I have enjoyed keeping a low profile at the boys’ school here in Albuquerque. It is much bigger than our beloved Prescott of Chicago so remaining somewhat anonymous has been easy even as one of a handful of Asians. Over the past year though, I have started getting more involved mostly through the school’s fabulous library. I finally took the plunge and agreed to help organize an actual event: the cake walk for their annual Spooky Story Night (SSN).
SSN was wonderful last year and this year they decided to have a cake walk. While I do not mind helping, I usually do not want the responsibility of organizing anything. However, this cake walk had materials from another school’s cake walk. With the idea that I could just use someone else’s blueprint to build, I felt it time to relieve some mom-guilt by agreeing to help out. Besides, I do love me some cake.
When I first received the other school’s materials (four attachments, mind you), I have to admit I was a little judgmental towards these highly organized moms who were making my job easier. They almost had a policy manual for a simple cake walk! Wow. Come organize my life, please! It was a sweet deal for me though as I unashamedly cut and pasted their work. As people have volunteered to donate cakes for our walk, I have been emailing them these cut-and-pasted details. I did have some concern that I would be scaring people because that detailed email was no joke. It might be as long as War and Peace, but I cannot confirm since I did not actually read that novel. It IS Spooky Story Night so maybe a little thrill is appropriate. Still, I did add some acknowledgement when I could that the email was freaking long.
Turns out that it might have stirred up a tiny bit of excitement for an otherwise quiet, pseudo-suburban community. This confirmation at first made me feel so bad. Here are these nice parents agreeing to help out by donating and in turn they get punished by having to read War and Peace for their kind gesture. My debut out of anonymity was going to be as the CRAZY CAKE LADY! “Oh, THAT’S Leslie Beckett over there! She’s the cake boss who crushed my charitable thoughts and made me never want to volunteer to sugar up hyper kids EVER again! She is crazy!”
Confession: I am a recovering people-pleaser. I used to care too much about what other people thought about me. While I like to believe that I have matured into a secure human being who could not care less about the opinions of others (especially strangers), instances like these remind me of the inner tendencies to care a little too much at times. Along with feeling bad for them, I have to admit I felt bad for me. A negative rep is hard on people-pleasers. I wanted to see if I could make a PSA after the pledge of allegiance tomorrow morning explaining myself. “I’m not the crazy one! Really, it’s the OCD moms from the other school. I’m just lazy and using their stuff!”
Confession: I am human. (I may seem alien to some, but I am a part of the imperfect human species.) When feeling judged, I react by wanting to judge back. If a detailed email about donating a cake for the school gets your panties in a bunch, then you have a sweet life. What a luxury to be able to sit around and complain about having to use disposable containers! If we spent time with those facing true hardships, then maybe we would be less bothered by an email novel.
Then I remembered that I, too, had judged my fellow moms before me. These women who had four files on a cake walk were no longer OCD, but my fellow compadres in the quest for a well-run school event. They had done these before and obviously knew what they were doing. I now thought, “They aren’t crazy. They are geniuses who are probably CEO’s of large corporations!” Instead of trying to see if I could size it down, I decided to stand in solidarity with the overly organized and maybe even ADD to the email that the cakes had to be red velvet or decorated with fresh flowers or equipped with scary music that played when you sliced it open.
It IS about the kids. Rather than add fuel to the fire and emulate Congress by threatening to shut down the cake walk, I will behave and leave War and Peace alone. Besides, the fact that the potential poor reputation was putting my panties in a bunch made me no different from those who thought my email a bit much. I, too, live the sweet life. It is a luxury to feel like the crazy cake lady while others worry about making ends meet, being safe on urban playgrounds, or experiencing loss and health compromises.
As usual, I end up seeing that I am no better than those I can quickly judge. If anything, I am probably much, much worse. Instead of regret my negative rep, I think I will get a T-shirt made as desensitization therapy against people-pleasing tendencies: “I am the crazy cake lady!” Tonight I will email 20 more War and Peace novels out to those poor, unsuspecting souls who agreed to donate a cake recently. I hope they have some tissues nearby because they will most likely read it and weep. After all, I do have a reputation to maintain.