If not offering excuses is the first step, then I'll say it here:
I fuck things up.
I am guilty of daydreaming, of being inattentive to things sometimes. My boss got very frustrated with me today because I overbaked some tart shells and then I underbaked these lil phyllo shells. I should know how to do these things better but I forget to taste and touch and smell and it's stupid. I shouldn't forget those things. I have a very physical job and I should be physically engaged with it, with more than just my hands.
I am not sure why this is happening because it's not like I ever overbaked a tray of cupcakes at my last job. But. It is, so then...
I hate disappointing people. Especially those who are my boss/my friend. People I respect. I hate expecting to disappoint them. I should stop it, right? Admit my faults, right? Because that is the only way to get better, and if I keep being mulish I'll only ever dig myself out of a kitchen, out of learning, not in.
And I want to be in. I want to be in enough that I ate some raw lamb the other day, and I have never eaten lamb and not eaten red meat in 14 years. But now it's in a dish on garde manger and I was disappointing the chef, and my boss, and B, and I knew I'd get in trouble for it if not that night then soon. Imminently. I had to be able to taste it and I have to be able to taste it now, each time I put an order out, and it may not be something I like at all but it's necessary.
I don't want this to sound like I'm whining because I'm not whining. I don't want sympathy or any sort of assurance. I don't like being told what to do but I don't like doing the wrong this just as much, so it would make sense that I learn to do the right thing, and do it, rather than think I know what the right thing is. It would make sense, yes. Stop being so pigheaded, jackass.
I like to pretend that I'm tough, that I'm tough enough. I hold myself at a distance without meaning to and then when people see my vulnerability, I like to think they see it all the time. I like to think they know how I really feel/what I really think even if that wall goes back up because we're close now and it's sometimes scary. I have this problem with women, too; I'm detached enough to pursue the ones I'm not very interested in, and have such a push-pull with the ones I do like, because, god, would there be anything worse than admitting I might like you? And it might be all wrong, or you might not like me, or that it might not be enough to push aside the other things in life? I like to think I know the score, the inside information. Sometimes, it's true, I do. Sometimes all of what I think can turn out to be so not true, or half-true. Sometimes it doesn't even matter.
I am not where I could be. Not even where I should be, perhaps. In order to get there-or at least try-I need to give up a little on all of my ideas of certainty.
Because, clearly, I don't know.
I can be strong and stubborn and stupid. This can serve me well when, say, I have no savings, but a home and a stable job but desperately want to move across the country where no job awaits me, and nothing, and no one. But here, now, it's not working for me.
I'm so hungry. I forgot to eat this morning and I'm kind of sick so I don't have an appetite (or taste buds or a sense of smell). I ate a lot of staff meal but that was hours ago. It took me an hour and a half again to get home on MUNI cause my line stops running direct after 9 pm. And the bottle of cough syrup I had in my bag spilled , and then dripped from my bag all over my leg, so I was commuting home in chef pants with sticky wet goo all over me. I should get some sleep so I can get up early and go open tomorrow, but my mind's too wired. But I'll get up and go in early tomorrow, even if I feel worse than I did this morning, because there's no such thing as a sick day in my industry. Never mind running late. And you know what, no complaints. We have long crazy days. All the time we've overworked, running on little sleep or food or both, and it's just how things are.
I used to be such a good student in high school and college, even grad school, but I wonder if it was because I liked being taught per se, or I liked being rewarded for being smart and knowing things, or struggling together to figure them out...so it can't be that I don't want to learn.
I think there is a a part of me that worries that if I admit my faults I still won't get better. Irrational, perhaps? Of all the things my old boss said to me, there's only one that echoes in my mind, sometimes, like a superstition or a curse:
It's Clear You Have Potential, But No One Can Seem To Get It Out Of You.