Note– this post was written after the others, however I thought it was helpful to explain the theme on the upfront this year. Enjoy!
2016 Kicked my ass.
It wasn’t so much about the hugeness of the events this past year that made it so hard– it’s been worse in the past for sure– but 2016 has been a really hard year for me.
It’s been constant. I’ve felt beat down, worn down, and my day job made short work of my spirit this year. Painfully busy. Lots of stupid drama. Peoples’ worst sides showing up and kicking me in the gut while I’m down. Bad. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through this year without dropping the mic and walking out.
My beautiful Peanut passed this year. She went out gracefully, a grand old lady having done and seen “the world”. I miss her a lot, but it was time. But alas, this means NO Labs at Christmas cookie time. No garbage disposal animals licking everything and anything off the floor. Azuki used to eat spilled FLOUR. Now I actually have to stop and clean. Momiji has been historically, too good for floor snacks…
The year has been hard. A part of me can’t wait for it to be over, but the rest of me wants to just enjoy every moment I can and just be here, in the now. But I’m tired. Simply tired out by life, my job, people, stress, traffic, politics…Tired. I know, first-world problems. Stay with me. I’m getting there.
Things with The Husband have been good. Momiji is doing well and we’re thinking of getting another pup in January. Fatty McIrish has been taking up residence in our extra bedroom, been our roommate since June, and that’s good too. Despite all the drama and life stuff, my world continues to be full of creativity and magic. Home life has been full of laughter (playing Cards Against Humanity with my parents, OMG), inspiring and enlightening conversations about everything and anything on the planet (’cause Fatty McIrish is one of the brightest, inspiring people I know). It’s like my home world has been this loving, happy cocoon that I get to come home to after being brutalized outside, all day. When I’m home with my family, it’s warm and wonderful. Everything else has just felt like…darkness, and not in the cool, creepy way. In the suffocating, can’t escape it way.
A part of me thought about skipping cookie making this year. I know, riiiight. But in all seriousness, I’ve felt so toxic and not in a good place that I wondered what (if anything) I had to offer this year. I’m definitely not my usual, chipper, happy self. Like I said, I just felt a blackness that I can’t seem to shake. I needed a cleanse. I needed to jump-start my converter abilities and turn all of that negative energy into something beautiful. So I do what I always do to make sense of the world (no, not clean the house though that is a close second)– I baked.
Like a little kid who has had too much sugar and is suffering from hyperactivity and has so choice but to scream and climb the walls until it’s run it’s course… yeah, I did that. I used all that bottled up gunk and fueled my sugar-butter-flour obsession until there was nothing left in the tank. And you know what? I feel better. Tired, but relaxed, fulfilled and drained. I normally run on glitter and kawaii (cuteness)– happy energy that’s bursting to come out and play. But this year, all I had was this. And it was some kind of scary powerful. The stuff you’re glad you don’t have on hand all the time because it’s actually a little bit dangerous.
So, 2 things have been rattling around my head when I was at my low points this year:
One is something I read a long time ago that I’m going to totally botch. Something like, “Darkness, I shall meet you, inch for inch, with light. If you cannot be defeated with light, I shall reveal MY darkness and you will perish. For your dark can never be as dark as mine.”
The second is from one of my favorite movies of all time, Serenity. Captain Mal says, ‘I start fightin’ a war, I guarantee, you’ll see somethin’ new. ”
I swear, I’m getting to it. Both of these things are meaningful to me in the same sense. When things go south, and the standard ways don’t work, you pull something (whatever it is) up, out from the depths to deal with it. That’s been my internal challenge this year– testing my thick skin, my commitment, my love, and I’ve had to pull something out of my depths to deal. And yeah, I guarantee, it’s something new.
Don’t get me wrong– I’m not full of anger and hate. But everything has tested me to my core, and I’m left with all these dark feelings to deal with. There is comfort in the dark– it’s an easy place to be– and it’s even easier to let yourself keep going down, down, down, into the black. It’s either that, or find a way out.
This year’s theme is darkness. It’s about taking something dark and bleak and turning it into something beautiful. I tried to keep most of the color out of my boxes– I went with black icing, metallic and of course, glitter. (Who am I if not for my glitter??) And the result is something new and never seen before. There is a luxe beauty in my boxes this year, and they epitomize the feelings I’ve felt, articulated in a pretty way through edible sugary goodness. And you know what? It’s helped.
For the past week, I’ve done nothing but channel my energy into creating and making something beautiful that the people I love can enjoy. That black-tar emotion and gunk in my trunk is actually kinda like rocket fuel, and I just let it all burn off. In doing that, it’s taken my focus completely away from the crap I’ve been going through and feeling, and now, after the project has ended, I feel like myself again. It was almost like an exorcism or purge and I’m 5×5 again. This has been a healing experience, literally.
So I give you this year’s cookie madness theme, and I encourage you to embrace your dark from time to time. There is something magic in there, if you look hard enough.
Oh, and BTW, black icing is gonna make you poo crazy colors…and the glitter…LOL.
Per a request, here’s a little more info about the cookies for allergies!
Contains Chocolate: Chocolate chip, Extreme Brownie, Rose Hibiscus Shortbread (white chocolate), Mint Chip, Chocolate swirls, Peanut Butter toffee Pretzel, Chocolate Sugar Trees
Contains Nuts: Extreme Brownie (walnuts), Pecan Sandies (pecans), Chinese Almond (almond extract), Coconut Sugar (coconut)
Contains Caffeine: All the chocolate cookies listed above, Paris Breakfast