“I feel stupid, fat, old and ugly today.” My last text to my husband and a clue to me that I am stuffing or avoiding my feelings.
I almost burst into tears today. But I stopped myself. There was an apple pie that needed baking. When I was a little girl my grandmother often baked yummy treats. I remember muffins, cookies, cakes, and pizzas. All created with love and tenderness, I used to believe. However, I’m now wondering, as I smell the hints of fresh baked apple pie waft throughout my home, if maybe my grandmother was baking her ‘feelings out’ as I do. Sometimes when my own thoughts spiral out of control (CAUSE I’M NOT LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT!) causing me anxiety, I find baking soothing and healing. It is the one thing I do that I feel I can CONTROL. (I’m sure not everyone feels this way about baking.) The measuring, mixing, rolling, peeling, and cutting it takes to make an apple pie can all be done precisely. The crust first. Each cup of flour goes in but only after I carefully smooth the top of the measuring cup, so perfectly (as much as I dislike and disbelieve that perfection exists-with measuring it seems to in my mind). Shortening pressed into the measuring cup, scraped clean. A bit of salt. Five cold tablespoons of water. I’m using ice water to make it very cold. Mix, roll, shape, finesse the crust gently into the pie pan. Tenderly, patiently, I work the dough and successfully place it in the baking dish. (Somehow this tiny success revives my faith where it was faltering.) Then, the filling. Peel, quarter, core, slice thinly, each apple. My fears and anxieties, are replaced by the repetition of a rewarding activity. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix with apples. I smell the cinnamon and nutmeg as they gradually come together with the apples and relax. Truly this pie will be beautiful. As I pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan, I see the sweet concoction and look forward to the final finished piece. Next, my hands lovingly roll and shape the top crust. I pinch, press, seal, and artfully cut tiny leaves. It’s ready now to bake. Carefully I form the foil around the edges of the crust (which I will remove the last 10 minutes of baking). Into the hot oven I wait for the smell of success. Finally, I feel I can control something that neither hurts me or others, but brings flavor bursting to the palate. I suppose what I’m saying is that in life there are many circumstances that I cannot control, no matter how much I worry. Things will turn out as they will. I think if I put into my life what I put into that pie, it might be just as yummy. When I made the pie, I didn’t worry about how I was going to do it. Granted, I’ve made lots of mistakes with other pies, but they always turned out edible. However, with each pie, I learned more and they got yummier and yummier. In life, I will make mistakes, and I will learn, and next time it will be better. There’s no need to hate myself, just accept what is and live for now. BTW the pie was delicious!