I baked a cake from scratch the other day.
It was a lot of work, a lot of mess (holy with the dishes!), and it didn’t turn out very pretty. Lopsided, sunken in the middle, crumbs stuck to every surface with which it came into contact; a frosted disaster.
But it tasted really good, and I can’t remember if I’ve ever baked a cake from scratch before.
I’d been craving cake for weeks, and, unsatisfied by a Sobey’s confection that was consumed in three measly sittings (shared with my husband), I opted for a homemade cake. It’s what I’d wanted all along. And as lumpy as my homemade cake turned out, it was far more delicious and satisfying than the grocery store treat.
Also, because I made it with my own two hands, and saw that I could, I’ll probably make another cake. And the next cake will probably be less lopsided, and still delicious.
By the time I publish this post, we (my husband and I) will have made our official announcement that our store, The Labour District, is closing. We’re closing next month and moving back to Toronto.
Back to square one, give or take tens of thousands of lost dollars, and two years of earnest-yet-ultimately-pointless hard work.
I didn’t understand why my cravings for cake intensified as our Store Closing Announcement date grew nearer. I don’t normally self-medicate with food. I’m more of a booze-swear-cry kind of gal, so why did I want to bake this cake so badly? Was the correlation between cake baking and business closure my attempt at reviewing my failure on a microcosmic level, altering the outcome into something more, ahem, palatable, or did I just want to try something new with my hands?
Our society has such an unhealthy fear of failure. When someone fails in the public eye, like we are with this store, it’s treated like death. Like something that needs to be avoided at all costs, in case it’s contagious. And I’m ashamed of my failure, I admit. I’m crushed that I can’t make a living off of my hard work, and I’m scared that I’ll spend the rest of my life making a low hourly wage doing work that I dislike, because I’ll never be good enough to do something more satisfying. Closing our business felt like the universe was snatching away our goals, telling us “No, not you. You don’t get to have nice things.”
But at least we tried.
Everyone experiences failure at some point. The more often you try new things, the more often you will fuck up. And failure itself isn’t bad for you; it’s better to try something and fail than to avoid trying anything because your fear of failure is bigger than you. What kind of life are you living when you never do anything scary? When you only read about the experiences of others? A sanitized package of general information, handed to you with all sharp edges removed so that you can avoid paper cuts.
I’m no coward, and I want to try new things, even if I fail.
You can’t surgically remove failure from your life without sacrificing adventure. You have to accept failure if you want to try new things. Lost money can be earned back. Shitty situations can be shut down and walked away from, if you’re lucky (and we are lucky; we can close up shop and walk the hell away). You can heal from your bad experience, you can brush yourself off and you can try something new when you’re ready.
The Labour District didn’t work out the way we hoped, but it wasn’t my first failure, and it probably won’t be my last.