Despite what the FDA says about raw eggs and salmonella, I love cookie dough. Sometimes, I whip up a batch of cookies just so I can eat the dough. They never make it to the oven. But on the off-chance that I want to actually bake, I have an entire drawer full of cookie cutters. And boy, are some of them really cool. From a moose that I got at the Tetons National Park, to perfectly molded lips (they make Valentine's Day extra romantic), to a martini glass I got for Christmas from my sister-in-law, I truly have a cookie cutter for just about any occasion.
And while I can ensure an entire batch of yellow duck cookies for the Easter celebration, I don't want my friends to all be just alike (I'd get the same advice from all of them).
I don't want my family members to just alike (what a boring family reunion that would be).
I don't want all of my clients to be just alike (where's the fun in saying the same thing to everyone).
I don't want anyone to be or feel like a cookie cutter. I am happiest when I am myself. And I've certainly found that others are less stressed, happier, more productive, more loving, and closer to their dreams when they are themselves.
But in a world of big box stores where everything is made in China, it seems that being yourself is harder than it seems. Everything is expected to be a certain exact way. When it's not, we mark it as defected. Or seconds. Changing from the mold to being yourself can be scary. Everyone is expected to behave the same way in a line. Or in a classroom. Everything is either black or white. This way or that way.
You have either boy parts or girl parts.
You belong to this country or that country.
You have long legs or short legs.
You have brown hair or blonde hair (or red hair or grey hair).
You have blue eyes or brown eyes (or hazel eyes or green eyes).
You have dark skin or light skin (or some color in between skin).
You either have super value meal #1 or super value meal #2.
You are either married or divorced.
You are either working or you're not.
You are either rich or poor.
And God forbid you have a form to fill out and you just don't see the right option listed there. Make yourself fit somehow! If you don't check something, they won't take it. They don't care whether or not it's correct. They just care that you fit a box somehow.
So how do you stand out in a cookie cutter world? How can you be at peace with being yourself when everyone has the same IKEA furniture or lives in the same neighborhood or drives a Toyota Camry? There's a delicate blend of fitting in while yet being yourself.
Modify the Pattern
So, let's visit that drawer of cookie cutters in the kitchen. Yes, everyone at your 4th of July cookout can have a red, white, and blue firework cookie. Or you can make them just red bursts or just green bursts.
But you can also take that same cookie cutter and make it your own. You can see it a in a new light. And even though, yes, you are using a pattern, and yes, they will all be shaped alike, you don't have to make bursting fireworks with that cookie cutter. You can make….
BRIDAL BOUQUET COOKIES!
See? They are lovely! They are unique. And they are exactly what they are meant to be. Sure, they may have come from the same pattern, but they aren't just like every other cookies that comes from that same mold.
It's OK to Be Yourself
I see many people who are stressed out about trying to be something they are not. Maybe you aren't cut out for a 9-5 office job. Maybe you are much happier working with your hands as an artist or a seamstress or a florist or a baker or an interior designer or (insert your passion here). But you're supposed to work a 9-5 job. It's what the “cool” people do. It's what the “successful” people do.
Or maybe you want to dye your hair blue. Just because you've always want to do it.
Or maybe you feel like you're supposed to keep things to yourself, because that's what nice girls do. That's what polite women do. Speaking your mind represents being rude. Or worse, a b@#$%! And that wouldn't be good.
Whatever it is that's holding you hostage and keeping you from not being yourself, I can promise you that it's more stressful holding that part of you back than it is to let it out. Yes, it can be a bit scary. You may feel really anxious as you walk into work with your cobalt blue hair on Monday morning. But that's part of the excitement, isn't it?
Being someone you're not is like being on a stage all of the time. You are tense. You are worried about messing up. You're never yourself. It's no fun. It's not your life. It's someone else's. And it's time to let that stress go! The world is waiting for you to be you!
PS- I am curious how many other things could be designed from this starburst cookie cutter. If you think of anything else, let me know! Or better yet, send me a picture of what you made (it could even be from paper or cloth or something completely different than cookie dough!)