With a full shopping cart, I wheel my way to the check-out line at my favorite small-town grocery store. I can't say why I do this, but I unload all my healthy items first. Maybe it's because I want the clerk to have a good first impression of me, and surely she'll think I make good choices when she sees broccoli slowly making its way to her. And if the broccoli is followed by celery, fresh garlic cloves, asparagus, and a big pineapple, she's bound to form a good opinion of me and not notice the Golden Crisp cereal and chocolate milk that appears next.
In reality, I'm aware that I'm not trying to impress anyone but myself. My need to place the healthy items on the counter before the unhealthy ones is a shallow attempt to soothe myself with the belief that I am capable of making good choices —sometimes, anyway. And making mostly good choices somehow makes me feel better about the not-so-good choices I make.
As my grocery items parade towards the clerk, she scans each one and moves it along to the gentleman bagging my purchases. After all the items are bagged and placed in my cart, I noticed the clerk and the bagger forgot to leave out my small bottle of chocolate milk. Typically they know to leave out mints, gum, water, etc., but my chocolate milk was swiftly bagged with the other groceries.
"Has my chocolate milk been bagged?" I asked
"Yep," the bagger replied. "Did you want it?"
"Yes! I was looking forward to drinking it on the way home." I confessed.
The bagger found the little bottle and passed it over to me while saying, "You just don't look like the chocolate milk type of girl."
As I drove home, I reflected on his statement. What does a chocolate-milk drinker look like, I wondered. If I had ice cream bars and pizza rolls in my cart, would I then look like I enjoy drinking chocolate milk? Does a person who drinks chocolate milk wear sweatpants rather than jeans or put on a shade of coral lipstick rather than plum lipgloss?
I may never know what I needed to look like that day in order to not surprise the bagger with my choice of beverages, but here's what I do know:
I could wear flannel PJs 24/7.
I like wearing earrings.
I love steamed broccoli.
And, I'm the type of girl who drinks chocolate milk.
Here's wishing you a new year that's full of you being the real you.