog (can you believe it?!), and oh dear me, it’s one we can’t stop eating. I’ve been in a bit of a vegan ice cream bender since I bought this Cuisinart ice cream machine in the spring. It’s so much easier to use than I thought! Almost too easy.
Happy Canada Day long weekend to my Canadian Friends! And an early happy 4th of July to my American friends! Have a safe, happy, and delicious weekend, everyone.