Mariah Meads’s Semi-Colon Cupcakes

Hello! My name is Mariah Meads and for this competition I made a dark chocolate cupcake with a whipped peanut butter frosting and a little *surprise* inside. On the top of each cupcake is a semi-colon.

“Authors usually use the semicolon when they choose not to end the sentence. You are the author and the sentence is your life, and you’re choosing to continue” – Amy Bleuel

When it comes to mental health, semi-colons represent the battle many face and the choices they make to continue living. When I was younger, I had a five-year battle with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation/attempts and self-harm. As I started the recovery process, I found baking.

Baking was a way for me to cope with my emotions in a healthier way than I had been. The whipped peanut butter frosting recipe was one of the first I made—and fell in love with. Every time I make it, I can’t help but smile and look back on how far I’ve come (9/13/20 marked seven years into recovery!!). While I came to love baking, I simply couldn’t eat it all. I became known as the baker to my friends and family, as I was always bringing cupcakes to school, work events, meetings, etc.

For this competition, I chose a dark chocolate cupcake because, in some ways, I feel like dark chocolate represents the darker parts of life. It’s bitter, dark, and it can be hard to find the joy in. When you’re in a period that’s so dark and grim, it can be hard to even imagine the light ahead. To represent this, I filled the cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles. When you’re deep into the darkness (i.e., the cupcake), you’re surprised at the light, joy, and excitement that the unexpected (aka the sprinkles) can bring.

—By Mariah Meads