Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It was sometime last week when my mood packed its bags and went south for a vacation. I can't seem to coax it back no matter how many pleading calls I make. She hasn't even sent a postcard.

During the last couple days, I've been flirting with panic. I stuff it down and keep it shackled behind my breastbone because I really am trying hard not to worry about anything; I've given that up a ton of times on my weekly/monthly/daily resolution lists. Also, I don't know what to do with worry when it's outside of myself. I don't even know what I'm worried about, exactly. I've been working on a new Project Team at work where I've had to pull my broker-ball-buster skills off the shelf. I throw these skills around half-heartedly because I'm rusty and because I just don't like to be so damn aggressive like that any more. Customers want A Miracle every hour on the hour. They want things before work and after work. It doesn't ever stop. Their demands gush through a spigot with no stop value. I used to love that kind of pressure. It's just draining and seems pointless now; near ridiculous.

It's at night when I feel the worst, just the last few nights. Panic dulls and hopelessness swirls in a freefalling spiral below me. Awake, I try to shake it off, but the room looms and contracts in eggplant-charcoal shadows. My mind slows and becomes heavy in my head, pressuring my eyes. All the lists and plans and strategies cease; I don't know what I'm doing. The desperation to make a career change seems to have reached a point of hysteria. I picture myself baking and baking myself into a frenzy until I've collapsed on the kitchen floor with matted hair and lipstick spread across my face, not a dime made, not a future in sight. What am I doing? I rarely cry. But I let tears relieve me a little today.

Not to simplify my feelings, but I realized last night the major source of this recent doom. It's the sugar. Sugar from frosting, sugar from cakes. I haven't been gorging as much as one would imagine, but it's been enough to throw me into this ditch. In my Escape-Through-Baking high, I suffered sugar amnesia; I forgot that I have never done well on sugar. It always --100% of the time -- leads to this exact feeling of mild depression. I'm so sadly desperate that I thought I could just overlook it. How much does that suck? Does this thwart the cupcakeria plans? I tell you when I claw my way out of this hole. I mean, it certainly changes my cupcake-eating plans.

I used to work with a girl we called Epiphany Tiffany. She was in her early 20's and fantastically wide-eyed. Her enthusiasm fell just short of infectious and stayed on the side of entertainment for us. Every month, she had a brilliant and drastically new Life Plan. The range of ideas was spectacular:

Bangs make her face look better/Growing her hair out is really what's best for her look. Quitting her job to waitress and go back to school is really the only way to follow her dreams/Cooperate American knows where it's at; the structure and security is important. She's moving in with friends to save money/Getting her own place is better to find independence. Skirts made her feel feminine and pretty/Pants really are the only way to go. Smoking is terrible and she's giving it up!/Ah, she's young and has time. She needs a pet, a cat would bring her happiness/A cat deserves more time and love. Forgiveness is key to happiness/No one is gonna shit on her anymore!

The best part about Epiphany Tiffany was that each life-changing announcement was so solid, so robust and bursting with intention. Each announcement was a shock to us because we really believed her during the last epiphany. "You go, Tiffany. Find your bliss, girl." We meant it too because good for her for right-angling her way all over life's map to find out what had meaning to her.

As I mount age 40, I've turned into Epiphany Tiffany. All my grand ideas to skyrocket me into Change and Realness and . . . blahblahblah. It's embarrassing to type it out. Let's recap:

* I'm gonna be a successful vegan baker when I've had no past experience or past passion for cooking. And sugar slips me deep into Funk, so deep my butt's asleep. What a rich idea! Oh and my 1970's apartment oven took a dump on me yesterday mid red velvet cupcakes, which is not helping the discouragement.

* I was going to have a successful bangle business. I gave that a go for a bit and the bangles were brilliant and lovely -- and it took 6 hours to make only one, and I was too embarrassed to ask for 6-hour/bangle high-end assessory money. My inner Tiffany told me to try something else, again.

* Hey everyone, I'm an athlete/runner/active type at 40. (I've actually been sticking to this one.)

* Hi, I went back to school to study holistic nutrition because, y'know, 50 billion things to do in a day is really not enough for my inner soul. (Ok, I've kinda stuck to this one too though it's slllooowww going. I'm not giving up on this yet, Tiffany! However, all the lofty plans revolving around My Nutrionist Career has to do with volunteering up the information. Ok, so volunteer work and selling $2 cupcakes really doesn't sound like a plan to make rent, does it?)

* My writing epiphanies limp along loyally. They ebb lowly and rise violently. But I can't seem to abandon them entirely. Writing was my first and true epiphany. Or was that basketball?

*'Member when I loved yoga a lot. That one time?

* And let's not rehash my countless religious epiphanies . . .

There's more, I'm sure, I'm just too tired to remember them all.

So, anyway, I'll be fine. The sugar levels are going down, and making fun of myself made me feel kinda better. My mood called and she'll be on the next flight home. And you know what that means . . . more epiphanies and realizations to come!

P.S. In the mail I just now received a batter dispenser that I had ordered last week. I suppose it's a good sign that I can't wait to try it. Maybe if I kick the oven a few times it will work better.


Smelly said...

Oh Madness.....I wish I could give you a hug. I'd gladly lick your beaters, too, chica.
Some silver lining....despite all that is overwhelming, you are stunningly clear in identifying the downers (work and the shug)!
Have you ever considered coaching young gals basketball?
Looking forward to your next epiphany....after your mood unpacks, puts her razor back in the shower and goes for a run.

kiki said...

maybe it's the phase of the moon, i've turned into an epiphany tiffany as well.

Anonymous said...

Hazards of being a creative person! I'm right there with ya toots! Thanks for the phone call yesterday. Your voice and knowing all the players by name made me feel greatful you're my friend! Now where are my vegan cupcakes biatch! Love ya MEL

Laume said...

Ah, I knew that somewhere deep beneath the superficial differences, we were somehow strikingly the same. I just turned 50 yesterday and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Sigh. But you and I, we won't give up trying to find ourselves. That's a life worth living in itself, isn't it?

And for the record, I've been drooling over your cupcake photos. If it causes damage to my laptop, I'm sending you the bill!

acumamakiki said...

You have to be Ephipany Tiffany in order to find what makes your heart sing (at least in the way of work). When I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I swear it took me a good year of agonizing and torturous thoughts tormenting my brain on an endless loop. I couldn't stand my career and I couldn't stand that the decision to do something else was so hard to reach. I tried to sell my self short any number of times (I'll go wax women's hoo-hoo's for a living! I'll be someone's personal assistant!) Thankfully, my man was the voice of reason and told me repeatedly to NOT sell myself short, I'd find my answer and eventually I did. Of course it was a bazillion dollars later (acupuncture school is expensive!) but I've never regretted my decision, I LOVE MY JOB (I'm shouting because it's a blessing to say that) and all that angst was worth it in the end.

I know you'll get there too Madness. Now I just need to learn how to get sugar out of my life for real, because it has a terrible effect on my body, my moods (jacked and depressed at the same time) and I need to cut that shit out, yo.

Sorry for the bible here, I'm done now.

Hel said...

A friend of mine's mother-in-law makes a chocolate and beet root cake without any sugar which is the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. How about making sugarless cup cakes tasting better than the sugary ones? I have eaten some so it must be possible.

madness rivera said...

Thank you for the encouraging comments. I do feel better, thanks, and I finished the red velvets without tasting. I'll post on that later.

Hi Hel, yes, yes, yes, I am definitely going to experiment with no sugar ccakes. I've made an agave cake that was really good, buttery tasting and yummy, and I'm gonna try the tofu mousse with grain-sweetened chocolate and see how that flies.

Mel, thanks for the great comment. My thoughts are with you.

Epiphany Tiffanies unite.

bettyboop said...

mid-life crisis!!!
we're all in the same boat-seriously, all my friends are in the same phase right now.
i think a lot of it boils down to "living in the here and now-in this moment." cherishing your girls and your man and your pugs and your pad.
or, in case that doesn't work, how 'bout pastry chef school? coaching girl's hoops is a great idea by "smelly."
money is the root of all evil-we'd all be perfectly happy if we didn't have to think about that shit.
big love cuzzo!!!

Anonymous said...

I felt heavy when I read this because I hate to think anyone else feels this bad. I feel this bad lately because of the same things. I take work home with me and have panic moments where I think that I don't know what I'm doing. This sprials to where I take an inventory of my life and accuse myself of being a flake in general, not just when it comes to work. The truth is that you and I and everyone who cares enough, so much that they let these things get to them, is a great person who cares more than the other people. We need to be kinder to ourselves and less worried about measuring up. Nobody else is going home at night in a panic. I can tell you that. Ease of the sugar that will help but nothing else is wrong with you except that you have a soul and that gets in the way sometimes. Keep working out but talk to yourself (your inner dialogue) like you would to one of your girls. You would never be as hard on them as you are being to yourself.

andrea said...

I do all my worrying in the earliest part of the morning-- around 4 am. that is, if I wake up around then and can't go back to sleep, this is when the worries curl up and get comfortable inside my head. I'm sure it's a bit sugar-related but I also think there's something about the state of my mind at 4 am-- newly awakened, though not all the way conscious.

Anonymous said...

I'm almost ridiculously excited on your behalf. You go with your bad self, chica!

And your cakes look DELICIOUS!