BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

The Last Piece of Cake

Piece of chocolate cake with a strawberry on top

The last piece of cake.

Will you eat it?

I won’t. I don’t have the nerve to.

Every Friday at work, someone brings in breakfast for the rest of the office.

Yesterday, someone brought in homemade coffee cake.

I love coffee cake. It’s one of those things I can’t get enough of, yet never do. I seldom eat it, because I seldom see it. It seems to have gotten pigeonholed as a breakfast offering, but why can’t it also be a dessert? Why hasn’t some restaurant realized this?

I digress…

After grabbing a piece when I first got to work, I went back into the kitchen just before lunch and noticed a single segment of cake left in the pan.

My initial thought was how nice that would be as an afternoon snack.

That thought was immediately followed by a barrage of indignant inner questioning:

Who do you think you are? You think you’re worthy of that last piece? What if someone else wants it? What if someone else hasn’t had any? Are you really that selfish? Are you really that self-important?

Quietly, I sloughed back to my office empty-handed, my head lowered in shame.

This is how I often go through life. I’m more comfortable putting myself second, deferring to the desires of everybody else.

In a lot of ways, I’m glad I’m like this, because it drives me to be more compassionate, more caring than careless.

But there are times when I know I act this way not out of empathy/sympathy, but out of a lack of self-esteem.

And that’s not healthy.

There has to be a way to find a better balance.

There has to be a way to be considerate of others, and not overstep my bounds, yet still remain true to what I want and need.

So I can let myself eat cake.

*****

This originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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