When my romantic relationship failed earlier this year, it was heart-rending: an unexpected end to what I believed was my forever relationship with a soul mate.
We both own the ending. My part of the equation was the need to work on myself—to learn to love myself.
One of the gifts that my man left me was a message:
You have everything you need to bake that cake, but you also have to be the baking pan and oven. Then you will be ready for more cakes.
After the initial wash of grief, my productive attitude asserted itself. My overachieving mind thought the recipe would be easy. I set about making the perfect cake. I looked at the best parts of me and took joy, love, beauty, intelligence, friendship, kindness, honesty and humor. I measured carefully and mixed them together.
As I stood there, holding my glowing mix, I looked around. There was no pan or oven. The things left scattered about were the tough parts—what I considered the negative—but nothing with which to make a mold or bake anything.
The perfect solution didn’t work. All of the positive things, filtered out and gilded, did not solve the puzzle or make me whole.
I melted into a puddle on the ground.
The good ingredients mixed with the tough left overs. I lay there with my eyes closed and felt all of my pieces rub against me. I couldn’t tell if it was love or pain or beauty or another that licked the salt from my cheeks. It felt like puppy kisses—enthusiastic, simple, cleansing, loving.
I sat up and looked around me.
The swirling mix of ingredients was a kaleidoscope; no one piece was distinguishable or untouched. The good and bad—positive and negative—twisted together like molten glass.
I inhaled deeply; felt my chest expand. With deliberation I rose to my feet. I looked kindly at the mix that surrounded me. I gathered up all of the ingredients. I welcomed joy, pain, beauty, flaws, love, vulnerability, honesty, guilt, kindness, shame, love, insecurity, fear, confidence and a host of others.
In a far, almost unforgotten corner, I found grace. I gently lifted grace up and folded her into the mix. I absorbed them all into my body and owned the composite of what was created.
There was no oven; rather, internal combustion fed on dawning self-awareness. Love and passion in my soul burned hot and activated the mix.
Like a phoenix rising from ashes, the result was magnificent.
The parts and pieces didn’t make a cake, it was better. What emerged from the fiery depths was the most perfect imperfect me.
Author: Tammy Korade
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Mr.TinDC at Flickr