Sunday, September 25, 2011
What Are You Afraid Of?
On my road trip back to IU, my cousin and I found ourselves in need of a good latte and a little relaxation. We wandered into a coffee shop in West Jordan, Utah, sat down with drinks in hand and each grabbed a book that interested us. I chose The Best Travel Writing of ... some year I can't remember. But, I do remember one essay that left an impression on me.
The author was describing her experience of staying at a luxury hotel in Los Angeles where she had fond memories visiting during her childhood. One of things she took great delight in were the warm chocolate chip cookies that the staff placed on her pillow each night as part of their turn down service. She said that the little piece of oozing, sweet goodness was a way of finishing the day with "good taste in her mouth" - a reminder that every day you deserve things that bring you joy.
With this chocolatey memory in mind, she checked into the hotel wanting to give her body and soul a healthy dose of self love. However, as she ate dinner in the hotel that night, she couldn't help but notice how things had changed. The menu might have been different, the decor changed here and there, but the biggest change was in the mindset of the guests. With a batch of fresh, crusty rolls nestled inside a napkin lined basket, a server walked by offering these just made delicacies only to receive responses of "No thanks," "I'm fine," and "Oh, I couldn't eat that. It's not on my diet." The guests she watched didn't just brush off the offer of freshly baked bread, they fervently pushed it out of their realm of thought. It was as if they were afraid to think about eating it, let alone set one of their plate.
That night, as she wandered up to her room, she was comforted in thinking about the cookie surprise that was soon to greet her. She opened the door, expecting the smell of sugar to waft out. Instead, the odor was clean sheets and some "soothing scented" air freshener. Her shoulders drooped and she sighed. Apparently, their new clientele wasn't the cookie-going type either. In their need to push out thoughts of a simple, sweet bite of bliss, they dissolved the moment of joy she was hoping to receive.
I think about those who constantly push away the bread basket, look only at the no-carb portion of the menu and never seem to have a ounce of space left in their stomach for dessert - not even a bite. Where did their love of food disappear to? At what point did people start analyzing every portion of their meal to the point where they have trained themselves to be afraid of eating a harmless, little cookie?
This Friday, we had a "girls night in" and made frothy, melty milkshakes with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and of course, sprinkles. It was so refreshing to sip our creamy concoctions and whole-heartedly enjoy it! We didn't "indulge" - we treated ourselves to something we love and something we deserved. It was a great reminder that it's okay to have a milkshake. It's okay to savor a dessert. It's okay to relish in a moment of sugary contentment. In fact, it's moments like that that you should never be afraid of.