“Zapatero a sus zapatos”: this means literally a shoemaker to his shoes, but the meaning is clear, each person has their own talents and skills, stick to that and nothing else. Meaning, hello! You aren’t cut out to do x or y or z.  I was told this when I had dreams of culinary school, learning all about the ratios to make a perfect cake or a velvety ganache. Dreams of opening my own little pastry shop danced in my head, the life of working before the world was awake in order to make breads, warms and fresh with a delicate crumb, for hungry people was tantalizing. Nothing could stop me, I would make it big, and my little pastry shop would be recognized for its delicious treats and would be the little chef that could. “Zapatero a sus zapatos, Elizabeth.” This is the mantra that played in my head each time I made a cake that simply hadn’t risen enough, a crème brulee that simply didn’t set, or croissants that simply weren’t flaky enough. The beautiful bronze, curly lettering of my little pastry shops name on the big glass window, meant to invite people in, was smashed and all the cakes, breads and cookies inside burned. My dream took a beating; the life of it was simply gone. All that was left was a sad, gray, clump that no one would want to call their own. I would never be a pastry chef. I was useless and purposeless. I walked the world with no compass, no goal and a fear that I would eventually tuck away into a corner and mesh into the wall so that eventually I would disappear altogether. The world wasn’t stopping or giving me extra time to figure out what I wanted to do, no, the guys that run the time in some super-secret mountainous location don’t do such favors for gals like me. Time was moving forward, full-force. People everywhere were finding their calling. “Zapatero a sus zapatos, Elizabeth.” But I had no zapatos! I was a sad, talentless little person. Or so I thought (and sometimes still do). What to do, what to do. Seriously, I had worked so hard to get good grades, I had good friends, I was respectful to my parents… how could I have lost my way? Still, I put on my smiley face every day as I’m prone to do no matter how dire my situation. Then one day, I thought about Mrs. Nears, a teacher from elementary school and about what I told her: I want to be a children’s book writer. I was so sure of it! My mom had bought be a notebook to write in it! I remembered the gift that Mrs. Nears have me on the last day of school, a book of poems in which she had written a note to me, encouraging me to write, write and then write a bit more for good measure. My dreams of being a pastry chef had overshadowed any dreams of writing but now that that was gone… could I have found it, my calling? Writing is so fulfilling to me, a way to get my thoughts down and make these worlds that exist in my head somehow real, but to share these words that I have put down on paper to make a story with people? Yelp. Nerve-wracking stuff, but then I’m sure that serving tasty treats to opinionated people would be too. What also calls to me? The road and the sky and the sea. Oh, to travel the world, to speak to people of different cultures and lifestyles, to taste exotic foods, to wake to the same sun as would at home and to sleep under the same moon but in a different place! This is a dream I wish to have come true, I yearn for it with all my heart and soul and fingers and toes. I work hard to get creative writing juices in order to write, if it were easy we’d all be writers, right? Right. It’s true, sometimes that croaky, thick and overall unpleasant voice whispers in my ear “Zapataro a sus zapatos, Elizabeth” and then I doubt. Doubt is a dark ink that spoils the clarity of my mind, infecting it with negativity and self-loathing. I succumb to it each time; it knows how to get underneath my skin, nasty thing. Yet, somehow, I try and don’t give up. I take up my pen again and I write through it. I think, writing is my zapato, darn it! And you know what, zapateros don’t live eat and breath zapatos. They enjoy other things, I’m sure. No one ever said you have to be one-dimensional, have only one talent and c’est toute. No, I refuse to believe in such nonsense. That is why I strive to be a traveler, writing and chef sort of person when I grow-up, you’ll see. You’ll hear all about it!


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