I had been putting off this blog post for quite a few weeks now, mainly because I had no inspirational, or witty, or profound things to say about this cake...or anything really. I know what you're (probably not) thinking: "how can she say that about someones cake that SHE made???" HA! It's nothing personal or rude or against anyone. It's merely me trying to figure out how and why this one cake has had me absolutely floored, confused, and at a loss for words. After a few hard weeks of really thinking, and praying, and wrestling with doubt and wrestling with God, I have come to a somewhat clear and terrifying conclusion: I am but a grain of sand in a vast and turbulent, but otherwise beautiful ocean.
There are a few things I have to say about this cake and why it has had such an odd effect on me. Some of the things I am about to share may sound absolutely absurd and crazy and harsh to some people, especially my clients. And some of the things will be [hopefully] inspiring. My thoughts might seem all over the place, but there's a point, I promise!
So...let me be real.
I had a really hard time with this cake. I had a hard time decorating it, and coloring it, and just really trying to bring myself to actually like it once it was finished. To me, it looked uneven and bulky in all the wrong places. The flowers were a mess and the colors were strange. I had to keep asking my hubbo if I thought my client would like it. In all honesty, I was trying to imitate a color pallet I saw of a bouquet of paper flowers. I wanted to tag the Instagramer who was behind said paper flowers and tell her how inspired I was by her color choices and maybe get a shoutout back from her. I never followed through with my "plan" because I wasn't happy with the outcome - as I am with all of the projects I complete. There's always room for improvement. Nothing will ever be perfect, and nothing ever should. But, for some reason, the fact that I couldn't really bring myself to enjoy the fruits of my labor had me really thrown. But, WHY?
I made this cake in early January. It's mid February now and up until a few days ago I was still confused by this cake. No matter how many times I looked at the pictures, I still couldn't figure out why. So I began to ask myself: "Why does this effect you so much? How does it make you feel? Why are you so unhappy with how it looks? What does it remind you of? WHO does it remind you of?" See, the thing about me is, I am my own worst critic. I'm sure everyone can agree that they are their own worst critic. But, I am very hard on myself. I am not very good at many things. When I think about leaving a job, my immediate response is to look at a different job where I do the same things I'm already doing in my current job; different place, same old shit (excuse my language). If I ever tried to look for a job outside of the pastry world, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I still rely on my fingers to count and I'm lazy to a fault. My second response to finding a new job is to find a job where I can sit all day and file papers, but I even question my ability to file papers correctly. What else am I good for other than making things with my hands? Nothing. And I found this to be really disturbing. Not that I'm only good for my hands or that my hands are only good for me, but that I have been single-handedly reducing myself to nothing.
The process behind this cake and all the flaws I see in it is a projection of me - of my self worth.
Why does this effect you so much? because it's me.
How does it make you feel? unworthy.
Why are you so unhappy with how it looks? because it's me.
What does it remind you of? me.
WHO does it remind you of? ME.
How I see my work is a projection of how I think other people see me (and my work). I am never 100% satisfied in myself or the things that I do, and I let that define my self-worth. I feel unworthy of the good that happens in my life.
I am but a grain of sand...
I get that the world does not revolve around me, but in my own head it does. I am a people pleaser; I am a delicate flower; I get hurt easily; and I care immensely about what other people think of me. I am not the only person who makes cakes. I am not the only person with feelings. I am but a grain of sand dying to become a pearl. And maybe that's where the problem really lies. Every day is a constant struggle to become someone...something. I want to be really good at what I do - I have found a passion, I have found a purpose to my purpose. But, what do I gain in the end? Why is it so worth it to become a pearl? I am still stuck in an ocean with a million other hidden pearls...
...in a vast and turbulent, but otherwise beautiful ocean.
I was once told that I must accept where I'm at in my life and in my jobs because i'll never really be happy. Just accept it - it doesn't matter in the end. Those words have never and will never sit with me well. In just a few long weeks, I have grown up. I have learned what it really means to know my worth in the things that I do, in the things I can create for people. I am worthy of feeling good about what I can do! And I realize that that's okay. Because we are all deserving of grace; I need to show myself grace. I look back on this cake and remember admiration comes from growth and appreciation. How can one grow if one does not love oneself? How can I continue to grow when I don't allow myself to grow, to move, to evolve, to do something? I don't think I can ever bring myself to feel completely satisfied in my work, but I know others are allowed to do so on my behalf, and I think that's okay.
There is no reward without risk. And while I never viewed or even thought of myself as a risk taker, a very good friend of mine has helped me to see that I am. Leaving a long-term relationship; dropping out of college to go to culinary school; getting married; leaving Arizona - my home - and moving to Seattle. Risks. And one more to come...
Know your worth, because you are worth it.
"Life is short, i'm gonna live it well..." and live it well I will do!
*Jenny B., I'm so sorry your cake took so long to feature in my blog. It is not a reflection of you or how I feel about making this for you. But, in many ways, it reminds me of the "encounter" I had with the very first cake I ever made for you and your now precious little baby boy. I was and still am very fond of those cakes because It was probably one of the most memorable and truest reactions I've ever seen towards something I've made for someone (thank KIM and FAM). And for that I am very grateful because there was a realization that those reactions are what makes doing this worth it, even though there are times I end up doubting if it really does make an impact. So, Happy very belated birthday to you!