My entire life I have been a pretty clumsy individual. I’m prone to bumps, scrapes and bruises, especially bruises. I’m pretty sure my bruises multiply on their own, because I never know where half of them come from. The BF says I bruise like a peach. I think I bruise easier than a peach. My clumsiness reached a peak, I thought, around middle school. I’m pretty sure my entire equilibrium was off for a solid three years because I couldn’t stand on one foot if I wanted to, I would tip right over. My dad always says, “We didn’t name you Grace for a reason.” And I’m sure he’s right.
Well, a few weekends ago my lovely mother came down to the city to help me do a little revamping to the apartment. The night before was the comedy of errors baking extravaganza I talked about, and honestly it continued well into the following day. My mother admits that she, too, is accident-prone and flails quite a bit, though she claims one of my aunts is the worst. I bet I have them both beat though.
I like to think that a lot of my clumsiness can be attributed to being Italian. We talk with our hands no matter what the topic. The BF can attest to this as he was nearly smacked in the face several times while out at the summer family-reunion-of-sorts this year. I have accidentally punched boyfriends in the face while trying to get situated just on the couch, and I have absolutely treaded on toes and other limbs trying to climb over people. And despite the fact that both of my mother’s parents are excellent dancers, and one of my aunts is practically a ballerina, I cannot for the life of me dance. Not only do I have no idea where my body is, but if you try to twirl me I can guarantee I will trip, fall and probably take you down with me.
Turns out this clumsiness has a name: lack of proprioception. My mother’s trainer told her about it. Someone who has proprioception is probably a good dancer, it means an awareness of one’s body in space. I do not have this, not even a little bit. So as my mother and I are sitting down eating lunch in the middle of my incredibly crowded living room, right after we moved in all the different bits of furniture we needed to assemble, I go to put my salad bowl on the coffee table (that is stacked with stuff) to pick up the cat, and I knock over an entirely full cup of soda. My mother is nearly in tears laughing, “PROPRIOCEPTION! I TOLD YOU!” I look at the mess, resigned to my fate, and sigh, “Did I really just do that?” and run off to find paper towels.
The rest of the day was just an illustration in failed proprioception. I ran into just about everything in my apartment, including the walls; I dumped almost half the gallon of paint on my kitchen floor; somehow managed to paint my leg instead of the wall in my room; I also got paint and spackle all over my hands without realizing it and the coup de grace was that evening walking home from the bar.
After a lovely dinner at one of the new restaurants in the neighborhood, The BF, Samson and I went out for a quick drink before I came back to my apartment to finish putting things together. I wasn’t even drunk, though perhaps slightly tipsy, and most assuredly exhausted after a long day of housework, and began a light jog home from the bar in the rain.
When I first moved to New York I made it a habit not to walk on the subway grates, because I was afraid I’d fall in, and also the metal cellar covers that dot the streets by the bodegas and stores, mostly for the same reason but also if you step on them with any kind of force they make this awful banging noise and it made me feel like an elephant. I know, I’m weird. Well, on Friday night I was walking along the stores to try and stay under the awnings out of the rain since I hadn’t brought an umbrella, which meant I was walking over those cellar covers. One of those covers decided to get a little cocky and dipped a good 2-3 inches when I stepped down on it; but because I was in a hurry I didn’t lift my foot far enough up off the ground while walking and snagged the bottom lip of my sandal on the grate cover.
To say that I tripped or fell would be a massive understatement. I took off like I was sliding into home base on an in-field homerun. Thank god I had a long dress on or it most certainly would have been over my head. I had at least three people offer to help me up and several more hung around while I took an assessment of my limbs to ensure they were still all attached. Right as I was tripping though, I managed to squeak out an “Oh no.” Not one of fear or anger, but a squeak resigned to my lack of proprioception. I limped the last half block home holding my dress up above my bloody knee and my sleeves rolled up above my bloody palms and got home to find several more cuts I had sustained in my heroic dive that I hadn’t noticed the first time.
This story has absolutely nothing to do with these delicious cupcakes I made. But I figured if you are also clumsy you’d like to know that it’s because you have a lack of proprioception. I figure the more people that know about it the sooner we can get an association together for like-individuals. Lack of Proprioception Sympathizers (Sufferers?), LOPS. I’m the President, and we can meet in a safe padded room where there are no sharp edges to bump into. It’s just one of many thoughts I have.
Now go make some chocolate cupcakes.
*Just a note: I made these cupcakes specifically to use up the extra filling and icing I had leftover from the carrot cake I had made the week before. Therefore I won’t post those two recipes since really this is just your basic chocolate cupcake recipe. These bake up in a beautiful dome and smell heavenly. They also come together super quick and can be made in under an hour since they don’t use butter so there is no wait time to let it come to room temperature. Score. I added cocoa nibs to the batter to try and cut some of the sweetness that the filling would lend to the cake, but those are totally optional. I also chopped the original recipe in half because I didn’t want a full two dozen cupcakes.
Basic Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
6 tbsp unsweetend cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli)
¾ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp salt
6 tbsp hot water
6 tbsp heavy cream
4 ½ tsp vegetable oil (Canola oil works too)
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup cocoa nibs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° and line a cupcake tin with liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well mixed. Add the hot water and heavy cream and mix on low until a thick batter is formed. Add the egg and mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vegetable oil and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in the cocoa nibs by hand, if using.
Fill cupcake tin ¾ full (makes about 10-11 cupcakes) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle and top springs back to the touch. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and finish cooling on a wire rack. Frost with your favorite icing.