by Jenny Lee Stern

Jenny Lee Stern is a Broadway Actress. Ex-Wife. Cool Mom. Copycat Yogi. God Chick. And she writes about it.

If there are 3 things I have grown certain of in my 39 years on this Earth it is this:

  1. Wheel of Fortune contestants will never not SCREAM out the letters, especially the vowels.
  2. I will NEVER have tampons in my purse (Or car. Or house.) on the day I start my period.

So I pose this: If we indeed are all flawed, would you rather see one's flaws on the surface? Be able to see them and quickly deal with how to accept them? Or…would you rather NOT see the flaws of others (or yourself) and just hope they never surface?

There are two different schools of thought I suppose. Sometimes we take the easy way out and just pretend. If we can't see flaws & weaknesses maybe they aren't really there. Comforting, huh? Not really.

Here's why I bring this up: I'm a river. I'm a rocky, rapid river. And when it comes to relationships, I tend to be mostly attracted to…lakes. Ponds, even. Sometimes the occasional puddle. Oof.

Let me further explain: I am appealing and exciting in a non-traditional, non symmetrical way. I move with purpose. I am quick. I can be off-putting and even scary at times. It is difficult to cross me. My rocks are exposed. My potential danger is obvious. But, so is my fun. My adventure.

There is a sexy risk involved and if you're with me you know that when you get to the edge of that waterfall I am with you, and I will keep moving after we overcome it. I am fiercely loyal while holding on to my beautiful unpredictability.

Okay. My lakes out there: you are gorgeous. Inviting. Haunting. Serene. Calm. Slow moving, if not still. You are peaceful and appear safe & stable. However, what lies beneath? Rainbow trout and shimmering crystals? Dangerous weeds? Mermaids and buried treasure? Lead poisoning? Gross decomposing fish and slime? It's hard to tell. Adventures can surely be had on lakes. Jet skis. Champagne lunches. Paddle board yoga. But when anger, sadness, fear, and frustration build up beneath your glimmering surface I fear an eruption I'm not prepared for.

I recently ended a rather lengthy relationship with a Lake. He's nice. Attractive. Decent. Has a job (always a plus). We shared similar interests but after 2 years of on again off again I realized- I was just…floating. In the middle of this giant lake…literally. In a rickety rowboat. No oars. No other boats around.

When I'm freaking out…he goes to sleep – hands behind his head, lays back, completely content. completely at peace.

“Enjoy it babe.” I can't enjoy it! We….I….have no way to shore! We're just bobbing here. In the…nothingness. In the nowhere. And it's getting dark. The water of this lake looks gross and cold and dirty and full of weeds and weird fish and God knows what else. Ugh. What am I supposed to do? I guess I'll just hang here. I mean, why can't I just relax too? Look at him. It looks so easy. Why am I so high strung and dramatic?? NO! I am not being dramatic. I deserve more than this! I'm cold. I'm getting scared. And, I'm HUNGRY. Hungry for…more. And you better get outta my way when I'm hungry. I'm jumping. I'm jumping and swimming. I'm swimming for the shore and what awaits me when I get there. Even if it's bears.

JUMP. SWIM. Yes, the water indeed may be gross and cold and dirty and full of weird weeds and fish. So…SHOWER. Clean yourself off. Put on some bronzer and go row your boat for what you believe in! For who you believe in! For love! For partnership! For laughter and true connection. We are all flawed. Some more obviously than others. Can we live with and learn to accept and grow with another's shortcomings? Absolutely. Are we forced to stay with a partner simply because they aren't beating us or screaming and are gainfully employed? No.

You're a lake? Be a lake! You're a river? Be a river! You're some dated 80's above ground pool? I mean…live your life. I am once again releasing control. I am once again diving in with blind faith. And I am once again using way too may water metaphors. But that's where I am right now and that's valid. I predict a reward for my bravery. It will be waiting for me at the water's edge. And I predict smooth sailing from here on out. And if not, well you know I'm not afraid of rocks and waterfalls.


I make a version of this for nearly every party or gathering I host or attend. It's so ridiculously easy and welcomes almost any variation. Its the easiest thing ever as you just dump in a crock pot.

  • 1-2 large Chicken Breasts
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (I like the brick as opposed to the tub)
  • 1 c Grape tomatoes
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1 12oz jar salsa verde
  • Salt pepper to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish

Throw the chicken, cream cheese, corn, tomatoes and S & P into your slow cooker. Top with salsa verde. Set to LOW. You have 6-8 hours to contemplate your life choices, purge your closet, or Netflix binge. When you return: stir. Wait for the Magic. The chicken will literally shred itself with barely any effort on your part. You can dip your fave chips as an app or serve over rice for a full meal.

Variations: Instead of chicken, try beans, zucchini, squash or ground beef/turkey.

Instead of salsa verde, use your fave. There are some really fun ones on the market now. I've used a habanero-pineapple and it's amazing!

Get creative. You do you. Enjoy!

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