Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lessons from a Broken Pancake.

When I was in 8th grade part of my curriculum included the studies of analogies. I fell in love with the concept of using analogies in communication. I may or may not over-use them in my day to day life, you be the judge.

Last night I knew exactly what I was going to have for breakfast- an apple/cinnamon protein pancake. When I got up this morning I started throwing it together like I had all the time in the world. I didn't realize I was moseying until my 10-minute-until-you-need-to-be-out-the-door alarm on my phone rang. Standing in my pajamas with a half-assembled pancake in my hands, I did a minor freak out. I kept half an eye on the stove between grabbing the necessary paper work for today's projects & coats of mascara. It bubbled and steamed away like every other protein pancake I've made in the past. Time to flip it. I immediately realized something was wrong because the flipper (spatula, turner, thing-a-ma-bob) didn't slide under the pancake: it broke the edge right off the pancake. Burnt. It wasn't just a little bit black either. It was that scratchy, several fiber layers thick , won't-separate-from-the-pan burnt. 

My first thoughts weren't too happy. A little scraping, some prying and we've got some partially cooked, some salvageable and  some completely singed pancake pieces to sort through. 

I drove to work with my dilapidated pancake in a red solo cup beside me; it's normal to eat pancakes with a spoon, right? As I was eating what I'd managed to salvage, the wheels were turning in my mind.
 My life is like this pancake. Full of delicious ingredients, fragrant, healthy, and appears to be cooking perfectly. But- one small moment and the seeming perfection buckles into shards of dark black crispiness. What's supposed to be a fluffy, slightly-sweet, apple-studded disc of heaven is a pile of who-let-the-two- year-old- fix- breakfast.
My life feels wonderful and beautiful and amazing one minute and the very next I'm feeling like all I need is popcorn and I'd have all the ingredients for my own 3-ring circus.

Chaos, heartache, confusion, depression. These are words I wish I could eliminate from my vocabulary- much less the descriptors I use when friends ask how my life is going. It's not easy. It's messy. It's complicated. It's frustrating. It's full of painfully humorous irony.

You hear a lot of things every day- and the mantra 'perfection isn't possible' hits us all. Do we really hear it? I don't. The words slip in on ear and out the other- I'm too busy trying, attempting, striving, seeking and working to let those words sink in. But, it's 100% true. Perfection isn't possible. It's not attainable.
We make mistakes. We break hearts. We suffer. We over-commit. We feel ashamed. We feel regret.
 People let us down. The world isn't fair. Questions go unanswered.

Real life isn't always glamorous. We have bad hair days. Apologies. Unrequited love. Miscommunications. Disappointments. Unanswered prayers. Too much work. Not enough money. Injuries - physically and emotionally. Messy Pieces.

And it's okay.
I ate my pancake pieces.
They were delicious.
It was still an apple-cinnamon pancake. There were soft chunks of sweet-tart apple. Flakes of coconut. Little slivers of pecans. And lots of cinnamon. It didn't look like much, but it was still the best thing I ate that day.

For Forrest Gump; life is like a box of chocolates.
For me; life is like a broken pancake.

Life is like a broken pancake- there are messy pieces. Some pieces get fed to the cat. There are gooey under-cooked parts. But when you let it go, accept the chaos and embrace the unknown-- it's a pretty amazing thing. We say the wrong thing, accept the wrong job, eat the wrong food, move to the wrong State, leave the right person, get the right degree but can't find the right job-- there are lots of messy, confusing 'wish I would've-could've-should've moments'.
It doesn't have to be perfect to be perfectly wonderful. Just like a pancake.

If you fell asleep in the middle of this post, here's the skittles;
life is messy.
love it anyway.
eat more pancakes. 


  1. Those awful analogies were hilarious, but aside from those...

    Oh my gosh. This post was amazing! How did you get all that from a burnt pancake?!?! It was so well written and beautiful.

  2. I love this post! I love the image of you sitting next to a red solo cup filled with smushed, burnt pancake. Awesome. This was really well written with a nice message to it - I need to strive to live with this mindset. Life is messy - eat it anyways! Or something like that. ;)

  3. bravo. coconut apple cinnamon pancakes??? come on now.... thanks for the smile

  4. You are amazing. What an analogy! I love this..every last bit. I can relate to it so much too and just recently I have let go of the "striving for perfection" attitude and just let things be. It's so much more enjoyable!! You are beautiful inside and out, just remember that! Also that pancake sounds amazing!

  5. I can't believe you still ate the burned pancake! You're awesome, girl. I can so relate with all of those feelings, I have them quite often. You're an amazing writer. xoxo

  6. it's good and it's true. Today was kinda a broken pancake kind of day for me too. But it's ok that I mess up and am not perfect. Cause I know the ONE who is.
    thanks for sharing your heart!