Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cake It Till You Make It


Another shipment from TeeTurtle graced our front doorstep for the back-to-school shopping this year. I had to splurge on this one for myself. I’ve caked it. A lot.

I’m an introvert who gave myself rashes as a kid from anxiety over people's expectations. Now, having caked it for years, I walk around in public places seeking eye contact and smiles from strangers. I can stand in front of 10s or 100s and speak clearly. Even amusingly, upon occasion. I’ve caked myself there.

Every actor makes a living caking it. If we immerse ourselves in a role, we can harmonize with it and project it.

I took up singing as a junior in high school. I was terrified. I’d never sang in public. By senior year, I was in a song and dance group. I caked it into a group competition. If I were in high school today, it would be a completely different song set (can we say BTS covers like X.East?), but I would do it again in a heartbeat. That was an amazingly fun cake.

Will I ever become completely comfortable doing some of these things? Probably not. There are times when I absolutely cannot get my mind into the steps required in putting on a good cake. I need to retreat to peace, quiet and solitude. While being in the public eye is exhilarating, for me it is also absolutely exhausting and even painful at times.

Why do it, if it’s uncomfortable? With the pains, you learn things and meet people who help you grow. You see change and can feel pride in achieving something new.

Alas, the “make it” part can be temporary and elusive. But it can become more and more natural over time. While I can don the label of “confident writer” more comfortably now than I ever have, it is not a given in my mind. There are days and even weeks where I doubt everything I’m doing. I sometimes make a bad cake. It all crumbles and I’m left with a pile of bits, wondering what was I thinking and how could I hope to ever do anything that’s successful or worthwhile at all. I must go back to the kitchen to try again.

Despite that, caking it leads to sweet rewards. Caking it leads to things we can hardly imagine. We may not be able to reach a 5-tier confection with edible glitter and fresh fruit filling, but we can reach something truly delicious. Because it will be of our efforts. Because it will be of our hopes and dreams.

Because it will be us.

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