Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Life Lessons Through Frozen Yogurt

frozen yogurt!

My girlfriends and I have this funny story we like to bring up whenever we find ourselves eating frozen yogurt together. This used to be a common occurrence when we were roommates during and after college, but as we grew up and moved away from each other it became a rarity. Still though, whenever we find ourselves scraping the bottom of a frozen yogurt cup, one of us always has to chime in with "God, do you have to eat the whole thing?" eyes narrowing towards the finished dessert while feigning disgust.

The story goes like this: back in college I dated this guy. It was one of those times in my life that seemed like such a good idea while in the midst of it, but looking back now, I'm almost shocked I ever spent so much time with anyone like that. It's weird, isn't it? Hindsight is so clear but when you're in it, really really in it, you could swear you're seeing clearly too. And I definitely thought I was.

So this now-regretful-then-dreamy guy picks me up for our first date. I'd met him at the place we both worked and after a month or so of relentless flirting and seeing each other at parties and pretending to be breezy he finally asked me out on this highly-anticipated evening out. When he picked me up there was a rose waiting on the front seat of his car, which kind of threw me for a loop. I was used to dating football players, skateboarders, or frat guys (the scope of my dating world during this time of my life), and none of these groups had ever made seemingly romantic gestures such as that one.

He had planned the "perfect" date, and at 20 years old taking me out for sushi then dessert was enough to woo my often cynical self. I can still remember random details from the end of our night too- I was perched, cross-legged on a chair in the back corner of our college town's TCBY, slowly eating my strawberry with rainbow sprinkles. I'm sure I was joking or laughing or telling a story- I can remember having fun and wondering if he would kiss me when he dropped me off. I can also remember the look on his face as I finished up the rest of my almost-melted yogurt with one quick bite. If I think about it now it was almost disgust, although later on describing it I would use the word "surprise," but he stared at me for a moment with that weird look on his face and said "God, do you have to eat the whole thing?" I remember half-laughing, feeling a little awkward, thinking that this guy had to be kidding.

But he wasn't.

Weird thing to remember right? How strange for me to see all of those details so clearly still, to recall the way it made me felt. But the reason I remember this now, is because however small or silly that one night is in the larger picture of my life, it was a defining moment. Right then and there I should have known that this guy was no good. Who even says that? And who means something like that? But I ignored it, choosing instead to focus on the "perfect" night, the corny/sweet rose, the walk up to my door, the goodbye. And over the next few months I chose to ignore a lot more too.

It wasn't a good relationship at all, and the only one I've ever had in my life where I feel like I lost myself. I'm still shocked that I could have ever been the type of person who bends to someone else, who allows another person to change them into what that person thought was ideal, but I was. Before him I wasn't, and after him I never would be again, but this guy had some sort of weird pull that looking back, still surprises me. My current self would have laughed (hard) at someone seriously getting weirded out by me finishing my dessert. Nowadays I would have thought he was ridiculous and really rude, I would have probably ordered a second cup of yogurt just to spite him, then gone home and made fun of him with my girlfriends. But my young, naive, wanting so badly to be loved self decided to just smile down into her yogurt cup and ignore it, letting that guy know it was okay to talk to me like that. It sounds so silly now, but this path I found myself on, losing myself then finding myself again, started right there, and because of that this entire scenario will always be memorable to me.

I think a lot about those paths and how they've all led certain ways, and to certain people. I think about all of the various choices in my life that brought me right to where I am today, and when I turn around and look back, there's a whole lot of ups and downs, and so, so many stories. I'm thankful that I was able to have these weird experiences and have these stories to tell. I'm happy I ignored all of the terrible things about the aforementioned guy, and then realized my mistake, so when I met the right one I would know that you should never, ever have to change yourself to fit into someone else's idea of how you should be. It helped me recognize what I should be looking for, and helped me to see that I was pretty awesome being exactly who I already was. But most of all, I thankfully learned that no one should ever make you feel bad about finishing the last bite of a delicious dessert. Never! ;) So now, every time I scrape the bottom of my frozen yogurt cup, every time I finish up that last bite, I think about how far I've come and how much I've learned over the past ten years. And then I clink my empty yogurt cup against my girlfriends' and we say "Why yes! We did eat the whole thing!" and laugh and smile at how silly we once were.

30 comments:

  1. I loved this! I was once having lunch with a guy friend at a burger place and he made a very similar comment when I finished my burger. Something along the lines of "Damn, you ate the whole thing?!" As if it's inconceivable for a girl to eat an ENTIRE meal, especially when she ordered it ... baffling. I was too embarrassed to say anything at the time but if anyone said that to me now it would be a very different story. Needless to say I'm not in contact with this person anymore and I have to say that I don't miss him. No one should EVER make you feel bad for finishing the last bite of a delicious anything! Yay, us for figuring this out!

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  2. Aw, I love this story. Things that were so normal back then seem so crazy now! It's always so nice to have your girlfriends with whom you can reflect.

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  3. Wow. Thank you for sharing. I had a similar relationship, with a guy that had me scrambling to find some kind of scrap of self-identity. It was 3 years of me absolutely losing myself, of trying to be someone I wasn't, ending up miserable and self-destructive, and finally so lost and scared that I called it quits and ran. To this day, it's one of the smartest things I've ever done.

    They say you're made up of every single person and every single experience you've ever encountered, seen, heard. You are the product of everything you're exposed to, no matter how big or small. I wouldn't change my past for anything in the world, as it has made me who I am today and I love who I am, and it brought me to a life that I am proud of, a man who truly loves me, and a place in the world that I would not have otherwise found for myself without it.

    Your blog has quickly become one of my favorites... your honesty and positivity are stunning and thought-provoking! Thank you for your openness. :)


    - Kayla ☆ http://www.kaylanaut.com

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  4. one of my favorites i've read in awhile. the old me could totally identify with the old you. right one girl! right..on!

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  5. Posts like this are why you're my favorite blogger, period. You're an incredible writer. Thank you so much for doing what you do!

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  6. This is totally random, but I work at Pinkberry. We have a weekly bulletin with info, customer comments, etc. A few weeks back I flipped it open and they had used a picture of you out front of a store with your yogurt. I got all excited and exclaimed to my coworker, "Hey! I totally know her! Well... I don't KNOW know her but... nevermind..." haha.

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  7. such an awesome story, thank you for sharing. it's always great to look back and realize how far we've come.

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  8. Danielle,I just wanted to tell you that your blog is one of my favorites to read! That is all. :)

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  9. I love this! I too (haven't we all) been in a relationship that I look back on and I think, how in the WORLD did I think I was in love and he was right for me?! And yes, I too love froyo and eat every.last.bite.

    Great post.

    Michelle
    LittleBlueFeathers.com

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  10. I think it goes to show that often times when you're younger, you lose sight of loving yourself for a chance to love someone not worthy of you or your time. I can relate to this story and I thank you for sharing it. My relationship before my fiance left me lost and wondering how I could have gotten involved with someone like that. He was possessive, told me "not to get fat," what to wear, who to hang out with and had such a control over me. I just wanted to be loved. I got completely lost in those three words, but it wasn't love. I just wanted to be with someone. I truly believe that these experiences mold us into the people we've become today; women who know their worth. Because of that miserable relationship, I can truly appreciate the man that I'm going to call my husband and know that what we have is the real deal. :)

    - Jessica V.

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  11. I have had a similar relationship, and looking back, I chalk it up to beig young and eager to be in love, or rather, be loved. This guy told me ,"I don't usually date girls that look like you, but I like you despite that". I asked home what he meant by that and he said," I usuall date thin girls." I had never been told anything like that, I was shocked that someone would even say something so rude. Mind you, I am 5'2" and at the time weighed around 115 , a size 2, but with big hips. I was so knocked off my rocker by this comment, and other similar comments that I actually believed him, that I wasn't thin enough! I started seriously flirting with anorexia but all the while tellig my worried friends that I was just choosing to be a vegan. It got pretty scary, and leaving the guy made it even worse, like I had to prove to myself that I wasn't what he said I was. Thankfully, I met my husband shortly after this terrible experience and he helped me come to my wits. Healthy is beautiful, and that guy was a narasistic jerk. I can't believe I could let someone's opinion of me effect me to this degree, but I was young, I really didn't know any better. At this point in my life I would have slapped him and walked right out, slamming the door behind me.

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  12. I just finished my first year away at college and Definitely lost myself in a relationship. It was short but damaging. It's nice to know there's a time I will laugh at my naive self who didn't stand up for me instead of wanting to cover my embarrassed face every time I think about it.

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  13. Boy, those relationships sure happen don't they! Reminds me of some of my frozen yogurt relationship experiences, ah, the memories....

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  14. I miss Pinkberry nights with the girls, and I love that I'm not alone in being the girl that once dated a douchy guy and is now able to laugh at there complete wrongness

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  15. i loved this!
    i went out on a date with a guy from okcupid last september who literally had the balls to ask me how i could eat so much and stay so small. how i could eat an entire piece of vegan treats cake...that I PAID FOR thank you very much!!
    damn right i bought 2 brownies to bring home with me too!!

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  16. This is a wonderful story, and I love how you're a smart enough lady to look back upon such a stupid guy and his pointless comments and draw a great life lesson from it. xx

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  17. This is such an awesome story. I can't even explain how optimistic and reflective it makes me - thank you Danielle!

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  18. What a lovely tradition and lesson learned :)

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  19. A) who says that?!? and B) I loved this post. I think we've all been in one of "those" relationships. Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo
    B

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  20. It's amazing to look back at the things that embarrassed us or made us feel awkward in our early twenties. It's so true that with age comes an added sense of confidence and security; there are plenty of things that occur in my day-to-day life now that I laugh off, or take an assertive stance on, which I would have let silently eat away at me as a younger gal.

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  21. Wow, thank you for sharing that story, hun.

    Seriously, who the eff says something like that?

    I know what you mean, though. It's amazing when you look back on things in your life and you can't believe how blind you were - especially when it comes to bad relationships like that.

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  22. This is such a beautifully written post darling.
    I too found myself in a "relationship" when I was younger that hurt me the same way, not allowing me to be myself and constantly trying to win some sort of affection. Even after two years he wouldn't say we were "together" because he was such a jerk.
    Now, I look at my handsome boyfriend cuddled up on the couch with our three big ol puppies and I wonder how I ever thought I should settle or deserve anything but the one who was meant for me.

    xoxo,
    Tara O.

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  23. Wow! What an ass! But I do know what you mean about those mistakes we make with other people, and how they are so worth it. I had one of those too except the comments he made were more like "you're going out wearing THAT?" or something. Such a jerk, but worthwhile because of what I learned.

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  24. Love everything about this. Your posts are amazing and inspiring, thanks for always sharing. Reading this made me think of how far I've come. Thank you!

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  25. Absolutely true! I wouldn't trade any of my mistakes, because they led to knowing without a doubt what I've done right. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  26. Haha - I absolutely love this story. It's strange how one small moment can stick with you for so long and mean so much. Or even one phrase that you remember so clearly...

    I went to an all girls high school, and I swear, we ate more during those parties than any high school male - appetizers, dinner and dessert - the whole shabang. And yes, we always finished our dessert. And we loved every second of it.

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  28. I enjoyed reading your froyo memories! It may not be the kind of ending you want, what matters now are the life lessons that it taught you. Has froyo become your comfort food?

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