08 July 2014

A serve of stubbornness with a side of veggies

I have a stubborn streak. A real stubborn streak. In fact my stubborn streak can get so bad I can refuse to do the simple things, like brush my teeth everyday or brush my hair, just because I’ve been told self-grooming (which goes out the window during a depressive stage) is important for my recovery. Phffft to self-grooming. Phffft to recovery. 

I know, childish, right?

My stubborn streak’s always been around, it’s just I didn’t realise how bad it was until I was chatting with my psychologist a few weeks ago. For example, I’ve never been one to go for anything mainstream: popular fiction, phffft; popular band, absolutely no way; popular television show, get real. In fact, if I do find myself loving something popular, like Game of Thrones, I’m shocked when I can understand all the references made about it. I’m so used to being one of those people that says, ‘what’s that?’, ‘who’s that?’, ‘never heard of them’. Stubborn? Slightly.

Then there’s the stubbornness I have when I’m given advice on getting ‘over’ my depression. I simply try to shut people down or tell them I’m already aware of whatever it is they’re telling me. Totally stubborn.

Or when a conversation turns to health and I take everything as a personal affront and so, first, get mad, and then ignore the conversation that’s taking place around me. Ignorance is, after all, bliss, right?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not that much of a stubborn git to not abide by the law. Good girl, Fiona. I also follow the social conventions of friendship (I’ve watched too much Big Bang Theory with that statement. HA, which is popular…but had become too popular so I stopped watching it. Damn it!), which is partly why I have such wonderful friends around me (the other part is because I’m secretly slipping them illicit drugs to keep them thinking I’m a joy to be around).

However, finding more and more examples of being stubborn doesn’t shed any light on WHY I’m stubborn. So this week my psychologist and I did a little more digging into the life and times of Fiona Tristram. We spoke a bit more about stubbornness itself, and then touched on being compassionate to oneself, the feeling of empowerment and what happens when you lack control over your own life. She then steered me to two TED talks by BrenĂ© Brown, one on vulnerability the other on shame. (Btw both are fabulous talks.)

Mixing what I’ve learnt all together this is what I’ve come away with: Stubbornness can come from fear, which is simply a cover for shame – shame of failure, shame of rejection, shame of vulnerability. What I really need is to accept my vulnerabilities because it’s in these vulnerabilities that I’ll find honesty within and about myself.

Simply put, it’s about being kinder to myself and accepting who I am, imperfections and all.

Of course we’ve all heard this before. I need to love me for me…blah blah blah. But who really LISTENS to it? Who really BELIEVES they are okay EXACTLY AS THEY ARE? Not bigger, smaller, smarter, funnier, wiser, faster, prettier, more masculine, stronger, fitter, BETTER. Who?

Ladies and Gentlemen, we ALL have vulnerabilities. One of mine is my weight, but every time someone talks about their health around me doesn’t mean they’re trying to send me a coded message to lose weight. It’s not all about me, after all.

Maybe to release me of my stubbornness, which only holds me back, I need to understand my vulnerabilities more. I need to understand what scares the bejesus out of me and then, compassionately, I need to accept that fear. I have a feeling that by accepting it, it will no longer have such a strong hold on me.

In order to start being compassionate to my body I’ve made this easy vegetable soup recipe. It’s good for my health, good for my taste buds and good for my soul. I hope you enjoy it.

Are you stubborn? Do you think you know why? 

Vegetable soup with crumbled feta

Vegetable soup with crumbled feta
By The Self-Raising Kitchen

Serves 6

50g butter
2 leeks, finely sliced
1 carrot, diced
300g cauliflower, roughly chopped
600g sweet potato, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
6 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
750ml chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

In a saucepan melt the butter on a medium heat. Then add leeks, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks turn translucent.

Add cauliflower, sweet potato and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer until vegetables are really soft. Take saucepan off the stove. With a stick blender puree the soup until a smooth consistency. Season to taste.

Serve in bowls topped with some crumbled feta and a small dash of extra virgin olive oil.


  1. I'm not sure if I am stubborn or not. I know when I tell my kids to do something I rarely give in... But I see that more as consistent parenting than stubbornness. I also don't necessarily like to go with the 'popular' things... But then I also feel if I like it then to hell with what everyone else thinks!!

    1. It sounds more like you just know who you are, Bree. That's something I'm still working on.