I remember coming back home once, the home with the big front terrace and a guava tree in the backyard, and finding that a old neighbor dropped some shoes over. Not the shoes you wear while you're going somewhere, but those with small wheels on the bottom. Her boys had outgrown them so she gave them to me and my sister. They were black and dusty, but somehow the lack of sparkle failed to evade me. Being in my single digits, and having never minded wearing hand me downs, I set to work. The roller skates, I soon realized were far too big for my ever tiny feet. But that didn't stop me.
For the next months, that's all I invested my evenings in. I fell, I fell a lot. But first I learned to wear one and then I could wear both of them without the need for a support system. Wearing them, was like a fresh breath. As the wind tousled my hair, and as everything went whooshing past, that was a feeling worth savoring.
A few weeks ago, while sitting on the toilet (my inspiration arena), all these memories came flooding in. And all I could think about is how I taught myself to skate. There was no adult holding my hand along the way, no one but myself tending to any bruises I was appraised with. Just me, finding my own path, learning my own way.
It all makes me realize that I've always been pretty independent. I can probably use a ear or two to vent to, every now and then. But that's about it. I have always dealt with everything myself, whether it was stressing out over a college problem, or walking across the stage to accept my student encouragement award. And I'm okay with it.
And maybe that's who I am. I only feel comfortable with what I want to do, and how I do it. Nagging me, forcing me to be more of a team worker plunges me into the depths of discomfort. And it's not pretty. But I'm proud of it. I'm used to doing things alone, no matter how many people want to help. It made me strong, and I wouldn't replace my strength for anything.
When I started baking, I was on my own. There was no help because everybody around me had no close proximity with baking. I tried, I tried for a whole year. And I had to deal with some pretty harsh situations, where someone would say I always make crap and I would have to listen to an earful of the it's too sweet chronology. But I took to the Internet instead. I read articles, I watched videos, the amount of my referral blogs reached hundreds. And I did it.
A few weeks ago, I did something no one in my family has ever done. I arranged a bake sale, and baked & frosted more than 250 cupcakes in about 24 hours. Sacks of flour, kgs of sugar, cans of the Cadbury cocoa and bottles of vanilla essence later, I laid myself down to a bath, a couple hours before the whole thing. I smelled like frosting, more ingredients than I can name were stuck to my head, haair and arms. My heels ached painfully as I packed cupcake after cupcake into the brown cartons. And finally I was on my way, with some people for help finally.
It didn't take me long to set up, I had planned everything perfectly except for the small fact that all my struggle wasn't over. Hour after hour, we had to tend to the customers. Some were polite enough to stare around, take a picture or two with the 'cute' stall and depart without buying. Some asked for a tissue and I figured no one else had free tissues lying around. And then there were those, who tried examining me by asking rhetorical questions enough to make me want to pull my hair out. So for the first time, I felt a pang of sympathy for all the retail workers around the world.
But then there were those, who said that they'd never had cupcakes like this and begged for the recipe; who had a hard time believing I hadn't smuggled those from a bakery and who left me comments on a post-it. There were those cupcakes my friends’ mother helped me donate to a charity institution, to kids who had never even seen such a delicacy and went berserk on eating. And there were those 1K worth a family member bought of me. I could n’t have been happier
I had a great time, communicating with my stall fellows, exchanging notes, and laughing about the rat's nest we were stuck in.
I pulled a muscle, caught a fever and didn't leave my bed for a day or two, but I did something I can be proud of. I could focus on all the cupcakes I didn't sell or I could focus on the profit I earned but more importantly, how much I learned and how much that day grew me. And that's the way I chose to look at it.
A special thanks to my best friend for coming and helping me deal with the amount of chaos and making all the decorations. Love ya.