I am so dang proud of myself.
I just made, from scratch, a chocolate cake (with the good cocoa!) with salted caramel frosting. I found the recipe on pinterest.
To some people, whipping up a beautiful and tasty dessert from scratch is no big deal. To me, this is huge.
You see, I like to cook and I like to bake. But I usually like to take shortcuts. Why make a lasagna when you can buy a perfectly good one from a box in the frozen section? Why go to the trouble to make brownies from scratch when the box mix costs $3 and only requires 3 ingredients? Why do something really, really well when you can do it quickly and it still comes out more or less ok?
The trouble is, for the past year I feel like I've been living my life just skidding by on the surface. Making sure I was the poised professional who never steps a foot wrong at work. The girlfriend who can cook him a three course meal, even if all three courses did come out of the frozen section. The person who felt so unsettled in this city and this life that I traveled almost every other weekend just to get away from it all.
The problem is, none of that was fulfilling. Not rocking the boat with certain people is good in some cases, if that person is, say, your boss. But holding back my true feelings when a "friend" continues, day after day, to drain my energy by being consistently negative REALLY wears me down and I don't want to just keep on smiling and listening [which is what I thought a good friend is supposed to do] when what I really should say is STOP BEING SO NEGATIVE YOU'RE DRIVING ME CRAZY! Is that really so bad?
I love to travel. It's my absolute favorite pastime, it's my passion, it's my love. But doing it every other weekend to escape the reality that I don't like living in this city is not only expensive, it doesn't get to the root cause of the problem. The truth is, I have to do some really intense soul searching to figure out not what job I want or what city I want to live in, but who I am. That seems a little trite but not being in tune with that was the root of my dissatisfaction, and is something that I'm still working on.
I felt like I had to be everything to everyone. The stellar employee who dresses, talks, and acts like everyone else to fit in and get ahead, even though I got so sick of people telling me how much I'll enjoy working there for 30 years when it's been hard enough doing it for a year and a half. The friend who patiently listens wayyyyyy longer than necessary to toxic negativity, because I thought that's what good friends do. Smile, nod, repeat. The woman who tries to find a balance between being a well-educated city girl with my fast-lane friends, and a down to earth, non judgmental, trying to make sure no one thinks I'm looking down on them just because I moved away kind of person with the people back home. (Not you, S. I know I don't have to be anything but myself around you.)
Getting back to the cake. It may have taken an hour to make. It may have cost a lot more money for ingredients than a Betty Crocker mix. But the process of making it was therapeutic. It felt like I was doing something the way it was supposed to be done. I was so proud of myself when it actually came together. And ... better yet, it's the absolute BEST cake I have ever tasted.
Licking the frosting,
P.S. Thank you to the readers who've stuck with me even after all this time. I <3 you.