Sometimes you need to throw stuff

When life gets tough, there are times when perhaps all you want to do is throw birthday cake to the ground.

And sometimes you actually need to do that.

I aged another year yesterday, and I met up at Eatzi’s with my friend Betsy so we could catch up for a bit. I’m dealing with some stuff I don’t want in my life right now, and I told her before I ended the day that I wanted to throw a piece of birthday cake to the ground. She bought me a piece of cake from Eatzi’s and said we should carry out the plan at the pumpkin patch we were about to go to.

She has a great thought process.

When we got to the pumpkin patch, I didn’t think it was the best idea to throw the cake there—the people in charge looked way too nice for us to pollute their gourd grounds. The “Fossil Fest” across the parking lot, however, appeared to be the perfect place.

Betsy found her ideal pumpkin, bought him and put him in the car, and then we made our way to the Fossil Fest, though we still had no idea what such a thing actually entailed. (I only found two plastic bones on the ground while we were there, so maybe it was some type of treasure hunt. I’m still pretty uncertain.) We spotted a creek that looked like a great place to throw some cake, so I made the short trek down to the rocks.

I then wished the ground a happy birthday and gave it the “Tower of Power” cake slice from Eatzi’s.

It was a good moment, and I think it made both of us feel a little better for at least a brief time. While I’d prefer beating the crap out of a piñata—I mean, you get to take frustration out on something that’s created to be destroyed, and then you get candy—throwing cake on the ground was quite arguably one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

Later that day, I was walking up the sidewalk to my parents’ house to watch the Cowboys game with them, and I saw a dad with his three children out for a walk and inspecting the grass. One of the little boys started talking to me about his swimming endeavors (HE’S OFF THE FLOATIES, PEOPLE!), and then his brother came over and told me that he was really sad. I asked him why, and he explained that a ladybug had landed on him, and that made him really happy, but then it opened its wings and “fell” (translation: flew away), and that made him really sad.

I hear ya, bro.

Sometimes the things we want to happen in life—like catching ladybugs—don’t happen, and we get upset. It hurts, and there might not be much we can do to make the pain go completely away. I sure hope that little boy finds some birthday cake to throw to the ground soon.

We met a scarecrow AND got stickers.

I know the difficult times in life don’t last forever, but they feel like they do when you’re in the midst of them. That’s when you need people like Betsy and others in your tribe to stick with you and even buy you cake that’s only going to be mutilated on rocks in a creek.

You might have some lost ladybug sadness every once in a while, and that’s OK. But you have to find what helps you keep your head up when you’re not sure you can. For me, it was throwing something to the ground.

Because, like humans, I think the ground needs some cake every now and then.

We’re kind of like messy cake

Sometimes bad things happen when the last thing you need is a bad situation.

And sometimes you are the cause of those bad things.

Our office is hosting its own version of the Olympics later this month, and last Friday was the opening ceremony, which was also accompanied by a potluck lunch. I decided to bake a birthday cake to bring because that’s the national import and export of the country some of my coworkers and I created. I’ve made cupcakes before, but I had never made a cake, so I was a little nervous. I mean, I wasn’t even able to sample part of it to make sure it tasted alright because that would ruin it. Plus, I am not good at making icing look good, so this was all new to me. (I even almost baked it in completely the wrong type of pan, but thankfully my friend Meghan told me the right one to use and even a special baking spray with flour in it that would help it not stick to the pan.)

I was pretty sure the cake turned out like a normal cake should have, and the icing on it didn’t even look that awful. I was pretty excited that I made something that wasn’t a complete disaster when I thought it might be.

But I managed to change that pretty quickly.

There’s a lid for the pan, and I figured that was the best thing to use to cover the cake. It was either that or aluminum foil, and I thought the foil might get smashed down and destroy the icing. The lid looked like it gave barely enough breathing room between it and the cake so that everything would remain intact.

It turns out that saying about looks being deceiving is sometimes true.

cake pics

When I took the lid off of the cake at work, a lot of the icing—and even some of the cake—came with it. I had one of those moments when you simply stare at the situation before you for longer than you should because you have no idea what you should do. I had brought the icing pen with me in case I needed to touch up the writing on the cake, but I didn’t have the white icing with me. And a “touch-up” wasn’t exactly the only thing needed. I did my best to rewrite the wording that had left its home, but it didn’t look good at all. I decided to write a short note to put with the cake that said, “There was a situation. This cake is still edible and probably delicious.” so that people would know they didn’t need to avoid this particular dessert.

But the note didn’t help—I’m pretty sure only two people tried it, and it was probably out of pity.

The thing is, though, the cake probably did still taste pretty delicious. It was straight from a box, and I followed all of the directions. Plus, I tried a little of it later and thought it was a tasty cake. But people weren’t willing to give it a chance because it wasn’t as pretty as all of the other desserts next to it. It was messy and looked like it had been through quite a lot—kind of like many of us.

I think sometimes we forget to factor in the experiences people have gone through and too quickly come to our own conclusions about them. We assume that because of the way things appear in their lives that we shouldn’t have anything to do with them. But aren’t we all like cakes with smudged icing in a way? Don’t we all have our own issues and messes and histories and stories—those ones that make us who we are and have shaped us into the people we are today? Don’t we need those things in our past that have led us to where we are today? Life isn’t always pretty, and there will be times when things in our own lives look like complete disasters.

So why should we treat others like the passed-up cakes that we never want to be?

Cakes are made to be eaten. People are made to love and be loved. Sometimes life is going to be pretty, and other times it will be downright ugly. We can’t expect every single person in our lives to be a perfectly iced and pristine cake—because sometimes reality happens, and people don’t always think about the lid ruining the icing. But it’s important that we don’t push people out of our lives simply because they have messes or because we have messes. People need help through messes. People need love through messes. People need each other through messes.

And people need cake—even if it’s a mess.