Eight years old. Easy Bake oven. Those two things went hand in hand when I was a little girl. I like most eight year old girls, was very excited to get mine, and on my very first day of having it was ready to bake. I followed all of the instructions. I had my cake mixed and in the little aluminum pan. I plugged in my oven. This was so exciting. I slid the mini cake into the oven slot and peered through the little oven window to watch. Then it happened, a loud crackling sound, the oven lights went out and I’m pretty sure I heard a little sizzle come from my new oven’s cord. My mother, instantly pulled me away from the smoking appliance, quite alarmed by what had just happened. You see she had once been rushed to the emergency room after being electrocuted from pulling a vacuum plug out of the wall by the cord. (true story) Hmm… now that I think about it, the likelihood of there being something wrong with that particular outlet rather than something being wrong with my new oven actually makes more sense, but I digress. What all of this meant for me was no more easy bake oven! I honestly have no idea what happened to it, but I’m pretty sure it ended up in that Monday’s trash collection. I looked at what was left of it. Some brownie mix and a couple packs of icing. I ate the icing, all of it, right out of the pack, and after getting sick declared “I don’t bake.”
I am 51 years old and in the last few weeks, I have made cornbread, brownies and a pumpkin loaf, all in my real oven. Gluten free, dairy free. It was no accident the icing had made me sick. Since my baking attempts turned out to be quite good and I managed not to set anything on fire, I found myself declaring to my partner Diane, “Babe, I bake!” This was pretty exciting. For 43 years I had been telling myself and everyone else, “I don’t bake.” It’s a new me!
This got me to thinking about how many other things I have decided about myself based on my eight year old self. How smart I was or wasn’t. What I was good at or not. What I could do or not. Even what I liked or not. How many of those things had I declared and held onto for 40 something years?
What have you been telling yourself since you were a kid, and it became who you were? Things like, “I can’t talk in front of people”, all because when you were in the third grade you were asked to get on a stage and your knees shook and you got sick to your stomach. Ever since then the anxiety just makes you say “I don’t do that.”
Here’s a good one. “I’m not an artist, I can barely draw a stick figure.” I’ve lost count how many times someone has said that to me. All because someone made you feel like you didn’t have artistic talent when you were a kid. Your attempt at your first stick figure was a failed one with three legs and a head shaped like a football. What if you had been given the chance to practice your stick figures, like you would practice an instrument or a sport? Maybe you would have become good at stick figures and tried out your new found creativity on other things?
Something maybe to think about while I go ahead and google peach pie recipes.