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There’s No Crying in Cake Making

12334_10200825285336454_1064534147_nRecently I have been faced with several of my insecurities.  It has been overwhelming as I can recall a time when I was far more secure in myself.  Years ago, I was a take charge, take no prisoner, unable to waver under pressure person, or that’s what I let people think.  Deep down inside, I was a small little shaking chihuahua.  I was and still am incredibly scared and in fear of failing or not meeting external expectations.

Today, although working in a different capacity, I have some of the same fears, but they do not immobilize me like they have in the past.  I try to figure out the issues, but when I cannot, that is when I turn to a person who is more knowledgeable, and I ask for assistance.  I also know that I will inevitably end up making mistakes, and no one has ever told me that they expect me to be perfect.  That, the need to be perfect, is an expectation that I put on myself, it is NOT something that people who I care about in my life now, have put on me.  It’s something that I have put on myself.

With everything I do, whether it is as simple as making coffee in the morning to completing a large initiative at work, I wonder if I am good enough.  I know that this insecurity stems from my past.  But as I wrote a week ago, I am working to rewrite the old narratives that I have allowed to take over my life.

  • If the coffee is bitter, I will add more creamer.
  • If I make a mistake on an invoice, it will be brought to my attention, I will make a change and I will resend it.
  • If I incorrectly respond to an email, it will be brought to my attention and I will work to correct it.
  • Should I make a cake that is not what the customer was hoping for, I can always offer to make another cake, or offer a reduction in the price.

I have spent most of the last few days stressing over a cake order.  Yup, another mention of cake, much like Georgia, it is always on my mind… I want the cake to be perfect!  I broke the whole cake down into pieces and did a divide and conquer technique.  I even did a test cake a week ago to try out the techniques that were needed for the final cake to make sure I felt comfortable with what I needed to do.  But, as I was finishing up the cake last night I saw only flaws that I had made.  I was beginning to get physically sick thinking about delivering the cake and ruminating on how the customer would not like the cake.  I am surprised I slept last night with all the self-doubt that was swirling in my head.

Although remotely, my mother was beside me last night as I was finishing up the cake.  I was sending photos of my cake and she was sending me affirmations in the way that only my Mama knows that I need.  My kids were also with me in the kitchen and watching me work.  My partner told me numerous times that he thought the cake was gorgeous and what the customer had requested.  Although I was surrounded with all this positivity, I was still doubting.  This morning the cake was delivered, the customer said they were happy and the cake was beautiful, yet I STILL have it in my head that it was not good enough.

What the Hell Michelle?? I really want to believe what I am being told!  Focus on what the truth is.  This was the same advice that I gave to a friend today, focus on the truths.

So, the truths are:

  • The cake will be delicious
  • The frosting is delectable
  • The cake is the size that the customer asked for
  • The design of the cake is what the customer requested
  • The color of the cake is very close to what they asked for
  • The customer knew that I am not a professional cake decorator
  • I am a work in progress
  • My skill set is probably the best it has ever been
  • As I practice more, my skills are bound to improve
  • I need to love myself the way that I would love a friend or family member

 

Sometimes, we can get lost in our heads and we torture ourselves.  It is hard but, working to end the cycle will make each day ahead of this one better and easier to manage.  At times I wish I could open my head and dump out all the words up there, unscramble them and toss out the ones that I do not need, or the ones that are not benefiting my life.  I can’t do this obviously, but I can “toss out” the bullshit and replace it with positive truths.  For the rest of the day, as each negative thought comes in, I am going to quickly replace it with a “truth”.  I have a feeling this will make a big difference.

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My Love for Cake

IMG_1610 (002)I like cake.

I love cupcakes.

I thoroughly enjoy the process of making cakes and cupcakes, but not pies, for some reason, I am not good when it comes to making pies.  And you know now that I think about it, the same goes for cookies.  Not sure why but me and cookies just don’t jive.

Making the cake and measuring all the ingredients…  Cracking the eggs, pouring in the oil, melting the butter…  Watching my Kitchen aid whip all the ingredients together to make one large bowl of ooey, gooey mix makes me smile.

Loading up the oven with my pans batter and setting the time and waiting for the cake to be done, is not so much one of my favorite parts.  I get so impatient to get right to the decorating part that the time it takes for the cakes to cook and cool drives me batty.

Honestly, the cleaning part too, yeah that is not one of my favorites at all.  The batter can be slimy, the frosting sticky.  The sink gets filled up too fast and it forces me to start washing everything as the cake slowly bakes.  And I have always just purely hated doing the dishes.  Not sure what happened, maybe my fake kitchen fell on me as a child and that traumatized me or what?

When It’s finally time to decorate, that’s when I think the real magic happens.  The freshly whipped icing glides onto the cakes with ease and the transformation begins.  There is something about taking ingredients and then using them in a way that creates a fascinating piece of art work that just gets me so incredibly excited.

But, through this entire process of cake making there is this little voice in my head telling me that I am not good enough.  That my cakes won’t be delectable, and the decorating work will be subpar.  As much as I love to bake and decorate, it requires an immense amount of self-talk and going toe to toe with my insecurities and working through them.

The bigger the cake and the more complex the decorations the less sleep that I get.  I lay awake at night, working through how I am going to divide and conquer each step and have the cake completed by the deadline.  I get incredibly stressed over most of my cake orders and this has led me, in the past, to stop making cakes altogether.  I want the cakes to be just perfect, and boy is that difficult expectation to fill.  The reality is that I am not an expert cake maker.  I have taken two or three Wilton Cake decorating classes and have spent thousands of hours practicing on my own, but my skill set is not comparable to the pros or even other people that I know.

As much as I would prefer to deny it, I suffer from quite the many insecurities.  I know where the insecurities came from and I am working on processing what had been said in the past and writing new narratives to the story.  I also remind myself that I do not need to be perfect.  My flaws make me the fabulous person that I am.

If I can keep my brain from running amuck, I can do amazing work.  I can be slow, steady and patient.  Resulting in presenting the customer with work that meets their expectations.  The reality is that everyday I learn more and more and progress past old narratives which frees me.

Tonight, when I get home and begin working on a spectacular sweet 16 cake, I will speak affirmations to myself:

  • “You are talented”
  • “You are worthy of praise”
  • “You can do all things that you put your mind to”
  • “You are amazing”
  • “You are gifted”
  • “You make delicious and beautiful cakes”
  • “I am proud of myself and all that I have accomplished”
  • “It is ok if I am not perfect”

And, tonight, I will of course, eat cake 😊

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Let’s Bake a Cake!~

Last night was a cake making night.  My co-worker is celebrating the big 6-0 and I wanted to do something special for him, so, because it’s also something that I enjoy, I made him a cake.  It was a simple single tier but had icing drips (a new popular technique) that was painted gold.  The cake turned out okay, I would like to do another cake like it to see if I can perfect my technique, but for the first attempt, I am satisfied with the outcome.

29343072_10100741298370959_1963322485058114061_nThe process of making the cake was enjoyable, except the waiting for the cake to bake and cool, that took way too incredibly long.  I was so eager to decorate the cake that it seemed like it was taking forever for the other stages to complete.  I was vocal walking through the house saying, “I just want to decorate!”  I have been waiting for days to create this cake… falling asleep thinking about it and creating it in my mind (mind you I have been having trouble falling asleep as result).

IMG_1722Over the last weekend, it was also baking time as I had a cake order for a gender reveal cake.  Much to my surprise my son showed interest in making his own cake.  We stood beside one another and decorated our cakes and my heart was full of love and pride.  I felt that I was doing something right, that I was sharing a skill with my son and that I was passing on a tradition that my mom had passed to me.  I felt warm and glowy on the inside, like a chocolate molten lava cake.

IMG_1788This feeling returned when I was baking last night as my daughter had shared that she too wanted to make a cake, like her brother did the previous weekend.  Although not as interested in the whole cake making process, but more interested in the decorating part, I stood alone for most of the evening working on my cake, while doing the basic frosting techniques on her cake.  When her cake was all ready to be decorated I called her into the kitchen for her to decorate.

With my cake complete, I stood watching my daughter sink into her element.  Piping the frosting on the cake and then beginning to add additional decorations in the form of sprinkles and even painting, yes painting, flowers on the side of her cake.  I stood, and I felt that same warm, glowy feeling return.  The same feeling that I had felt when I watched my son decorate his cake.  I felt like I was doing “it”, the whole parenting thing, right.

As the kids get older, it is getting more and more challenging as they begin to branch out and become far more independent than I am ready for.  I treasure the amount of time that I get to spend with them.  And when we can all participate in one activity, I get super excited.  But excited doesn’t do an adequate job of capturing how I feel.  How do you explain what it’s like to be absolutely in love with a creation?  To literally be proud as hell with everything that they create?  To just be happy and content, from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes to be in their presence?

A family that makes cakes together, stays together… yeah, I just made that up, but it sums up how I feel.  I think that family’s that spend quality time together, have better, more lasting, stronger relationships.  I am beyond blessed to have the family that I have been given.  I was given a second chance at life and boy did I win big time!

Happy Friday! ~