Saturday, May 10, 2014

Close your eyes and hold out your hands

Closing my eyes and holding out my hands, I think that describes just exactly what my approach to life has been over the past few months and yes, it does in a way sound excruciatingly naive but I'm starting to see how it works. 

If I had let fear overcome my desire to delve into any possible opportunity I probably wouldn't even have giving a second thought about trying out for the Cake Challenge Malaysia competition, which was exactly what I did for the past few years when I had heard about the competition since it very clearly stated in the fine print that the finalists had to complete the last tier of their entry live and I just didn't feel as though I possessed adequate experience to compete under a limited time frame but this year I decided to close my eyes and hold out my hands to accept what life brings me. 

After I had got chosen as one of the few finalists I constantly felt as though as my competition entry wasn't good enough and that I would never be able to exceed what I had accomplished at the 2011 ICCA wedding cake competition, by what I had accomplished I really do mean the techniques I was able to invent and the entire composition of the cake. That feeling that settles at the bottom of your heart that puts you into a state where you could never become anything more was unnerving and it was set in concrete throughout the preparation stage as I felt that I was constantly referring back to the techniques I had executed on that piece and then having to force yourself to improve on it because you couldn't bring yourself to copy off a thirteen year old, even if that thirteen year old was yourself. 

Yes, you're probably wondering why would I would actually chose to regress in a way instead of getting inspiration from other artists or objects around me to actually progress. During the first few days of preparation I did the necessary bit of research to keep myself up to date with the latest winning competition cakes, which really only proved to be useful in mentally pointing out where my fellow competitors had extracted their ideas and techniques from as whenever I tried to apply those techniques onto my cake it would have an 80% chance of winding up in the trash because I would step away from my cake, tilt my head to the left and right and come to a conclusion that it really didn't come from me but that celebrity cake artist instead.   

Like everything else, I realized all I needed to remember is to keep a decent balance between the two to avoid any further inner conflict. 

Though it wasn't the first time, I've been receiving telltale signs that I wasn't as passionate about cake decorating as I had been before for instance I honestly did not have a halfway acceptable theme aside from it being royal and dripping in primary colors because it seemed like a slightly challenging color combination to work with or a name for my cake, two things which I found as important as the cake itself and which I would take pride in sharing how I had come up with it and what had inspired me but no, this time it felt as though my thoughts had vacated my mind. 

Oddly as time passed I was slowly filling that vacant space in my mind with a clear picture on what I wanted my finished creation to look like, though I had never done any proper research on those few topics I knew it was going to be a fusion of stained glass and oriental royalty. I shall assume that my creative gears are merely taking a little longer to shift into place and even more time to start whirring.    

I do feel that this cake slightly reflects my current state of mind, from the way the tiers seem almost identical to my scattered thoughts and ideas and the striking colors resemble the way I've been looking at life from a different perspective and it gives the most mundane moments and objects a new, more vivid form. To me the cake competitions I've entered throughout the past four years has never been purely for the golden trophy or the way people spend time admiring your entry or that surge of adrenaline and raw excitement you get when you get interviewed, all along I really do think that during the period of time I spend working on my entry is when I get a true sense of self, getting in touch with my inner most thoughts and basically it's a two week journey of rediscovering who you are all over again which is something I realized I need to go through annually in order to keep myself sane. 

Also the live competition was the direct opposite of the Masterchef scenario I had in mind, with cake being thrown around and contestants running riot. I was never too good with time management or estimating the amount of time I would need to complete a project and I had actually finished my cake an hour before we had to officially lay our piping bags to rest, which was surprising. I should time myself when I work next time. 

I had feared live competitions all along for nothing, now I really am glad I decided to close my eyes and hold out my hands because what gets placed in your hands can be magical. 

On the side note, I do hope that I'd be able to start blogging again for good since Ecuador is a mere three months away and I do want to keep a little travel log on my adventures anyway. And reading through my older posts gives me cringe attacks but they do seem like a brilliant memoir of the past.