Unrealistic Expectations and Why Pies are Assholes

“You have pretty high expectations of yourself, don’t you?”

We were at a dinner party, and a man I had just met asked me this question. Let’s call this man, Bob.

It was hard to answer Bob, especially because Marcus spent the next five minutes making strangling & choking noises, not at all dissimilar to the sounds a pug would make straining against its collar. I turned to my husband, looked at him lovingly and whispered “Fuck off!” Some of you may think that’s a horrible way to talk to your spouse, but it’s our love language.

I stammered out a reply. I don’t remember how I answered this question, but I do remember Marcus mentioning the time I got a 95 on a paper for a college horticulture class. I was upset because it wasn’t an 100.

My husband reminded me of this conversation Wednesday night when he came home to find me, hysterically crying over a pie.

I had come up with a brilliant idea. The success of my marmalade had blown up my ego and given me the notion that I, too, could be a recipe developer. Pioneer Woman posting your link on her site makes you feel like you made it as a food blogger. The only thing that makes your feel more accomplished is Williams Sonoma publishing your recipe for Early Spring Pea Pesto. (I think recipe developers are amazing. My comments are made in jest. I’m posting this because I still have people strangely upset over my “hate” for baking twine.)

My idea for a pie was brilliant. I’m not going to write about it here. Food bloggers are sneaky bastards, and someone will steal my original idea that is probably posted on 100 blogs already.

Instead, I fucking created a buttermilk chess pie.

“But Kristina – chess pies are awesome!” I can hear you all saying that now. Yes. Yes, they are. There is only one problem: I did not mean to make a buttermilk chess pie. I can’t pretend I’m awesome and post it on my blog, telling you all that I meant to do this. Why? Because I already have a buttermilk chess pie on my blog, and I already have enough Joe Biden references in my posts.

I pulled that pie out of the oven, noticing that it did not appear to be what I wanted it to be. My pie crust also looked like shit, but that’s to be expected. I let it cool, cut a piece and tasted it. Then, I burst into tears. This is when Marcus came home and found me weeping.

I will not deny that I am prone to histrionics. I will not deny that Marcus has to live with a lot of these moments. He usually manages not to laugh at me or roll his eyes while he’s consoling me. I’ve tried fighting this part of me and have never been successful. I’m left trying to mute that tendency as best I can. I’m pretty successful, especially when it comes to checking my anger. I’ll throw a hissy over some overly pretentious thing that someone says or wrote in a blog post, but when it comes to the ones I love, I’ve learned to bite my tongue.

I’m usually not so ridiculous that I let a pie break me. But I wanted that pie to work. This week was going to be the week that I POSTED TWO RECIPES IN A WEEK ON MY BLOG!!! It’s also Pi day. I know some other bloggers try to make Pie Day happen on another, lesser day, but Pie Day is Pi Day. Period. It’s in the Bible.

I went to bed, making a plan to cram a frantic pie session into today. It’s not that I’m overly busy. I’m not. I’m a bit of a housewife right now, except without the wrapping myself in saran wrap part and meeting Marcus at the door with a cocktail. I think it’s because I usually drink the cocktail.

But I’m done. I am so done.

I’m not sleeping. I’m exhausted. I’m so anxious that I’m crawling out of my skin. My brain feels like I’m thinking through quicksand. I’m dealing with ongoing nausea that sent me to the doctor on Tuesday crying, asking them to do anything to fix it.There’s a myriad of health issues that I’m not listing that are making me miserable.

I’m trying to manage as best as I can. I’m taking medication to counter some of the above (I want to gay marry Zofran). It’s not enough. I can’t take pride in a day where my main source of accomplishment is taking a shower and doing two loads of dishes.

Marcus tries to tell me that it’s OK not to be at the top of my game. I always point out that I’m not just screwing up the top of my game; I’m wallowing in the bottom. He tells me that I’ll get “me” back, that it’s just going to take time. Sometimes I believe him.

I cry and rage at everything. I’m crying right now. My emotions are a tidal wave, and I’m drowning. I know this is normal. My brain was concerned with dealing with the physical problems I had, not the emotional ones. These emotions randomly hit me now. I do not like this.

Part of the problem is that I never feel that I am enough. I felt like that before I was diagnosed with cancer. I feel like that now. There are so many things that I want to do. There are so many projects I want to take on. There are so many ways I want to make a difference in this world. There are so many ways I want to show people how awesome I can be. These rarely happen.

I know I’m not alone.. We are an elite bunch. We spend hours creating something. People tell us how awesome it is, and we know we could have made it better. That’s preferable to our other option: trying to create something and quitting out of frustration because it’s not good enough. We chain ourselves to the limitations that only exist in our brains.The dialog in our heads is full of self-loathing. We even loathe ourselves for loathing ourselves. It’s not a fun way to live.

I’d love to finish this post with some amazingly, insightful answer. I don’t have one. If I did, I wouldn’t be struggling.

I’m also not posting this, so you can all feel sorry for me. I was too overwhelmed last year by pain and exhaustion to post about most of my “Fun trip with cancer” journey, so posting this is a self-centered thing to do. When someone comments or emails me telling me that one of my blog posts helped them, that critical part of my brain shuts up and lets me feel happy and useful.

The best answer I can come up for me right now? I am not going to make a pie today. I’m going to get up and take a shower. I may even get fancy and put some lipgloss on. I’m going to try to not spend the day loathing myself for something I can’t control. I have no control over how tired I am. I do have control over the shade I throw myself. I will feel proud of myself for getting a post up. I may get some laundry done. I may even go crazy and get one of my garden beds weeded. This may be the day I succeed at taking a nap. Or it might not. .

I ate a piece of my pie this morning. It was delicious.

If your day would be incomplete without a pie recipe, this is the link to the chess pie that is supposed to be a chess pie. Also Joe Biden! This is a recipe for the worst pie I ever made on one of the worst days I ever had. This is a pie recipe for something that you could easily turn into a pie. Happy Pi Day, everyone!

27 Comments on Unrealistic Expectations and Why Pies are Assholes

  1. Stacy
    March 13, 2014 at 2:11 pm (8 months ago)

    I really don’t know how to tell you this so I’ll just come right out and say it. You are awesome and pies are assholes and (it’s not actually pi day yet. It’s tomorrow.) Please don’t throw pie at me.

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm (8 months ago)

      Stacy – I have railed against this notion that some food bloggers have that there is some other mythical pie day we should celebrate. I am also married to a nerd who can recite way too many decimal point numbers of pi. I would never forget pi day, I just wanted to have a blog post ready to go to post. Now I’m going to throw my asshole pie at you. Because I care. :-* You’re pretty awesome as well!

  2. Hellcat14
    March 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm (8 months ago)

    Ahhhhh, so much sympathy (even though you don’t want it, which I also understand.) I didn’t have cancer, but two years ago I had my own life-threatening health issues that took a long time to overcome. I went from being active and sociable and capable to needing to take a nap after my morning shower and having to ask my husband to carry the laundry down to the laundry room so I could do those two loads of laundry, and it shattered me. But it’s absolutely important to change your goals and expectations of yourself. It wasn’t weakness to admit I could no longer vacuum the house or needed a nap; it actually took a lot of strength to put me and my needs first and to actually listen to my body. I slept when I needed to sleep; I ignored the full dishwasher when it needed to be emptied and I didn’t have the energy. I went and saw the doctor and got the help I needed when my body started to heal and my mind went “wait, WTF?” and revolted against what could have happened. It wasn’t until both my mind and body were taken care of that I could finally look back and realize that I fucking SURVIVED and that all the time I thought I was failing, I was actually kicking death back out the door. That was a pretty damn impressive accomplishment, and I’m so proud of myself now.

    Things will suck, and you’ll want to hide under the covers, and some days, that’s exactly what you need to do to survive. I do not regret a single one of those times I said “I can’t” because it wasn’t giving up – it was choosing to take care of myself.

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm (8 months ago)

      I understand. When I developed my abscess, I had no choice but to let other people do stuff. The same thing happened when I went all Poltergeist puking for all that time. My husband was so worried and stressed, and he’s had to shoulder so much of the responsibility. He has no problem doing it. I just want to help take some of the burden back off of him. It’s that ridiculous notion that so many of us have – we’re not supposed to need help. I do try to remember that getting through this is a process. Some days I’ll move forward. Some days I’ll move back. There are just days where nothing seems like it’s enough, and I wanted to be honest and post about it.

      PS – I’m so glad you got better. You’re amazing.

  3. Hellcat13
    March 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm (8 months ago)

    And then I go and mess up my user name because I’m RIDICULOUS.

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm (8 months ago)

      So am I! Let’s toast to that!

  4. Marisa Miller
    March 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm (8 months ago)

    oh you. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo did they say ‘probiotics’? you need them after radiating all your villi.

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm (8 months ago)

      xoxoxoxoxoxoxox back! And I am drinking kefir like a mofo. I’ve even got the kombucha brewing. Please don’t tell anyone about that last part.

  5. kaela
    March 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm (8 months ago)

    I have the opposite problem: I feel quite accomplished if I manage to shower AND do laundry all in the same day. In fact, when I do, I reward myself with wine. We would have the most emotionally-balanced baby ever. An alcoholic baby, to be sure, but zen about it, which it what really counts.

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm (8 months ago)

      Let’s make this happen. I’ll go pee on an ovulation stick, and head up when it’s prime time.

      • kaela
        March 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm (8 months ago)

        Awesome. I’ll start researching zen alcoholic baby names. Do you think we’d get sued if we name our kid Joe Biden?

        • Kristina
          March 14, 2014 at 5:51 pm (8 months ago)

          Let’s change it up a bit. Maybe Joe Mofo Biden?

  6. Marta Brysha
    March 13, 2014 at 4:51 pm (8 months ago)

    I have an art blog and have been thinking of writing a blog on why self loathing is a waste of time. I won’t go into my own long history of self loathing, but I will say that I don’t feel that way anymore. Why? I just stopped giving a fuck. Not in a retreat to my slippers and robe with a bottle of gin in my hand permanently way, but in a what am I hating myself for? kind of way. I realise that I don’t have to “show the world” how awesome I am, if the world can’t see it then the world can go fuck itself.

    Someone once told me “you should strive for excellence, not perfection. Excellence is achievable, perfection is not”. I also think that there are enough arseholes out there trying to grind you down every minute of every day and I refuse to help them with their work.

    Yep, that’s pretty much all I got. Never apologise for feeling sorry for yourself every once in a while. It can be very restorative.

    I love your posts and read every one. xxx

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm (8 months ago)

      Rationally, I know these things too. My brain just refuses to be rational at times, especially when I’m feeling beat down. I love your attitude. I’m working on being more like that. Some days I’m more successful than others.

  7. Marta Brysha
    March 13, 2014 at 4:52 pm (8 months ago)

    …and I think you should develop a recipe called Asshole Pie.

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 5:29 pm (8 months ago)

      Maybe I already have. :D Now I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to do it.

  8. Sherri
    March 13, 2014 at 5:35 pm (8 months ago)

    I’m so happy to see posts from you this week, even if one of them is not what you wanted it to be. I’m just glad you put this post up anyway. I’ve missed you and love your writing!

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 5:34 pm (8 months ago)

      Thanks Sherri – even as I was weeping over my pie, I realized how much I’d be laughing at me soon for being so damn ridiculous. I’ll post pies on other days. More days should be pie days.

  9. Alicia (foodycat)
    March 14, 2014 at 7:14 am (8 months ago)

    I bet manatees are good at dealing with self-loathing people. Glad the pie was delicious with hindsight!

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm (8 months ago)

      Hugh is silent, but comforting. He also is willing to pose for lots of pictures that amuse me. He’s the perfect man(atee)!

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 5:38 pm (8 months ago)

      How do you even have time to comment on my blog? Shouldn’t you be rescuing your child who is about to summit the curtains. Also – I love you too! xoxoxo

  10. Jeff
    March 14, 2014 at 10:14 am (8 months ago)

    Quit being so butthurt over a pie. :)

    • Kristina
      March 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm (8 months ago)

      Hee! I thinking changing the phrase was the right thing to do, but people really are still butthurt about me mocking baking twine. Just wait until I start in on paper stripey straws!

  11. Courtney
    March 14, 2014 at 9:53 pm (8 months ago)

    Have you tuned in yet to any of the new season of ‘Drag Race’? I watch it online on Logo’s crappy media player. It usually crashes at least once per episode–still worth it.

    I swear it’s better than Zoloft.

  12. Denise
    March 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm (8 months ago)



Leave a Reply