Yesterday morning I stopped in Whole Foods to grab a few items. I reached for a bag of their signature popcorn. I prefer the plain, but decided to go with the olive oil flavor instead. It struck me that all the other flavors (e.g., cheese, herbal) were $1.59, but the olive oil was $1.79. With a shrug I dropped the bag into my hand basket and resumed my shopping.
Every open cash register had several people ahead of me, and every single person had quite a few items. As I stood on line, my eyes wandering over the various magazines about healthy living, I began to think about the price of the olive oil flavored popcorn, and trying to decide whether I should purchase it or not. Or just go and get the plain popcorn instead. The longer I stood on line, the more the 20 cents difference nagged me. It wasn’t about the cost so much, because 20 cents is nothing. It was more about the “why” behind the extra cost that I began to overthink. What was so special about olive oil? It’s not as though the olive oil flavored popcorn was gourmet! The so-called olive oil flavor is really, really subtle; you can hardly taste it.
By the time I was able to put my items on the conveyor belt, I wanted an explanation for the difference in cost. I broached the subject with the cashier, and she shrugged, and in a flippant way said, “I think it’s ’cause it has an olive oil flavor. Are you sure they aren’t all a dollar-seventy-nine?” I replied with a shake of my head and said they were all $1.59 but for the olive oil flavored popcorn. “Well,” she shrugged, yet again. “It’s probably ’cause it’s olive oil. I can have someone check the price if you want.” I told her not to bother, primarily because there were other customers behind me. Before walking off, I inquired as to where I could talk to the store’s manager. She directed me accordingly.
When I addressed this subject with the person at Customer Service (and he was not the manager), I got the same sorta flippant It’s the olive oil response. I felt myself getting closer and closer to becoming bitchie. I know the feeling when it’s coming, as do most women. Yet by the time we sense that inner bitch starting to emerge, that bull side we manage to hide so well in polite company has already caught a glimpse of the crimson hue. Thus, the bitch in us takes charge. Some women make an effort to shut it down. We know, down in our core, it’s petty.
I do the work. I own it when I know I am not showing up in the way I often discuss in this blog. So I can say that despite “doing the work” and knowing that I was getting bitchier by the second, I still wanted them to agree with me. I wanted them to tell me, “You’re right, Whole Foods Customer” (because the customer is always right), but not one cashier would go there. This only intensified my need to hear it even more. Sometimes we just need to bitch! It never is about what is happening in the moment (i.e., Whole Foods olive oil popcorn). Of course, whatever is happening in the moment that makes us release our inner bitch plays a part, to be sure. But if we are doing the work, we know how to tame that inner bitch. So the thing that’s happening in the moment is more the effect; it’s not the origin, its cause.
Every woman’s inner bitch is about other stuff from two weeks ago or as far back as three years ago, or potentially even farther in our life story. At the time we thought we handled whatever it was, or we buried it beneath all the other I’ll-deal-with-later stuff. It’s the baggage we continue to haul around because we aren’t even aware there’s an issue that has gone too long without some form of attention. Indisputably, pent-up emotions exacerbate. Even though we were remarkably cool when situations were deleterious in the past; and we even managed to keep our inner bitch in check and came from a place of Namaste, it might as well have been a tumor the size of a pea that developed into the shape of a golf ball–it gets larger and goes deeper when we fail to identify its source or purpose. Before we roll our baby browns/blues/grays and pop our necks, it’s beneficial when we breathe. If we are doing the work, we will cringe once we’ve returned to the breath and see clearly that the eye-rolling and neck-popping is an overreaction. It helps with our self-esteem, and even more so for our emotional wellbeing, to take a moment and seek out what it is we’re failing to own.
While talking to the cashier at Customer Service, I attempted to stop the banal and sarcastic “Seriously?” from making its way to the tip of my tongue. That satirical Seriously is a quintessential expression for moments like my Whole Foods moment. When we cannot believe what we are seeing or hearing, and even if we know it is what it is, we are in that Seriously? mind-set. The Whole Foods cashier at Customer Service was so bloody cavalier, and I really wanted to get in his face; and I wanted him to stop being so indifferent. Because I do the work, I knew it before I walked out of Whole Foods that the olive oil flavored popcorn had little to do with my state of mind. And now as I reflect, I see my Whole Foods incident with amazing clarity.
There are those moments though, when we need an excuse to release our inner bitch!