Croissants, Asthma Inhalers and Panic Attacks.

Croissants, Asthma Inhalers and Panic Attacks.


That was the text that had me hyperventilating at 7:00 in the morning.  I knew this day was coming for about a month, but never really expected it to get here.  My dear friend, also a bakery owner, said to me “will you come and teach us how to make croissants?”.  Before I even thought about it,  I said, “of course.”   Just like that the words were out there, no getting them back, no insanity plea, just a date, April 28th at 10:00 am.  That was a month ago, and I like I said, I figured this day would never come, or I’d be suddenly called back on the road for work, or the zombie apocalypse would finally occur (for which I am equally unprepared for).

A week ago, when I was trying to fall asleep, I was running through the process of making croissants in my head, and I realized I couldn’t remember how to make them, at all.  I had forgotten how to do it, forgotten how to make the turns; a complete blank and I panicked. I was on YouTube watching videos in French at 3:00 in the morning and none of it was familiar, like at all.  I was having a heart attack I was sure because I couldn’t breathe, I was certain my right arm was numb, and I was clammy.  Rob was in New York City, and I was home, alone.  I had the laptop on my stomach, listening to some French chef drone on in French about croissants.   When it dawned on me, this was how I was going to go, how fitting.  I pushed the laptop off me, got out of bed, grabbed my asthma inhaler and took four long puffs.  As I sat alone, on the kitchen floor, in the dark, I just kept telling myself just to breathe (I think I might get that tattooed on my arm or something).  Eventually, I fell asleep, (not on the kitchen floor but in bed) and woke up the next morning, a little shaky from two too many hits off the inhaler, but like magic, I remembered how to make croissants.

Which brings me back to this morning, the text and fighting the urge to grab my inhaler and run for the border.  As I was driving the two miles from the safeness of my apartment to the bakery, I thought to myself, first, breathe Gina and second, stop panicking, these are your friends, you know them, you love them and they love you, it will all be fine.  I stepped out of the car with my trusty croissant cutter and walked into the bakery and was immediately greeted with cheers and hugs, “this is going to be ok”, I thought to myself.  It’s like riding a bicycle, you don’t forget, you just think you forget.  The feel of the flour on the table, the weight of the rolling pin, the coolness of the dough and the butter packet in my hand, it all felt like, well, it felt like home.  It’s amazing how easy it was to do the required amount of turns when someone made the dough for you, and someone pounded the butter into shape.  It’s also MUCH easier to do one batch of croissants verses twelve at ten in the morning instead of four in the morning.

As I walked back to my car, looking down at my chef pants covered in flour, flour under my fingernails and a cookie in my hand, I was smiling.  I had done it; I taught people how to make croissants.  I touched croissant dough and didn’t die.  I didn’t have a heart attack.  I didn’t even have a panic attack.  I laughed and smiled.  I smelled the lovely smells of a working bakery.  But most of all, I was proud of myself for not backing out and facing my fear head on and conquered it without ending up in the fetal position in the middle of the bakery.  I even had the crazy thought, which faded once I was about a block way from the bakery, that could go there once a week and make croissants.

Push yourself when you think that you can’t do something, you most likely will find out you can.  If people in your inner circle have confidence in you, then you should have faith in yourself, they won’t steer you wrong.   Most importantly, breathe.  Breathe deep and breathe a few times, big deep breaths and smile, it’s all going to be ok.  And if you ever find yourself in East Nashville, make your way over to Sweet 16th Bakery, you will be very glad you did!

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