Lemons. Bright, happy, yellow lemons. All of a sudden, they’re everywhere. Hmmm.
We hadn’t thought about this or even noticed it until last Saturday, when we met at Paper Source to look for some holiday gifts. Laura gets stuck looking at the beautiful, new wrapping paper. Angie’s cracking up in the card section (btw don’t mock - those cards are funny AF - see our insta story for some of her faves). Unplanned, we reunite at the same table in the middle of the store. And we stand there - silent, wide-eyed, slightly paralyzed. It’s not really a table, it’s more like a giant, life-size-tiered-dessert-display. And everything on it is yellow - bright, happy, shiny, lemony yellow.
We want everything on the table. We want the bright yellow lemony hand towels. We want the bright yellow lemony jewelry dish (it says ‘hello sunshine’ on it, come on). We want the bright yellow lemony coffee mugs. What’s happening?
Later that day.
L: have u always liked lemons?
A: i don’t think so
A: i mean I didn’t ever really think about lemons
A: but i guess i do like them
A: a lot
A: do you like lemons?
L: i never thought about it before either
L: but i think i love them
There are more than just lemons everywhere. There are white and gray kitchens. There are dogs named Luna and there’s cauliflower rice. There are boys named Will (not Bill or Billy but Will), and there’s slightly flavored seltzer. There were skinny jeans, then high waisted jeans, then bell bottoms. There were orchids but now there are succulents, and there are so many tequila choices. There are ramen restaurants, zucchini noodles and labradoodles. There are goldendoodles and bernadoodles and schnoodles. And cockapoos and maltipoos and yorkiepoos. There are furry boots and pom pom hats. We switch from silver jewelry to gold and then back to silver again. We paint our nails with Essie’s ballet slippers, then smokin’ hot, then wicked. We wear our hair in ponytails, then top knots, then beachy waves. We get perms and use diffusers, then switch to keratin and hair straighteners. We create thin eyebrows, then desperately try to create thick eyebrows. We drive black jeeps. We drink cold brew. We say things like meh and ghosting and wait, what?
Wait, what? Turns out we really are sheep.
Again, later that day.
L: ru mad?
L: that i got the same yellow jewelry dish as u today?
L: i know how you don’t like when people copy you :)
A: i don’t mind when it’s a yellow jewelry dish
L: so when do u mind?
L: what’s in the don’t-copy-me department?
L: just so i know
L: going forward
A: pretty much everything else
A: does that clarify things?
A: but if you need some examples
A: probs don’t get the same pom pom hat as me
A: or ask me where i got my new workout pants
A: or what nail polish color i’m wearing
A: i know i know
A: i have a problem
A: ok, i’ll tell u what nail polish color i’m wearing
L: (at least) you know it annoys you
L: so i might mess with u
L: and get those new workout pants
L: just to see your reaction
A: dare ya
A: i wouldn’t blame u
A: they’re cute as hell
A: and not very original
A: bc i guess i am a sheep
A: most times
A: even if i fight it
A: i like being part of a herd
L: me too
You see, we’ve spent our entire lives in a theoretical fight against being sheep. Growing up we obsessively watched movies like Grease and Pretty in Pink and Breakfast Club, all the while thinking we were trying to emulate the girl who stood out, the girl who had conviction and did her own thing. But c’mon, it’s hard not to want furry boots, a goldendoodle and pom pom hats. We know that it’s better to take the road less traveled, we know that it’s important to dare to be different, to just do you, to be original. Yet we stand in front of a lemony display table and want everything on it. Oh, the irony.
As it turns out, we’re not the only ones having this a-ha revelation and noticing this lifelong internal struggle. Decades ago someone defined teenagers as ‘people who express a burning desire to be different by dressing exactly alike.’ And Robert Orben described a graduation ceremony as ‘an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.’ Wait, is this what they mean when they say the struggle is real?
It’s hard to fight the bright, happy, shiny, yellow lemons. We want to follow the crowd even though we also want to be fiercely independent. But maybe we can be both, the sheep and the shepherd. Maybe some days we can enjoy being one of the herd, and other days we can be the girl who takes the fork in the road and climbs to the top of the hill, all by herself.