Leave Me Alone
readers, haters who don’t know me,
It happens every time. I sit myself down at a restaurant, glaze over the menu for a few minutes, and come to my regular decision about what to order. As the waiter comes around, I avoid eye contact as to not be the first one to order. The trick is to say that avoided phrase in the middle of a discussion, because most remember the first and last thing that is said. While your first two friends place their order, you anticipate the moment that the waiter looks up from his check to get yours. You inhale, waiting for your eyes to lock.
Finally, BAM! It’s your turn. You glance around, whispering quickly but clearly:
“I’ll have a plain hamburger with nothing on it.”
And, so it begins.
WHAT? A PLAIN hamburger? Not even cheese?!
Becca, you want at least cheese. Sir, she wants cheese.
How do you not want even mayo? Are you sure? Just the meat and the bun?!
All I want to know is . . . why are you so offended that I want a plain burger? It’s what I want. You’re not eating it. You don’t even have to watch me eat it!
Leave. Me. Alone.
Why is it human nature to hate things that don’t make sense to us? Is it because we come with different perspectives and want to help see a new, “more delicious” side of life? Is it because we love to judge people until we are afraid to share ANYTHING in our lives, even if it’s good?
I get it, my burger would be more delicious with mayo, mustard, bacon, lettuce, and that weird egg thing all you adventurers out there love. But not everyone wants everything but the kitchen sink on their burger.
More importantly, you don’t know me. And let’s be real, the hardest critics are the ones that rarely do. You don’t know that I’m allergic to cheese and gag at the sight of mayo. You are judging my burger and don’t even know what’s best for my own health. You are forcing your kitchen sink burger down my throat, and I never even asked for it! So, I’m respectfully asking you to leave me alone.
Leave me alone when I’m in middle school and don’t have a Coach purse.
Leave me alone when I’m in high school and have never had a boyfriend.
Leave me alone when I’m in college and dream about being a writer, a dancer, a businesswoman, a doctor, and a mom, all at the same time.
Leave me alone when I’m in my early twenties and want to get married.
Leave me alone when I’m in my thirties, and everyone has a baby but me.
Leave me alone when I’m in my forties and want to start a new career.
Because listen, KAREN, not everyone gets the kitchen sink burger. Some of us order a plain burger with nothing on it (Not to be confused with “just plain” which still somehow always comes with dang ketchup). Although you might just be trying to help, your judgement about what I’m eating or NOT eating is nothing but stressful. It makes me overanalyze all the difficult choices life throws at me. All because what I choose is different than what you choose.
Why can’t that 7th grader just rock a Target purse? Why does that high schooler have to have a crush? Why is it taboo for that college kid to aspire beyond her wildest dreams? Why can’t she get married to the love of her life at 21? Why do you care if she waits until she’s ready to have a baby? Why not start a business at 50?
Let me grow in each stage of my life. Let me succeed. Let me fail. Let me do something different and feel something different. Let me find beauty in my own path.
Because then, I think I might be able to go on over to Local Republic and get one of those kitchen sink burgers. Maybe I really am missing something! But if I’m not, and I still want that plain burger with nothing on it…
Love me. Encourage me. Be proud of me.
And don’t you dare suggest mayo.