rustic bread

the things you know about me have amounted to quite a long list through the years. you know that i love to cook (tada, surprise! haha), that i’m a worrier, that i don’t like electric toothbrushes, that i’m trying hard to be positive in life (and often fail), that even when the going gets tough (or especially then) i try to count my blessings. what you might not know is that i’m also consider it important to be a good fellow human being… it’s always been my personal high moral goal. i don’t need to be a christian to follow that rule; other people call it karma. i just call it ‘being a decent fellow human being’ (okay, let’s call it karma, it’s easier).
through the years, i’ve learnt that there are two sorts of relationships; the ones that are effortlessly easy, mutual, inspiring and uplifting. i have a couple of this sort – and it’s a real blessing. i’m eternally grateful for these peoples’ presence in my life, for their impact, for the joy and the laughter and for the shared sadness. and then there are relationships that are sometimes tenacious, like old chewinggum… they are just not easy-breezy, for whatever reason. you don’t know why and you wish it could be different, because you don’t want to hurt anyone – but also, you don’t want to be hurt yourself, either. and chances are relationships like that will end up with somebody hurt.
so, due to my personal motto, i’m (at least trying to) constantly making an effort for interpersonal connections of any kind. and quite naturally, as it often happens with effort, i sometimes fail, miserably. and then i’m often left disappointed. by myself – but to be honest it has happened that i’m also disappointed by others. i know that’s kind of normal, because there are always issues where people come together. all people have flaws, so we’ve got to be generous with each other in order to make it work. but some of the unspoken emotions, unmet expectations, unaddressed misunderstandings and imminent disappointments… they’re hard to overcome with simply a positive attitude. people change, so, naturally, relationships change, too. they evolve and maybe sometimes they will turn out to be something you don’t need anymore.
in the past, i’ve tried and tried to manage this viscious circle of never-ending effort and disappointments (both induced and about myself) – because it’s just life. because we need people, and people need us. so we cannot isolate ourselves (even if at times it might soudn tempting…). but more often than not unhealthy relationships end up causing me such a lot of self-doubt… and honestly, i don’t think that’s really the point, nor is it particularly healthy…
so i told myself this past few weeks that i will just stop. if there’s one thing in my life i don’t have the time or energy to worry about at the moment, it’s random interpersonal relationships that cause pressure and leave me insecure and feeling shit. worry is something i do more often than really necessary, anyway (we’ve already agreed on that) – but i think it’s just time i stopped to worry about what people might or might not think about me. it’s not my problem if someone doesn’t like me. and it’s not on me to make everything work. relationships is a two-ways institution. it’s got to reciprocal. and if it’s not, it’s not good for you. when worrying about human relations takes up a too big amount of our energy – well the solution is simple: just let go! it’s liberating, freeing and healthy. it’s like a restart, a clean slate. because you can make room for good people, for like-minded spirits, for new stories and new adventures. we all should have less pressure when it comes to fulfilling our own and other peoples’ standards – to instead get more quality time and more peace with ourselves and eventually also the ones that surround us that we love and cherish. relationships that aren’t working well are worth letting go. yes, it sounds cruel. but it’s actually just being honest with yourself and with others. i don’t mean mess with your karma and tell everyone to get lost! no. i mean simply speak your mind, and only do what’s good for you.
at the moment i’m really just too exhausted to care about everyone and their dog… i kinda have a lot to manage myself right now. i’m officially giving myself the permission to let go of relationships ‘with a worm in them’ (as we say in german). so to not care, not be the perfect friend, not be the perfect fellow human being. maybe karma will fuck me later in reward – but for now i don’t even care. i want to take better care of myself, and that involves picking the people i surround myself with more carefully, again and again. maybe like that, i can help ban parts of the sources for self-doubt to nowhereland. so for now, karma will just have to wait… i’ve got some caring about my own inner peace to do. some will be part of the journey. others won’t. like me or leave me.
so, on to some good-karma bread, yay! it’s home-made, so no bad vibes included. guaranteed.
rustic bread

1 kg flour plus more for dusting
30 g active yeast
250 ml warm water
1 pinch sugar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. salt
1 cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
preheat the oven to 200 degrees c (280 degrees f). put the flour in a large bowl. combine a bit of the warm water with the yeast and stir to combine. add a pinch of sugar. make a well in the flour and pour the yeast-liquid into it. cover with a bit of the flower and let sit like that for 15 minutes. add more water, the olive oil and the salt and start to work it into a soft, humid dough. knead it thoroughly. cover with a fresh towel and let rise at a warm place for an hour. fold it together, add the olives and tomatoes and split the dough in half. flour the surface and your hands thoroughly. take one half of the dough and shape it into a long, thick rope, turning it and twisting it. pat some more flour onto it. put on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. proceed with the other part of the dough and shape it into a bread. let sit for another 15 to 20 minutes. then bake for about 40 minutes, until the bread is golden from the outside and when you knock at it the sound resembles a muffled ‘thud’ or bump (you know what i mean, right? when it gives a ‘thudding’ sound, it’s fine).
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