....and why you're only as good as your last cake.
Body dysmorphic disorder is defined as a mental illness that causes the sufferer to obsess over minor flaws or defects that no one else can see.This is the condition most often seen in those with eating disorders , causing the affected to see themselves as fat while others witness a body wasting away. It's a disorder of a skewed perception.Cake dysmorphic disorder is a newly recognized condition (recognized by me )characterized by an individual cake maker's inability to accurately perceive their own work.With CDD ,as it will hereafter be referred to, instead of a body wasting away, opportunities to improve are what is wasted.
Every cake you make is a chance to learn.All of us are in different stages of development of our craft. A side effect of CDD is arrested development.We all yearn for praise, it's only natural.The healthy can accept this much needed praise with an open mind.Yes, your loyal friends and family will tell you how you need to go on Cake Boss (which , btw, I was unaware was some sort of show that had guest cake decorators) and that's great, that's what friends are for.But,in order to be free of CDD you must always be aware of your own flaws.I don't beat myself up for making mistakes or having imperfections on my cakes, but I do try to never make the same mistake twice. I'm not always successful, but I am always striving to be better.CDD robs you of that chance. Those who have lost the ability to see their cake's flaws will clap their hands together declaring it a job well done.The next cake will have the same flaws, and the next,ad nauseum.Sufferers with the most advanced cases of CDD will go on to declare themselves invincible, able to do "anything you can imagine".Wow! A bold claim to be sure, clearly one only someone with this affliction could dare to promise.Lately,there is evidence it may be contagious.Warning signs might be self proclaiming "masterpieces" or "fabulousness". While there is no known cure at this time there are a few things you can do to avoid being afflicted.
1.Try to remember, no matter how successful last your cake was, that has no bearing on the next one.After you have basked in the glow of hundreds of comments and accolades, put them aside.The next customer doesn't care how great THAT cake was, they are only concerned about their cake.
2.Keep your skill set fresh. OK, great you "invented" a cake technique back in 1985. What have you done lately? Even Thomas Edison didn't rest on his laurels after "discovering" electricity.
3.Look with fresh eyes.I recently revisited a cake theme I had not tackled for 5 years. Instead of referring to my previous work, I started anew. I'd rather not be influenced by my past work and past mistakes, but hopefully I can approach each design whether a new or old one with a fresh approach , one rich with the experience and lessons I have hopefully gained over the years.
4.The delete button is your friend.As we are all hopefully on a journey to be the best we can be, undoubtedly , if you have not yet been stricken with CDD , you will become embarrassed by your own work.This is actually a sign of growth! Routinely prune your portfolio as your skills improve.A healthy cake maker should do this often, otherwise you're stagnating.Of course, keep private photos of all stages of your own progress.You can still learn from these images, but not everyone needs to see them. Your public portfolio is only as good as your worst piece.