When the guy at Sprouts thinks you’re hitting on him

I don’t think I’ve ever been rejected without actually being interested in someone first.

Until now.

I was in Sprouts the other day, and I was trying to process what had been a really rough afternoon. I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail about it right now, but my current work situation has not been good. At all. I was hoping that the rest of the evening would not involve any instances that would make me feel just blah.

But it turns out that my wish for a Pollyanna ending to the day would have to wait.

I was getting some gummy bears out of the bin things there, and some fella was in the same area. He made a comment along the lines of “that’s a lot of candy for someone your size” (to quote Kelly Kapoor and Dr. Mindy Lahiri, “how dare you?”), and I told him that I am just really passionate about gummies. But then I felt the need to promote the Sprouts gummy bears. People, if you haven’t tried them, please do so soon. Then I also recommended that he try the penguin gummies at Trader Joe’s because their tummies are filled with a gooey center. I made sure to remind him, though, that the golden bag of HARIBO bears always win in the end.

Let me get one thing clear here that you might already know about me: I love talking to people. I tend to strike up conversations with strangers on the regular, no matter where I am and with whom I’m talking. I just really like people.

Apparently this one thought I liked him a bit too much.

“Thanks for letting me know. But before this conversation goes any further, you seem sweet and cute in your own little way, but I just wanna say that I’m not really looking for anything right now.”

Wait, what? Complete misunderstanding, bud.

I said the first thing that popped into my head that wasn’t insulting: “Good to know. But I’m not really looking for anything right now but good gummy bears.”

I’ve been rejected before, but at least I usually made efforts in those instances. All I had to do for this homeboy to kick me to a curb I had no intentions of encountering was make mere conversation about one of the best candy options out there. Really, guy?

Oh. Hey, ocean. I heart you.

If this had happened years ago, I think I would have been more bothered by his immediate response to turn me down, especially with the whole “cute in your own little way” comment. That didn’t really get to me, though—I was more disturbed by the fact that I couldn’t even have a conversation with a guy without him thinking that I was hitting on him. I suppose I should appreciate his honesty, but perhaps he should have waited to make sure I was actually interested in him before telling me that I’m not the one who can capture his heart.

(By the way, I will say that this fella was attractive, but I wasn’t attracted to him. Trust me, it makes sense.)

I know that my level of singleness hasn’t changed since I was in the womb—and that can be a bit defeating at times, especially as everyone around me continues to get married and start families—but that is certainly no reason to get upset about yet another guy not wanting to pursue me. I mean, I need someone who is actually going to care a little bit more about my love for gummy bears, anyway. He’s not that guy.

It made me think about someone I thought was that guy, though.

For a while, he cared about the things I liked, and he cared about what I thought about him. He cared about me (or so I thought), and I cared about what he thought about me. I don’t like caring what people think, though I know we often care about what the people we care about think of us (that was a mouthful). However, there’s a difference between caring and letting those opinions change your own opinions of yourself or help to define who you are in any way.

When the guy I actually had feelings for suddenly didn’t seem to care about me anymore, I immediately wondered what was wrong with me. I don’t particularly like admitting that, because I don’t particularly like that one person had so much influence on the way I saw myself. I am enough as I am, and no one’s opinion of me or treatment of me can change that at all.

Ever.

The water was cold, but we actually (sort of) got in it.

When my friend Hannah and I were on our way home from Laguna Beach on Saturday, we were singing Disney songs at the top of our lungs in her car. I’m not even close to being a good singer, but that didn’t stop me from singing as if I’m actually Mariah’s soul sister. Hannah doesn’t care about that, though, and that’s the way it should be. We should be comfortable being ourselves at all times—whether we’re on excursions with our friends or in a room full of people we don’t know yet. I don’t have to win my friends’ hearts, and I don’t need to try to win any guy’s heart, either.

He should want me to have it for free.

I hope you never let someone else’s words or actions toward you make you feel like you’re not enough. No matter what anyone else thinks, you’re worthy of love and capable of love. Please don’t forget that.

And please don’t let that determine how many gummy bears you get at Sprouts.

Don’t let them become missed opportunities

Sometimes we let fears and uncertainties hinder us from grasping opportunities put in front of us, and we can miss out on some wonderful things.

Like gummy bears.

I try not to let myself have regrets in life—everything happens for a reason, and we take the paths we do with purpose. But I have to acknowledge that there are definitely moments in my life that I look back upon and wish I had done things differently.

When I was in the eighth grade, I had a huge crush on this boy who probably didn’t notice me much. At a school dance that year, there was a moment when a slow song came on, and he was standing all alone. Part of me wanted to walk up to him and ask him to dance with me, but the part of me that feared rejection won that battle. I wish I had been braver. What’s the worst that could have happened? Sure, he could have said, “Eww, gross. No.” That would not have been the best situation, but I would have survived it.

Flash forward to the next year, and I quite literally hid from another opportunity. I was on my way back to class one day, and the halls were completely empty—except for the one person (a different guy I had a crush on) walking in the opposite direction as I was. I had a choice to make: I could walk by him and not acknowledge him, or I could say hi and play it cool. I chose option C and dodged into the nearest classroom, which happened to be full of all seniors. I awkwardly stood with my back against the door like I was a fugitive on the run as their confused eyes stared at this strange freshman who said nothing but, “Just give me a minute” before disappearing as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I wish I had simply walked past him and greeted him. It seems really ridiculous that I didn’t, and I wasted a chance to be brave.

Then there was last week, when I let a prime opportunity slip right through my fingertips. A couple of my coworkers and I went to get snow cones for lunch (as any normal healthy adults would do), and this is no standard snow cone place—it is THE REAL DEAL. You can mix ice cream inside the snow cone, you can get cream-type ones, and you can even get toppings. TOPPINGS, people. I stood there like a fool, truly wanting to get gummy bears on top, but when it came time for me to order, I requested only the birthday cake snow cone. Gummy bears are my favorite candy in the entire world, and I didn’t get them. It’s not like the extra $0.25 for the topping would break the bank. I was slightly hesitant because I thought maybe the gummy bears would get too cold (even though they taste great that way) or that maybe the snow cone maker wouldn’t put enough of them on there. Whatever the reason, I didn’t get the gummy bears—and I was immediately sad about that. Yes, the snow cone place is still there, and I’m sure I’ll return there (and make the right decision next time), but it was a chance for something great that I let pass me by.

I typically don’t pass up the opportunity to ride a Ferris wheel.

The truth is that we get a number of opportunities every single day. Some of them don’t seem so monstrous in the grand scheme of things, while others are pretty huge decisions we make. We only get to do this whole life thing once, and I think it’s important to take advantage of the chances you get—especially the ones that, deep down in your heart, you truly want to do. At least you’ll have answers rather than sitting back later and wondering what would have happened if you simply would have dared to chase your dreams, dared to love, dared to speak words straight from your heart, dared to trust, dared to hope, dared to forget about comfort zones for a moment in time, dared to let yourself be bold.

And dared to live with a passion that is, as Barney Stinson would say, legendary.

I’ve been trying to live so that I seize opportunities, and as the snow cone incident proves, I have a ways to go. But I do try to remind myself how short life really is in the big picture—and it goes by so quickly. There are so many moments that we could enjoy that we don’t. There are so many chances that should be taken that aren’t. There are so many possibilities that never come to be because we don’t let them.

It’s not always easy to be brave, and life can certainly throw some pretty intimidating situations your way. But sometimes those are the best ones—the ones that make you uncomfortable yet ultimately bring you peace and help you grow. Whether it’s for love or for gummy bears or for yourself, sometimes you simply have to go for it.

Because you don’t want to find yourself eating such a wonderful snow cone but wishing it had an even sweeter topping.