I’m not a particularly anxious person. I pride myself on this fact, and know I have mentioned it here at least once before. Unfortunately though, on rare occasions, the responsibilities and unknowns of my life take over, and mixed with the right amount of exhaustion and insecurity turn me into an anxious mess. Perhaps because of my usual avoidance of feeling anxious, when I do hit that point I hit it full force. It isn’t just a slight sense of un-ease, it is instead a full body manifestation of terror.
I am anxious from head to toe. My mind races, my eyes twitch. My jaw clenches without my consent, I suck my cheeks in, and bite them from the inside. My heart races, I take random quick breaths and intermittent deep cleansing breaths that result in a dizzy feeling and overwhelming sense of dread back up in my brain. My stomach spasms and clenches, it hurts, and takes on an agenda of its own, one I don’t particularly enjoy or have time for. My appetite seems to hide away with my former sense of ease somewhere else, somewhere I can’t seem to get to. I get aches in my thighs, cramps in my feet and toes. Pain in the joints in my hands.
It becomes all I can think about, all I can focus on. I try to ignore the feeling in my mind but then I am so aware of my body. I try to ignore my body and I am stuck in my head.
And so, I bake.
When the whole world feels like chaos, when my life is overwhelming, I drag myself to my favorite room in my house. I preheat the oven. I take butter and eggs from the refrigerator. I pull out flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. What a comfort there is in knowing that no matter what circles around me or inside me, even still, the right combination of these ingredients, with the right heat, for the right time will create a cupcake. A delicious cupcake. It is so constant. And so secure in a life where few things ever are.
I haven’t baked in months. It seems like everyone is on a diet these days and my time has been diverted to other activities. A few minutes into this morning’s batch of cupcakes I was reminded how much I have missed this. How happy I am in the kitchen. How much I enjoy creating in my mind the perfect combination of cupcake and frosting and altering the chemistry and ratios required to make it work. So a few minutes into this morning’s creation my mind was suddenly quiet.
I know it won’t stay that way, I never expect that, but knowing that I have the recipe to a quiet mind in my back pocket is a comfort while I wait for life to fall into place, while I await the return of my confidence, comfort and appetite.
Until then, my family will be enjoying Orange Zest Spice Cupcakes with Browned Butter Bourbon Cream Cheese frosting with a Bourbon Caramel Drizzle this weekend.