I have a reoccurring thought whenever I start a new project. It's typically a disconcerting thought and usually doesn't do much in terms of keeping me positive and looking forward toward the future. But, the thought is this: "What if they don't like it...?"
I know I know...I know what you're thinking. But, before you roll your eyes and face-palm me through your computer screen, let me explain myself and give you a gist of how my introverted, over-analyzing brain works.
A few weeks ago, I cut my own hair...with my own two hands. It was the most nerve-wracking task I have ever done to myself because the fate of my [at the time] boob-length hair was in the hands of my own, untrained hands. It wasn't a spur the moment decision, if that's what you're wondering, but interestingly, I found myself watching hours of DIY haircut FAIL videos before I decided to take a pair of kitchen shears (because my hair is so thick it would have broke a normal pair of hair scissors) to my hair. Eventually, after a few long minutes of stalling and trying to convince my hubbo to talk me out of it, I chopped off three inches of my hair and stood there with a shocked, kinda stupid look on my face. I couldn't believe I was holding a wad of my hair in my hands that was no longer connected to my head. But at the same time, I also felt somewhat silly for not trusting myself to carry out a task I knew I would be able to do. Afterall, I know what my hands are capable of, right? Why else would I have even decided to do it myself if I thought I couldn't do it myself?
But, look. I am so guarded with my feelings and emotions that I usually find myself thinking of the worst case scenarios for everything that may impact me in some way. I don't necessarily think I do this on purpose, it's just naturally where my mind wanders to when I actually have to do something for someone or something or maybe even for myself. To be completely honest, I find it kind of cathartic in the end. Talk about a twisted sense of gratification, right?
Much like facing the daunting task of cutting my own hair, every cake project I am presented with starts with one thing in common: doubt.
I feel like I am constantly thinking of the worst case scenario when it comes to the orders I recieve. I'm not making these cakes for myself, nor do I expect everyone to be in-love with them all the time, but I am providing a service to paying customers. So, naturally, I want to give them exactly what they want. I find that it doesn't really matter how confident I am in my skills, I will always have a lingering, but also very blatant thought of doubt in the forefront of my mind. I am constantly playing a perpetual loop of "fail" video's in my head, or at least what could be a fail. I am a true people pleaser and to let someone down is the worst feeling I could ever possibly feel (among many other things). To let someone down, is to let myself down a hundred fold.
So, I ask myself, what comes after I complete a task - order - whatever? That same feeling of silliness I felt when I chopped off my hair. It's like I'm holding a thick lock of hair in my hands and wondering what the big deal was. My head feels lighter, my shower times will be cut in half, and most significant of all is that I feel more like myself with short hair than with long hair. As the great theologian Oswald Chambers writes, "Doubt is not always a sign that man is wrong; it may be a sign that he is thinking." And it may just come down to this very thing; I. AM. ALWAYS. THINKING. I am always trying to make sure I do the right thing or take the right steps. That's just who I've always been.
I am actually kinda floored by how much I learn about myself while making cakes. Many of my blog posts are proof of that. It seems rather, dare I say, silly, to parallel my existential crisis' with decorating cakes, but I feel like the challenge of having to do something and do it well - do it MY way - opens up a deep part of me that has never really had the chance to blossom and move and...breathe.
Maybe being pessimistic is a coping and defense mechanism just in case I actually do "fail", the blow would be less painful. I realize I sell myself short too much of the time instead of building myself up and taking those metaphorical kitchen shears to the three inches of doubt that weighs so heavily on my shoulders. Perhaps from now on it'll be about pep-talking myself into being more confident in myself...or not. Maybe this whole "worst-case-scenario" bit really works in my favor. Or maybe I'll just continue finding myself on YouTube to watch all the haircut fails and be grateful that my hands will never fail me.
[And as usual] "All this to say..." the pictures you see below are the thoughts that inspire this blog post. MANY of my cakes embody some sort of deep, existential thought or motive behind what I do, and to me that is so important. I want to look back on my work and review pictures and understand where my heart was at at the time I made these cakes, and I'm curious to know how I'll have changed months or even years from now. Maybe these examples will serve as a "my~ how the turn tables" best-case-scenario situation, and help me to understand that doubt will never have a foothold on what is meant to be good.
So...I bid you...