A friend asked me to go to lunch today and I just couldn’t. I mean, there’s probably time, right? There’s probably enough space in today and tomorrow to carve out an hour or two and spend it catching up with an adult, rather than hamster-wheeling through all the tasks for Saturday’s party.
But I know I’d be conscious of my watch and that sitting unmoving time that could be being spent so very much more productively. So I said “no, I can’t do it” which was the wise thing to do, and the kind thing to do because who wants to have lunch with someone who’s only half there.
My brain is full of cakes and the potentiality of fondant at the moment. I’ve made one chocolate sponge, but I feel a little “hmm” about it and I don’t know if I should start again. But I’m sure it tastes “fine”. Just probably not really chocolatey enough and probably kind of dry. Maybe icing can make up for that, but that means a wet icing and will that be too slippery for the Map of the World I have to create for the top?
And on and on. This isn’t important, right? This isn’t the stuff I’m going to want to have spent hours of my life on, is it? Well, kinda, yeah. I’m enjoying myself. I’m creating something. There’s a little boy who’s going to feel thought of and cherished because his parent made him a cake that’s special and individual and not like something anyone else has.
And of course I get to share my work on the soshal meeja afterwards donchaknow. G. calls it “performative baking” and I think “ouch”. And I think “Am I just doing this for external reasons?”. I mean, yeah – even doing it for Twin 1 (whose cake I’m currently working on) is an external reason. But also I actually like doing it. I just wish I had more time. It’s hitting a chunk of creativity buttons for me right now.
But I suppose the “ouch” and the “self questioning” were more about “Am I doing this for the praise of strangers?”. Well. Sure, praise of strangers would be nice, but I’d probably get just as much stranger-praise for a simpler cake, and I’d probably get nearly as much stranger-praise for a complicated cake shop-bought, so I feel pretty confident it’s about more than that. It feels a bit like sculpture or painting and at the moment it’s about the work itself, and when it’s completed then it will be about putting that work out into the world.
I’ve been thinking (a little) bit more about the question I was asking myself yesterday, about my values and priorities. I asked myself if recognition was something important to me, and if maybe recognition for hard work was the more accurate truth of it. And I realised that I actually get something of a thrill when I get recognition without the hard work. Like, something for free. I like feeling smart.
But the downside of all that is that it aggravates any imposter syndrome symptoms because I feel on pretty shaky ground about actually being smart. And there’s another thing I value. I value being smart. I value my ability to think and philosophise and problem-solve and pattern match. And I sometimes like to assume I’m the smartest in the room (though that feeling doesn’t last all that long, because I don’t really believe it, because – unworthy, imposter syndrome, etc. etc.). But I get splashes of that feeling and I really like it.
But do I value it? I mean, I liked the feeling of sinking into inebriation over the course of the first couple of glasses of wine. I can’t say I valued that though. That always made me feel a little wrong, a little less, a bit further from myself.
I love those flashing glimpses that feel like universal truths where you’re working something out and it feels like God or someone lowered the blinds for just a millisecond and you saw it and if only you could hold onto everything you glimpsed in that briefest cross-section of time and truth.
I like that feeling a lot, but I don’t really know how to put a priority on it.
I do feel like it’s a bit the opposite to getting drunk though. I do feel like it has stuff in it to feel proud of seeking, that it’s opening awareness rather than slinking away into shameful life-avoidance.
But it might also just be a bunch of ego-stroking.