In the movie Waitress, actress Keri Russell of the 90s’ TV show Felicity plays a young southern waitress trapped in loveless marriage with her abusive husband. As part of her job at Joe’s Pie Diner, Russell’s character Jenna bakes pies. Lots of them.
Consider, for example, the following:
I Hate My Husband Pie… You take bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel.
Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair Pie… You smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.
I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong And I Don’t Want Earl To Kill Me Pie… Vanilla custard with banana. Hold the banana.
Pregnant Miserable Self Pitying Loser Pie… Lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. Flambé of course.
While the combination of ingredients in the pies may appeal to sweettooths (well, perhaps not the one with fruitcake), the equally creative names of her creations might put a damper on enjoying a slice.
With the exception of her Falling in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie, the most common ingredient in Jenna’s pies is misery. Born from frustration and less than positive emotions, the deserts represent Jenna’s dissatisfaction with her life.
Here are just a sampling of some of my pies from the semester:
We Need to Talk Pie…. Blood red cherries that leave a sour taste in your mouth.
It’s Not You, It’s Me Pie… Lemon custard with enough zest to pack a punch.
I Have a Girlfriend Pie… Mexican chocolate mousse with cayenne pepper that kicks you in the face.
Try Again Next Semester Pie… Sweet potato topped with toasted marshmallows to hide the unseasonable potatoes.
I Regret to Inform You Pie… Chocolate + pecans + Bourbon = Enough said.
Fortunately for me, there was no actually pies to accompany my rejections of second semester, or else I would have had a whole other problem: no clothes to wear.
But yet, while it appeared my time at Georgetown since January became dominated by less than uplifting emails, text messages and conversations, all was not negative.
Perhaps because of my ambitious character and my unwillingness to see a weekday not scheduled from 7 am to 11 pm, each rejection just led me to another application, another door and another opportunity that I could have not have found had I not been rejected by something or someone before. While some of the doors did remain unclosed, I did not shy away from at least knocking on them for the chance of looking inside.
Admittedly, I did have a moment late in the semester where the accumulation of rejections led to the creation of The Sick and Tired Pie, caramel prepared with lots of heavy cream and heavy sprinkles of salt from freshly cried tears. During conversations with my parents, many of which unfortunately were one-sided as I listened on the telephone line thousands of miles away trying to keep from breaking down into tears, it slowly became clear to me that life is full of rejection.
It is an unavoidable reality. It is not like polio, a disease now avoided with a few seconds of pain from a needle. There is no vaccine for rejection; there is no one who is immune to its pain. Sometimes its sting lasts a few hours, sometimes a few days, sometimes even longer. However, its pain is not something that should dictate how one lives life.
By the conclusion of the spring, when I received perhaps my biggest, most significant rejection of past semester, (signified by The I Regret to Inform You Pie), something I had worked towards since my arrival at Georgetown, I surprised myself by having no tears. To this day I have not cried because of such rejection. It was not without disappointment and some frustration, but I came to see it as somewhat of a sign, forcing me to reexamine what I might want to do in the future.
After receiving the news that afternoon, I shared it with my family and some of my closest friends. I talked about it. I vented about it. Then, I baked. Not a pie with mounds of whipped cream served à la mode with vanilla ice cream. No, I baked a cake. A carrot cake with juicy pineapple and mounds of shredded carrots and a cream cheese frosting with Amaretto. It was just what the doctor ordered.