When I was a teenager, I decided that I wanted to be one of those people who enjoyed yoghurt. I wanted to like it, because in my mind, yoghurt-eating-people were just better people. The same as tea-drinkers and people who eat cereal without sugar.
I had formed this theory at a very young age, following time spent in the home of a childhood friend, named ThatGirl*.
ThatGirl’s family were farm people. Her mum wore thick, heavy skirts with patchwork houses sewn onto them. Her dad was extremely tall, with a soft voice and a kind smile.
Their house was just around the corner from mine, and where my house was new, and modern, hers was old and sweet and cottage-like. It was always cold inside, but not in a bad way. It was cold in a quiet, well-behaved kind of way.
At ThatGirl’s house, shoes were taken off before you went inside. In my house, we were yelling and screaming at each other far too often to hear mum sigh “Girls, please. Take your shoes off”, as she struggled through the door beneath bags of groceries that we didn’t bother to help her carry.
At ThatGirl’s house, school uniforms came off the moment you got home. I would crumple mine from hitching it up to sit cross-legged on the floor, playing Mortal Kombat. I would spill dinner on it from concentrating on The Simpsons instead of what I was eating, and then I’d throw it on the floor, with the rest of my clothes, for mum to collect, clean and iron.
Such contrasts in family life could not go unnoticed, and I began to form completely unfounded opinions based around these differences.
For instance, I began to view anyone who drank tea rather than coffee as a person to emulate. People who drink tea probably also write letters to relatives and say “gosh” instead of “god”.
People who needed to ask their parents’ permission to drink a glass of coke probably also never got sent to the car at every family barbecue, like I did. To be fair, they probably didn’t pretend to be a dog like I did, either.
Most of all, I believed that the key to being The Perfect Person, was by eating breakfast. It had nothing to do with forcing myself to be more responsible or anything.
Nope. All about the breakfast.
Every day, breakfast, I mean. Not just “Bacon and Eggs on Sundays because Mum’s Not at Work” breakfast, but a real, proper, healthy breakfast.
ThatGirl had wholegrain toast with marmalade or a bowl of muesli with fresh fruit. She had a glass of orange juice, or a glass of milk.
I had chocolate bavarian and coke, because Nan refused to send me to school on an empty stomach.
In high school, I recalled that old theory of mine, and decided to aim for perfection once more – maybe as a teenager I would be able to handle breakfast, yoghurt, or tea?
Guess what?! I totally handled the shit out of yoghurt.
I handled it so well that I went through a 2 Litre tub every day for almost a month. I didn’t become a better person, I just became a much larger person who now had extra chins to spare.
I am now 31, and I am also a month and a half into being a non-smoker. It is the first time in 18 years that nicotine hasn’t flooded my body, and once again, I find myself trying to be a “good person”.
This time, I’m aiming higher than “yoghurt-enjoying” good person status, though. This time, it’s all or nothing.
The first day I tried eating a healthy breakfast, it took 2 hours for me to struggle through 100g yoghurt, 1/4 cup muesli and a handful of berries. Today, a week and a bit later, I’m down to just 1 hour.
If I keep practising, who knows where I could be in six months, a year?
Perseverance: If I can use it to make myself enjoy cold, wet cereal first thing in the morning, anyone can! *tooth sparkle*
(PS. Yay, No smoking!)
*not her real name.
Image credit: -Marcus-