You’re baking a cake and it’s not going well. All the ingredients are perfect, your oven is exactly the right temperature and you’re using state of the art utensils but at every step you ever so slightly fuck it up. The butter isn’t creaming. You lost count of cups and might have put in too much flour. Despite the fact that this is the hardest you’ve ever worked on something in your life small mistakes keep cropping up.
Finally the cake is out of the oven and let’s face it- it looks disappointing. Not awful, just flatter and duller and dryer than it’s supposed to be. You want to toss it away, to be done with it but before you can do that everyone you know is in your kitchen and eating this flop of a cake. Hell, there are even some strangers there digging into big wedges of cake.
And the worst part? The worst part is that they love it.
Despite all your fuck-ups they still love the cake and so you tell yourself, “Maybe it isn’t so bad.” You take your first bite only to find that this is the most revolting thing you’ve ever put in your mouth. Yes the taste rots on your tongue but it does more than that, it creeps through your body so that every fiber of your existence is in revulsion.
All around you people keep eating this cake with joy. Seeing everyone else’s joy makes you feel worse about yourself. What’s wrong with you? No, what’s wrong with them? They’re wrong about this cake or they’re lying to themselves in a misguided attempt to make you feel better about yourself or maybe they’re stupid.
And you keep baking. You keep baking cake after cake after cake and each one is worse and worse and worse and everyone else can’t stop raving about them. Despite the compliments you want to stop, to break off this painful routine but you can’t. Whenever you try to stop you just end up back in the kitchen baking, whether it’s your own compulsion or you’re lured back by the kind words of those around you. Perhaps you even reach a point where you forget how to make good cakes. After all you’ve made so many bad ones that it’s all that you know.
You hate it. You hate the process and the result and you especially hate the part where people lie and say they love your cakes. You hate it and you keep doing it.