This past week has been a strange one for me. So strange that I’m still trying to process it all as I sit here and write to you. That’s one of the great things about writing. It gives me a chance to make sense of the chaos that is my mind.
In some ways this past week was pretty terrific. I got some great news that I’ll be sharing with you in the not too distant future. I can tell you that the opportunity presented to me gives me the chance to do something that makes a difference. Something worthwhile to write about. And that makes me very happy.
And then on the other hand, I’ve been dealing with some personal stuff that while not catastrophic, has certainly tilted me off my axis a bit. But life is like that. Ups and downs which hopefully make this whole thing called life worth it in the end. I guess you can’t appreciate the ups without the downs.
When I start to feel down, I have a coping mechanism. I throw myself into my work. And as a food blogger, that can be a very good thing. Some of my best recipes have been developed when I’m sad or angry. A trait I see in my son Michael’s work. His best art is created when his emotions are at their wildest. Like mother, like son, I guess.
So, when I got to working on a recipe for A Beautiful Bite the other day, I figured that the end result would be pretty spectacular. Certainly my emotions were running wild.
And the recipe wasn’t even a complicated one. A simple muffin baked in neat self contained cups. Manageable and predictable. Batter into the oven, muffins out of the oven. A surefire success which I really needed as I hadn’t written on A Beautiful Bite in days.
As the muffins were baking, I tended to household chores. And as I folded the laundry, the scent of hot chocolate, sugar and coffee filled the air which was very soothing to my overworked mind.
But when I pulled the muffins out of the oven, I was shocked to see that the muffins weren’t the vision of beauty that I expected. Quite the contrary. The cups that I had baked them in did not contain the batter as they should. The muffins expanded every which way, not in the neat and contained way I expected them to.
The muffins were ugly and not suitable for A Beautiful Bite. There wasn’t anything beautiful about them. And I desperately needed them to be pretty because that poor blog was neglected for too many days.
So what did I do? I cried. Partly because I had wasted my time and ingredients and partly because I was mentally drained. It was too late in the day to make another recipe as the light was fading. Food photography only works when there’s abundant natural light.
As I laid in bed that night, I felt such a strong sense of defeat. Like complete failure level. Not just with my work on A Beautiful Bite, but with everything. And as I laid there with hot tears streaming down my cheeks, I started to question who I am and where I’m going.
But like every other night, sleep took over and the next morning the sun came up. At least that’s something in life that is fairly predictable.
And when I woke up, I knew I had two choices. I could either stew and be upset or I could do something useful. So I grabbed my apron and forced the negative thoughts onto a mental shelf in my mind.
I stirred, chopped and sauteed while listening to my favorite songs. Forcing myself to only see the task that was in front of me. Not the emotions and struggles that were at the forefront of my mind.
And here’s the results…
This just might be one of the best lobster dishes I’ve ever made. So, what’s the point of this very longwinded post?
Life is sometimes like making muffins. You do your best to make something right. Something good. You have control over some of it, but once you do your share of the work, other forces of nature take over. And sometimes you end up with a beautiful creation at the end of your efforts, but sometimes you end up with ugly muffins.
You can control only so much in this life. Things have a way of distorting and morphing even if you think you’ve put everything in nice self contained vessels.
And while it’s ok to cry it out when you are down, you need to forge ahead. Because in the end you will be rewarded for your efforts. It just might take awhile for you to see the fruits of your labor.
With that heart, I’d like to share one of my favorite songs with you. One that speaks to walking forward even when life sometimes feels like drudgery. It all comes around again if you are willing to play the game.