instagram live baking club at the end of the world -or- in which christina tosi teaches me how to substitute

by gigi bella

it’s 2pm eastern standard time & i am so glad you’re here! i know everything’s a little blurry, it’s ok, we’ll adjust soon, don’t worry too hard, the way we like to do this is by laying out the recipe until you guess what we’re making so right now in my kitchen, you can see a several pound bad of loss, some grief i’ve had laying around, a container of fear that is somehow bottomless, i can never seem to get rid of it all, now i know you have these things that home, standard, we all do, especially right now, y’know when you’re transitioning to being vegetarian or vegan or traumaless or free, any of those types of things, it can feel like you’re losing a lot, there is so much gone just begging you to miss it, today in baking club, i want to talk about alternatives how emptiness becomes something new maybe even better, a thing that keeps you more alive for longer, let’s talk about sadness, how its easy substitute can be a bird chirp that sounds like a slide whistle, a dance move you didn’t know your lover could do, a song you listened to on the train every day for a month, for fear, you can scoop out a cup of the time you left behind everything you knew just get a tattoo with your sister on st. mark’s, the time you wore a beret to work, the time you left a man who loved the newness of a chat bubble more than the blush of your apple pie cheeks, there is no alternative for loss, here we just call it a well, make a divot in the dry ingredients and pour in our substitutes little by little, over time it will be full again, perfectly combined, don’t try to pour everything in at once, it will overflow, just remember sometimes starting over is not just ok, it’s necessary, this time substitute the overwhelming cancellation with eighth grade band practice, code name board game night, your name, a poem at your first open mic, substitute the empty bottle, the sledgehammered heart, the country that never learned how to love, with the birthday sprinkle vanilla extract of you, begin to stir, a dollop at a time, have you guessed what we’re making yet? i think in some places they call it healing or safety, another name for it is resilience, when you pronounce it the right way though, it kind of sounds like your name, don’t you think?


gigi bella is the tenth ranked woman poet in the world, the Project X Bronx Poetry Champion, a Pink Door Fellow & a National Poetry Slam Champion. She has been featured alongside Andrea Gibson, Joy Harjo, Sabrina Benaim, Olivia Gatwood and many others. Her chapbook, weird things, was featured on the instagram of pop singer/songwriter, Sara Bareilles. Her other work is featured on Button Poetry, Slamfind and in What Are Birds?, Maps for Teeth and Knight’s Library. Her book, big feelings, is available on gameoverbooks.com & at an indie bookstore near you!

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