I've been avoiding baking bread. I bought a bread machine. I have gluten-free bread-machine cookbooks, I have recipes bookmarked, I have lists of ingredients. And I have been Not Baking Bread.
As I've mentioned here before, I am the product of a severely-Type-A upbringing, the kind of upbringing that results in "You got a 98% on the test? Well, what happened to the other two points?" and spelling bee championships or else and hardcore precision ballet, all before the age of 12. (Yeah, ask me about the upbringing my daughter isn't getting.) As I've mentioned here before, one of the most enduring lessons of my childhood is that Failure Is Unacceptable.
You can imagine what the ensuing years have been like, as my body and brain began to fail epically on me. There have been adjustments. I'm just saying.
I ended up in tears last night talking about writing - about Cicatrix mostly, but not about the story itself, about how terrified I am to write it. Because writing, the way I do it, involves a certain loss of control. With Cicatrix more than most, even. I have to surrender utterly and let the story happen. Or I'll get in my own way and fuck it up. And I am scared to do scary things. I am scared of failing, but I'm also scared of loss of control. I'm a lot more scared of that now than I was before I started having seizures. I mean, these days I require chemical intervention to loosen my iron grip on consciousness so I can get any sleep at all. So sitting down at the computer and sending my conscious mind away for a while is a difficult and scary thing.
But I have to do the scary things.
I have been Not Baking Bread. Because gluten-free baking is notoriously difficult, and I have a hard time attempting things that I know I'm likely to fail at, because Failure Is Unacceptable. But for stuff like this, failure has to be acceptable. It has to be a learning experience. I'm not going to not bake bread because my bread might suck.
(I have the same thing with knitting. Knitting is still sometimes very difficult for me! Part of my brain damage is re: spatial relations. Oftentimes patterns don't make sense to me at all, and sometimes I can sort them out by brute force and attempts at patience, and sometimes emilytheslayer has to grab my hands and move them for me so I can figure out what they're supposed to be doing. But I keep doing it, because I refuse to be defeated and I am desperately hoping to build new neural pathways.)
So tonight I was knitting and watching Tony Bourdain with Elayna and thinking dammit, I want my guys to come home so they can help me bake bread. Because it helps to have help, even if they're just standing there in case I need help interpreting something. But they were helping friends move, and I was getting sick of thinking "dammit, I need to get around to baking bread," and so. I baked bread.
I baked bread for the first time ever.
It was a mix. In a bread machine. I know that doesn't sound like much. The part that's significant is not that I followed a recipe and figured out how to work a bread machine.
It's that I was able to give myself permission to fail.
So at this point, it doesn't even really matter whether the bread is good, just that I made it. But it *is* good. It's a dense pumpernickley/rye-y loaf with lots of seeds, and it feels like bread (almost entirely). It is not a brick or a sponge, it is a loaf of bread, and it's pretty, even, and it's tasty. And my daughter, as it turns out, loves the smell of baking bread. And I will be doing this again.