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  • Overwork. Overdo. Overthink. Overwhelm.
    Yeah... So.
    I blow things up.
    Mostly, I don't. Some cases, repeat offender.
    But right now I'm making bread rolls.

    I hate baking.

    I can do the sissy stuff, the Junior Miss Betty Crocker 'quick breads'.
    Basically cake, in humorless form and queasy color.
    Quickbreads and I get along okay now.
    *The secret to baking is paying attention.
    *The secret to baking is following the recipe.
    *The secret to baking is patience.
    *And trust.

    And all necessary for love. Long-ranging love, if you're lucky.

    I have none of these qualities, save for love. Love in general? I'm good. Good enough, anyway.

    Romantic love? I blow it up. When it feels like it could be real. And wonderful. And risky, since i'm walking there naked; just me, eyes open, with everything. Seeing and being seen, all the way through. ------> Being seen.

    Blowing it up is exactly, EXACTLY like chickening and running and being afraid your heart'll get smushed and you will too, and what's the point since we'll both risk and trust and love, and it'll break, it'll break. Everything breaks. Everything breaks. Especially love. Especially me and love.

    So. Explosions. Diverting. Operatic. They fill the whole room and wipe out nuance.
    So you, so I, ignore what's underneath. Pain. Loss. Vulnerability trampled. Trust. Rejected.
    Thinky thought words. Really, the heart is broken.
    My heart is broken.
    But we don't say that out loud. ...I don't say that out loud.
    Because

    Because I'm bad at baking.
    True baking: yeast, waiting, timing, rising, delicate touch, listening quietly.
    I do none of these well. Like that other list.
    There's that saying, You're either a cook or a baker. I'm a cook.

    I don't like using recipes. When I do, I argue with them. Sometimes out loud.
    I don't trust they know as much as I do. I don't trust it will work out, succeed.
    I don't trust that I will work it out right. I don't trust that I will succeed.
    I don't trust.

    But what if I follow the recipe, work at paying attention?
    And listening, and patience, and waiting. All of it. Eyes open.
    And, gulp, trusting.

    Baking is more of a back and forth than other cooking --
    you trust, you follow - there's chemistry, alchemy. A true partnership.
    You go there - all the way through and out and trusting and trying --
    and the bread doesn't rise. Dense, unyielding.

    You can overwork bread dough - it requires a light hand.
    It needs to rest.
    You need to trust that it will work out. Don't overthink it.
    When you fear it won't work out, that it's gotten screwed up, that you've screwed it up ---
    that I've screwed it up ---
    and I pound and pound and push at it --- I don't let it rest ---
    I tell myself if I just pound on it more, I'll fix it.
    That it won't be ruined - I have control - all the bread needs is more pounding - strength of will My strength of will.

    This is what happens next, every time. The dough, tired of being pounded, hounded, gets small and tough and rubbery. It's smaller than when I started. I've turtled it.
    No bread will come of this.
    ...just like I knew from the beginning.

    So then, why? Why try? Why risk? Why trust?
    Lighter touch. Let it rest. Trust.
    Try. Practice. Practice patience. Practice trust.
    Even if it comes and goes. Keep practicing.

    Let it rest, linda. And have patience. Let yourself learn.
    Don't pound, kilby.
    Be who you are, not the voice you project.
    And trust.

    Sitting right next to you on the couch might be the loaf of bread you let yourself hope for.
    And it's been practicing too.
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