I grew up primarily in southwestern Pennsylvania and like many families in the area, potatoes were a big part of family meals, especially dinners. I never particularly cared for potatoes but in my house you ate what you were served.
Mashed, scalloped, twice baked, you name it, we had it. Every meal. Sometimes we had french fries or hash browns or tator tots. Or another, lesser known variety, the crispy crown. It was a lot of potatoes. With all of those variations of potatoes you would think I would have found one that I liked. I didn’t.
I don’t like potatoes.
I don’t even really like potato chips very much.
I know it’s almost unheard of and it is decidedly un-American but I can’t help it, I just don’t like them. And I’ve eaten enough potatoes in my life to be able to make that declaration with confidence.
I distinctly remember the day I stopped eating potatoes. I was home from college for the weekend and my mother made dinner. I sat down and loaded up my plate with vegetables then reached for the mashed potatoes. It had become habit for me to take a small amount of potatoes and choke them down out of expectation.
That day though, I had an “a-ha” moment. I was 18. I had moved out of the house. I was an adult and I could eat whatever I wanted.
And I didn’t want potatoes.
In a coming of age moment of triumph I put down the serving spoon and announced, “I’m 18 and I don’t like potatoes so I’m not having any.”
That moment was a long time and I haven’t eaten too many potatoes since. If you want me to eat a potato your best bet is to serve me a french fry dipped in ranch dressing or a crispy, seasoned curly fry. Or layer a potato with so much cheese and sour cream I don’t even know there is potato mixed in.
This post really isn’t about potatoes. It’s about knowing yourself, taking charge of your life, and making the decisions that are right for you.
If that means you declare your independence one night at dinner over a vat of mashed potatoes, then so be it.
You be you. Love yourself. Choose yourself. Be true to yourself. Potatoes are optional.