It’s interesting what can inspire you or provoke your thoughts. I was at the grocery store earlier this week and when checking out I was asked a question. The same question that I always get when shopping at good ole HT, “Is plastic ok?” And, like always, I quickly nodded my head yes, without thinking, and went on to pay. I don’t know if its just me or if anyone else feels this way, but it’s like there’s pressure to just say yes. Pressure to just comply with what they are asking as if I’m helping them out or making their job easier. It’s funny the things we can make up in our minds. I’m sure in reality the cashier could care less which type of bag I take home my groceries in.
I’m sure at this point you’re wondering where I’m going with this, or there’s a very viable chance you think I’m a little batty, but I promise there is a reason. As I was leaving the store the question, “Is plastic ok?” ran through my head and made me a little irritated. Walking to my car, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!
Now, let me preface, I’d had a rough day. This was the week between Christmas and New Years where everyone smart had taken vacation time and I was left to sit in the office….alone….with nothing to do….so I’ll admit I was a little bitter. Replaying the question in my head I all of a sudden had this monologue going, a rant, rather and without even remembering driving, I was home.
“Is plastic ok? Why no, actually, plastic is NOT ok. I always mean to say paper. Paper is better for the environment. I’d actually reuse the paper bags for so many things. They are sturdy and tall and I hate those stupid plastic grocery bags! In fact, since you’re asking, I’d actually rather use my reusable grocery bags that somehow I leave in my car EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Ugh, why do I always say yes to the plastic?!”
Is it the imaginary pressure I feel? My anxiety telling me just to comply, just to appease? Maybe, I’m not sure, but I do know that it made me realize I monotonously answer simple daily questions like this all the time when most of the time I probably really have a certain feeling toward whatever it may be or I may really want to answer differently. Whether it is because I don’t want to “rock the boat” or make the other person uncomfortable or whether i feel like I am making it easier for the other person or whether my anxiety is just telling me to comply, It’s stupid! This silly experience made me realize that there is only one me and this is my life and I need to be honest with my feelings, my answers, my thoughts, no matter how it affects anyone else because at the end of the day all of those things matter and I should’t have to compromise my feelings or thoughts for anyone else no matter how trivial I think they might be.
When I first set out on this journey to use my voice and hopefully help others like me find and use their voice too, I had a very narrow image of what having a voice even meant to me. I was thinking big picture like making sure I’m never in the position to be abused again or not letting people blatantly walk over me type thing, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Even answering “no” to the question, “Is plastic ok?”, when I’d rather have paper, IS using my voice.
With it being New Year’s Eve, I’m not big on New Years Resolutions. I used to be, it used to be exciting, and then at the same time disappointing because they were always short lived and then I would go as far as labeling myself as a failure. I think I always just set my sights too high and said things like “this year I‘m going to do X, Y, or Z every single day”….and then as soon as I missed one day, because my best friend is anxiety and my second best friend is it’s first cousin Mr. OCD, that was the end of that. So, now I just try to set intentions. Intentions that I can be mindful of, that are obtainable and achievable. This year my intention will be to continue to use my voice, not only for the “big” things, but the “small” too.
Happy New Year and may you too set the best of intentions for 2018 and always choose the best for yourself, choose paper or those reusable bags you paid for and always leave in your car. Choose whatever feels right to you and don’t worry about it!