Monday, September 14, 2009

Cake Reality...Just So You Know

It wasn't a three-layer like I wanted, and the fondant was weird: dry, and yet sticky.

Oh, and also, in an attempt to be "all cakes for all people," I had made a tier of vanilla, a tier of chocolate, and a tier of chocolate-vanilla swirl.

I hadn't even thought of how hard it would be to keep chocolate-brown crumbs out of snow white frosting and fondant.

There was 30 minutes of time when I seriously debated scrapping it all to the garbage can and going to Costco for a cake.

I didn't, but I wanted to...

Anyway, the bottom layer of cake was all wonky (it had cracked a bit when I pulled it out of the pan), and it couldn't hold the weight of the top two tiers. It was slowly leaning more and more to the left as gravity played its hand.

There was a moment when I looked at that crazy, imperfect, sinking ship of a cake, and said to The Mister, "None of my ideas ever work out the way I want them to."

He set his eyes on me with a look I couldn't read.

I wasn't sure if he was going to laugh, or send me to my room.

Calmly he said, "That is the most ridiculous thing that has ever come out of your mouth."

I sat with my arms crossed and my mind in the pit.

He sat with me.

Our eyes both intently focused on that lopsided, fondant covered, heavily weighted, "failure" of a cake.

He said, "You know the top two layers aren't bad, don't scrap the whole thing, see what you can do with those."

And he left.

Of course, in my head I had all sorts of excuses as to why it would be impossible.

It would never work.

What does he know about cakes?

What do I know about cakes?

Why did you think you were able to do any of this?

Then the real punch in the gut. The Girl walked through the kitchen and said,

"Mom, it doesn't have to be perfect."


Yes it does. She's right, it really doesn't.

So I made my one-less-than-than-three-tier cake, thanks to the encouragement of The Mister, and words from a nine year old that brought me back to reality.

The lesson learned in the making was bigger than I anticipated.

And yet, it was still the same old lesson: The outward appearance is often not what it seems. 

Why am I telling you this?

Because its important.

When eighteen people on the blog, and many others who saw the cake in-real-life, comment on how amazing it is, and how "crafty" you are, and compare you to the likes of Martha Stewart (even in jest), I want you to know the truth.

I struggle.

This weekend it was about cake, but often its more than cake. Its about life. From body image to child rearing, and all things in between, I struggle.

I want you to believe that my life looks as rosy as this cake... I want you to think I have all my ducks in a row. That I am "good" in all I do!

But reality doesn't often look the way I think it should look, or the way I want it to look, and sometimes I don't handle it well. Even when the outside looks all-right, the inside might be all wonky.  It might be sinking under the weight of a fruitless chase for "perfection."

I often need Truth tellers in my life.

I know you need that too.

I brought that wonky third-layer to the shower, and put it in the fridge, in case we needed more cake to serve.

No one ever saw it, but I knew it was there. A sweet reminder that I might be able to hide my imperfect ways, but if I throw them out, I'll never learn to overcome the things that hinder me...


PS: I read this post last week, which came to my mind while writing this post.

PPS: To The Mister...Thank you for being a Truth teller. You have sat with me at many "tables" in our life, and helped me sort through things much bigger than cake. Things much more difficult, and much more important....and yet, you offer truth all the same. I appreciate you. xoxox


Parmesh Rudra Joshi said...

One Of The Greatest Blog I randomly Bumped Into.

Melissa Angert {All Things Chic} said...

terrific post - perfect reminder for all of us who struggle with perfectionism!

Becca said...

Beautiful cake, beautiful post!

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Beautiful, Kellie. And so very, very true.

I'm thankful for those that speak truth into your life (and mine!), but even more grateful that your heart was open to receive it.

And now I must go find a funny post to read (CPQ) so that I can stop crying...

Anonymous said...

The cake looks beautiful. I love the story behind it.. and it always feels good to know that we are all human.. even the people that appear to have it all put together :-)

Tiffani said...

oh girl, you and I were in the exact.same.boat. this weekend!!!

I love how you summed it up and you are my Fondanspiration!! ;) ;)

I wish you could've seen how many times I almosted scrapped my very first attempt at fondant/cake making...and I, too, needed my hubby to remind me that this is a token of love for the grandparents we were making it for, not to be on an episode of Ace of Cakes...(but I want it to be PERFECT, Adam!!)

I love the lesson you shared here because I lived it this weekend...thank you for being REAL and honest and truthful...makes me love you even more!!

Gretchen said...

You know...i can't compare my quilt making to your cake making, but the feelings are the same. Especially when putting the final touches on it and preparing to gift it. All those lies of inadequacy rise to the top of my thinking. You may already know this, but I think it bears repeating. Amish women (some of the best quilters on the planet) always put an imperfection purposely into their beautiful quilts. Why? Because only God is perfect.

Love you, Kellie. Love your truth tellers. Love that you shared your lessons with us.

I think you are fabulous at all things domestic. However, if you were perfect, you'd be so untouchable that I'd feel too lowly to be around you (literally or bloggywise). I love to hear of your triumphs AND struggles, so that I can share mine, too--thus building each other up.

BTW, the cake is ding-dang beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Kellie. I struggle so much with the Monster of Perfection. I wish I knew how many times I have opted out of things simply because I knew I couldn't do it perfectly.

Thank you so much for being transparent with us today. And for reminding me that perfection is not my friend.

You make me want to be a better Truth Teller and I want to start by being truthful with myself.

Elizabeth said...

Just when I think I've learned this lesson, I realize how much I still need to hear it every day. Sometimes what we see as our failures are actually the things that teach us the most. Even though I think your cake is beautiful, I understand how you feel about it perfectly. There are so many things like that in my life.

Amber said...

One of the greatest struggles of my life. And thank you so much for wording your battle so beautifully.

The cake is gorgeous, but knowing the story behind it makes it even more amazing.

Blue Skies said...

Kellie, You deserve all the praise you were given. Anyone who has undertaken projects of any magnitude know that there are almost always moments when you wonder why you started the project in the first place. Times when it doesn't work the way you want it to. But, the difference is, you made the attempt and it was beautiful in the end, despite all the unseen mishaps along the way. I still tip off my hat to you. You are an amazing and talented woman, an excellent writer, and a beautiful instrument in God's hands. Thank you for continuing to be transparent and sharing how God is at work through your talents!

Tracey said...

The cake is beautiful. Your wanting to make it for the shower is even more beautiful.

When I feel the perfectionism monster start to rear it's ugly head, I have to remind myself..

'If I'm perfect, I wouldn't need Jesus.'

And I kinda like needing Jesus..He takes the heavy load off.

Gretchen said...

Kellie, thank you.
Your transparency and willingness to "step out" and share your heart touched a nerve. So perfectly written.

Anonymous said...

Oh, girl, why can't you live next door to me? This is exactly why I want to be more like you! You strive to be perfect, but you're willing -- even if only once in a while -- to admit your not, to encourage those who realign your perspective, to give God all the glory for what He does in and through you. I pray you are encouraged in your humility. I don't mean you'll be reminded of your weaknesses, but rather that you'll be reminded of God's goodness. His strength and mercy are always sufficient. HUGS!!

The Buntens said...

Great post, Kellie!

Oh, I struggle with wanting to have it all together. This week especially - thanks for this!

That cake is beautiful and you are crafty and all those wonderful things. And real and that's why I love reading your blog!

Carpool Queen said...

How did I miss this post!?!?!? So glad I found it linked in one of Whimzie's.

"Good enough" is so hard to say to ourselves, isn't it?

Loved this, and love you more.

Unknown said...

What an absolutely amazing post! i love everything about it - thanks so much for sharing!

Jackie said...

More often than not, I feel absolutely, completely inadequate in almost every area of my life. Parenting, weight, friendships. Heck, even blog design - I second guess myself constantly and have to talk myself out of shutting down my little business, all because of the lies that "you aren't good enough, who are you kidding!" that are shouted in my head.

And even though I'm not glad that you deal with some of these same things, it IS encouraging to know that others can face something like this - and rise above it. To choose to listen to the truth instead of the lie. To have someone in your life that will tell you like it is.

Thank you Kellie. And for the record - that cake really is amazing. :)