I love pauses.
I didn’t always.
Okay, maybe I should explain.
I used to be afraid of the pauses between sentences, in conversations between two people.
Specifically, between boys I was just getting to know and kind of liked, and people I really wanted to like me.
I used to fill those natural spaces in conversation like one would grout a tub — filling every crack, making sure not a single inch of space remained.
Every pause those days was uncomfortable and filled with a too-aware-of-one’s-self awareness, and thoughts like:
Is there lipstick on my teeth or — gasp! — stuff stuck in my teeth?
Am I talking too much? Crap, I am talking too much … (of course I was)
Huh, they’re looking at me kind of weird … oh, eff! Is there a booger hanging out of my nose?!
Inevitably — over time — this fear of pauses contributed to the feeling of
1. never feeling “good enough“, and an
2. I-am-the-sun-and-the-whole-universe-revolves-around-me self-absorption
I’d like to say that it was an epiphany I had one day that made me make peace with pauses, but truth is, it came over time.
When I chose to stop caring about what strangers thought of me — and began making what I felt about myself more important — was when my relationship with pauses, the world, and most importantly, myself, started to change.
Pauses became places of peace, not just times in my life to get through. They became opportunities to listen; to get to know others for who they were, rather than how they related to me.
Pauses helped me stop and see — really see — what lay right beneath my nose.
They helped me look up and out, instead of being never-endingly trapped and wrapped up in myself.
Pauses became moments of wonderful anticipation … like the moment right before a kiss.
They became, well, beautiful.
Jim Carrey once said,
There’s no such thing as emptiness, just space!
And it’s true. Pauses are where sunshine lives, not just interims of time before you get to what you’ve been working and waiting so long for.
Or moments of realization, when you think you’re not “good enough”.
To that I say,
Pauses are not to be endured, but savored.
Just like these roasted carrots.
At first glance, they seem like just roasted carrots, but upon first bite, you realize they are like the very best of pauses.
Not just empty space waiting to be filled or feared, but perfect, just like you.
Roasted Carrots with Spiced Orange Brown Butter
Inspired by recipe from Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen
Serves 2 as side dish or 1 main meal
1 bag whole organic carrots, peeled (approximately 9-10 carrots)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice and zest from 1/2 an orange
5 fresh sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Put carrots on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat them evenly.
Spread the carrots in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until tender — making sure to turn then halfway through cooking time so they can brown evenly on all sides.
While carrots are cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter begins to brown.
Reduce heat to low and add the orange juice, orange zest, sage, nutmeg, ginger, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and salt, and cook until sauce starts resembling syrup — approximately 3 minutes or so.
Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
When carrots are done, divide among two serving plates — or just one! — and serve immediately with spiced brown butter drizzled on top.