Sorry for the late post but I was too busy keeping warm in my apartment on this rainy Paris day. I did manage to clean a bit which at least makes me feel like I accomplished something. Overall I spent the day trying to fight the feeling of inadequacy. It's hard not to feel like that when every day at my internship people treat me like I'm slow and stupid. It's incredible how much an environment can make such a difference on what one does. This is pastry, something I love to do, and yet the fact that everyone in that kitchen acts like I'm an inconvenience makes me question my passion for sweets.
I noticed this is pastry school. We had two chefs. One who was endearing yet unorganized, confusing, and contradicting. Finishing a day with him left me angry, tired, and hating anything with sugar in it. Then, our second chef, was charming, sweet, clear, and knowledgeable. Days flew by with her and I would realize, "Oh, that's right, this is why I love pastry!" So while it may be my dream to work in pastry it is also my dream to do that in an environment that I love, that I feel welcome in, and that feels like home.
I also experienced this contrast in the two bread places I worked in. One, my first real baking job, is a place that I still have such great feelings about. My boss took me in with no prior experience or training and taught me all he could. He was like one of those strict teachers in school that, while intimidating, you just did not want to disappoint because you cared about them and what they thought of you. I left that shop every day feeling good about what I had made, how hard I had worked, and most importantly about myself.
Then I took a second job at another bread bakery doing pretty much the same thing. Yet somehow the feelings I had about that place and myself were completely opposite. It was made up of all men. All chauvinistic, stoner, rude men. I was the only girl when I first started out and while I like to think that I'm not squeamish or politically correct or a wuss, it was still difficult to deal with. I can tell a dirty joke just as well as most guys but when it comes to a work environment, and specifically your boss, that can be difficult to swallow. Day by day the negative feelings towards women as a whole chipped away at my self esteem. I started caring what they thought of my sexually, because apparently to them that was all that mattered if you were a girl. Instead of being filled with a sense of self accomplishment on my drive home from work, I would cry the whole ride home. I hated bread. I hated my job. I hated myself. And so I quit and returned to my original job, the original bakery, and things were all better again.
And that's when I realized the importance of the people you surround yourself with. It doesn't matter if they're your friends or your coworkers, the people you spend your time with not only reflect who you are but also help to shape you and how you feel about yourself. Maybe I'm too sensitive but what I know now is that if I don't get a good feeling about a place within the first week it probably isn't worth working there. I don't care if it is one of the top five pastry shops in Paris, my mental health and emotional status are worth too much to me. And let us not forget my dream! It's incredible how just a few words ("Vite! Vite! Vite") can cause me to question my passion, my hopes, my future.
But alas, today is my weekend and I'm enjoying every relaxing second of it. Something about staying inside on a rainy day just makes me swell with comfort. Hopefully things will get better. Hopefully I will return on Thursday with a personal strength and resolve not to let these bastardos mess with my head. And hey, it'll all be over soon!