You can be a compassionate friend, a deep thinker, a loving daughter, an activist, a self-taught aerial silks artist, and still, still, people will put you into a box—a box full of your own surprising combinations of yogurt toppings. It’s not that I’m ashamed of who I am; my daring flavor insights are my gift. Maybe my expectations for others’ behavior are too high, but when I stop into 16 Handles to get a quick treat, I want people to look past my expertly curated selection of mix-ins and see the real me.
I contain multitudes. And I’m not just talking about a multitude of creative yogurt topping combos.
I’m tired of being treated differently just because I invented kiwi + cheesecake bites + peanut butter cups + marshmallow sauce + pretzels. I’m a human being with many facets and flaws.
It’s not like I can ignore it, either. Complete strangers will point right at me and make loud comments like, “Wow, I wouldn’t have even thought of putting shredded coconut on the graham cracker yogurt!” As if I’m some sort of public spectacle! What I really hate is when they just stare. I can feel their eyes on the back of my hands as I drizzle honey over raw almonds and peaches, presuming I’m just a yogurt topping God. I know I should expect that sort of daredevil feat of gastronomy to attract attention, but what am I supposed to do to be perceived in my entirety? Lower myself to everyone else’s standards and just put M&M’s on everything?
Our society should do better when it comes to its treatment of its froyo visionaries.
I wish I could say it was better with my friends. Getting a group text asking “who’s up for ‘yo?” used to excite me. Now I break into a nervous sweat at every notification. I put on a brave face and a dry top when we go out, but on the inside, I’m still sweating. After I’ve crafted the perfect flavor profile to match everyone’s unique personality and dietary needs, there’s nary a question about what else is going on in my life. Even after a medium cup of Carrot Cake with walnuts, brown sugar, and craisins, I’m left feeling empty.
Sometimes I ask myself why I even put myself through this. I fantasize about quitting making these masterpieces of frozen mixology. But why should I deny myself this not-so-guilty pleasure, which I only get, like, once every three days at the absolute most, unless I’ve had a long day and it’s right on my way home? Just once I would like to talk about my opinions on the rainforest (it’s too big)! But until society can see that Green Tea obviously goes with Rice Krispies without my intervention, I’ll be fighting to stay adrift in a sea of frozen probiotic cultures.