Tag Archives: Fear

Fear Challenge 1/5: Souffle

In the post that is called ‘The Things I’ve Never Done: Part 2,’ I set five goals for myself.
Well, I completed one.

I made a vanilla souffle.

…And it did not go well.

Do me a favor: Visit Google, type in ‘Vanilla Souffle,’ and click on the image search function. Then, look at the pictures.
Do you get how the souffle is supposed to look, all puffy and bursting out of the ramekin?

This is mine:

photo 2

It ACTUALLY did the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what it was supposed to do!
And NO, I didn’t slam anything or bump anything!

I was PISSED.
…Then, I found it kind of funny. And I ate them.
I actually have never eaten a souffle before this and, if I’m honest, it was quite disappointing. Sure, it did not rise, but that wouldn’t have mattered. It tasted like…baked eggs with sugar. If you want that kind of taste, why not make a smooth, yummy custard instead of this?

So, all of this time, I’d been scared to make a souffle.

Did it hurt my ego a bit that it didn’t rise?
Sure.

There are those people who are good at almost everything…you know who I mean? The people who are kind of scary because everything that they do just turns out great and wonderful, or they take to a game or a sport or whatever, and they’re perfect at it.

Oh, this woman who I know is a doctor, but on the side, she knits opera gloves for orphans! Oh, you need to have her show them to you, but that’s nothing compared to what she did for her daughter: She sewed her wedding dress! Didn’t even use a pattern; it was her first time, too. …Yes, her first time sewing! Oh, and you know those amazing cookies in the break room? Guess who baked them!

Well, I am not one of those people.
I default to ‘inept,’ and that really bugs me sometimes. Yes, this involves practice time, as well. It’s downright tiring.
It makes me feel like I’m always outside looking in, which is how I’ve felt my entire life; like a puzzle piece that doesn’t fit anywhere.

Don’t get me wrong: I like being the odd puzzle piece.

But being inept at so many things makes it so difficult to interact with other human beings when you know, no matter how hard you try, that you will lose that cutesy board game, or that new project you wanted to try that is outside of your comfort-zone will turn out a mess EVERY TIME.
A lot of people enjoy ‘a bit of competition;’ it motivates them to be better and strive for greatness, but all it’s ever done for me was make me feel like shit. There are many times in my life where I’d asked myself, in earnest:

Am I good at anything? Anything at all?

The silence following that question is awful.

So, I came to the conclusion that instead of feeling horrible about myself for my ineptness, I would strive for MY best. When I did not bother to compare how I was doing next to others, it made me happier and more willing to continue with all of the things I’m inept with that I love to do. I no longer thought things like:

Why bother? I’ll never be any good at this, so what’s the point?

…and started thinking:

So what if this person is so good that it makes my skills look juvenile? I did my best, and I’m proud of myself!

It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
So good, in fact, that I had a revelation: I reject competition, in and of itself.
It’s certainly not a popular thing to say, but it works for me.

Even though I’ve made this personal progress with myself, I do become fearful of failing at something I feel I’m good at; it’s something I need to work on. Baking is cooking’s sister, so I honestly become scared to do it sometimes because I hate it when I make mistakes.

I would salivate whenever people made souffles on TV; they look SO good…but I was sure mine wouldn’t come out right. And I was jealous of the people who could make them so perfectly. But the funny thing is…it wasn’t as delicious as I thought it’d be. It looks amazing (when it’s done correctly), but I’d be almost embarrassed to serve something that tastes like that to my friends and family. Cut up some strawberries, sprinkle some baker’s sugar on them, and serve it with some angel food cake…call it a day. It is way less work, more filling, and a better dessert, anyway.

Maybe people make souffles simply because they’re difficult and they want to impress people…

Anyway…I did what I said I’d do: I made the souffle.
Did what I was afraid of happening happen?
Yes.
How did I handle it?
Just fine.

The Strangest Kind of Blessing

At the very end of last month, I wrote an email to a stranger.

It was a really emotionally trying thing to do, and to be honest, I put off writing it around a year and a half because I was terrified.

What were you terrified of, Luna?

I was terrified that I would pour my heart out to this person, and he would read my words and ignore me, maybe not even read what I had written, or think that there was some motive behind my email that simply wasn’t there.

What had happened was somebody had inspired me with his passion for his career, and it was at a moment when I was in dire need of motivation. The whole situation was so profound to me that I needed to share it with him.

So, when I tried to find this particular man’s email address, I found out that, well…he…umm…how do I put this? In his…field of work, he is kind of a big deal. Well-known. Bumps a lot of important elbows. He’s in such a high position, he could be easily used by fake people if he were to not be suspicious, and many people would want nothing more than to dialogue with him for their own gain.

Me being me, I had no clue as to who he was, and to be perfectly honest, I was so disappointed.
…Scratch that: Depressed. I was so depressed.

I figured that this man was just a ‘normal Joe’ who just loved his job.
That would’ve been a good thing…a very good thing.

If I’m honest, the idea of trying to talk to or form a relationship of any kind with a socially ‘important’ person makes me tired.
I don’t use people: Period. I don’t look at anybody and think:
Hmm…I’d better try to get into their life. Just think of what they could do for me…muwahaha…
But, I know others do, and without scruple. And because of them, there’d be an unspoken rule that I would need to prove that I’m not like that. Besides that, when a person is socially ‘important,’ it seems as if they can only make time for people who are like them; they don’t have time for ‘normies’ like me.

Here’s my take: If I’m not rich enough, important enough, or trustworthy enough to talk to, well…you can fuck right off. I don’t care who you are. I don’t treat people like that, and I sure as hell won’t tolerate being treated like that. The creatures who are important in MY world are important because they’re kind, genuine, and good. There is absolutely no sum of money or anything else that can serve as a substitution for a place in my heart, ever.

Wow. I think I really needed to get that out.

Anyway…
Once I realized who he was, I immediately figured any email I sent him would go unread, deleted, and/or ignored.

Why even bother? It would be a complete waste of time to put the effort and emotion into something he won’t even read or care about.

So…I dismissed the situation altogether.
The Universe, however, wouldn’t let the situation go.

I told somebody about what had happened (somebody who I knew WOULD care), just to get it out of me when I was on the way to work. I trotted in as I normally did, grabbed a box of unsorted historical records, and put on my white gloves to start working. The first thing that I grabbed that morning was an antique booklet, and when I opened it to a random page to figure out what the booklet was about, the man’s name was written in cursive on the top of the page.
“REALLY?” I screeched. “Fucking really?”

That’s just one example. I dealt with a freaking year and a half long case of the Baader Meinhof effect until I was forced to confront the situation. TO MY CHAGRIN.

So, I wrote the damn email. It took me about, oh, two or three hours to do, and it took quite a bit out of me, but at the same time…it felt good. And what do you know? His name and the name of his company stopped popping up everywhere. It was like being told that I did what I needed to do; I had a certain role to play, a wheel to set in motion, and I did it.

Oh, yeah; I don’t mean to be suspenseful. I DID receive a reply…an auto-reply saying that he was somewhere else and would get to answering emails later that day.

There was an unsettled feeling in me, despite the strong intuition that I’d done what I needed to do. So, I explored it:

Why are you unsettled?
Because I knew this would happen…I knew I would be doing something for nothing at all.
So, you’re unsettled because he didn’t reply?
Of course I am! Why wouldn’t I be? It feels terrible to share something important to you with somebody who doesn’t give a shit.
Why does it feel terrible? You’ve unburdened yourself, haven’t you? You told somebody about something they’ve done that touched you…how is any of that bad?
Because I feel rejected, ok? I stayed away from this whole thing because I KNEW he wouldn’t answer and I would feel rejected, and that’s exactly what happened!

OHH.
That’s what this was all about.

I thought of the previous times I had experienced rejection from others: How did it play out, who did it to me, why did I feel the need to put myself into those situations?
And the more I thought about it…I realized that the people who had rejected me…the people I had worried over and put up on a pedestal…they had turned out to be some majorly unhealthy people to be around. I would’ve landed myself in some very bad situations if they HAD accepted me.

It was as if my sense of logic had grown a hand and smacked me in the face: It was suddenly so obvious. This thing that I feared so much and tried so hard to avoid was actually my friend. This monster under my bed was helping me my entire life; it actually gets me away from the people and situations I’d be better off without. I should never be afraid of rejection; it’s an unlikely kindness….it’s the strangest kind of blessing.

It’s been nearly a full 19 days. I haven’t received a reply from him and I’m not going to. And you know what? I’m ok with that. As a matter of fact, I’m better than ok. I wrote one damn beautiful email that I’m genuinely proud of…I followed my intuition and did what I believed was right. I ran at my fears, knowing the consequences. But the most important thing that I can take away from this situation is that I’ve had a friend who I’ve been neglecting for far too long for all of the wrong reasons.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a plate of cookies to push under my dust ruffle.