What if I was a girl who knew what I wanted

A few years ago, I was out for an early morning breakfast with a group of professionals brainstorming ideas about a health program collaboration. It was a beautiful sunny morning and I was feeling incredibly grateful for the wonderful opportunity that was being presented to me. I will admit I also was feeling slightly overwhelmed and intimidated amongst this incredible group of go-getters. 

I knew we would be ordering soon and I was trying to find that delicate balance of looking at the menu as well as ensure active listening and engagement in the exciting conversation. As is always the case in these situations, the waitress made her way over to the table before anyone really had a chance to decide on what they wanted. No one seemed to be that phased, and got straight to the business of ordering their breakfast, after all, we are all a group of very busy people. 

There were orders of over-easy eggs with bacon, eggs Benedict with rye toast and pancakes with a side of fruit. Then it was my turn and my order looked something like this:

Could I please have the veggie omelette with no onions and is it possible to replace the cheddar cheese with feta?
Could I please substitute home-fries for tomatoes slices?
Do you have gluten-free bread? No, you don’t then is it possible to choose a side of fruit? Extra cost no problem? One quick question is the fruit fresh or in a syrup? Oh no, thank you then.
To drink? Can I please have a 1/2 decaf and 1/2 regular coffee? Do you have a milk replacement? No thank soy milk will not work it has to be almond or coconut milk. Perhaps just a green tea instead? Oh and a glass of water, no ice.

Phew, I looked around the table and felt a wave of heat go over my body. Placing my order had taken as long as the other 4 people’s combined. With a 1/2 smile, I said “typical naturopathic doctor order, that’s what you get for going out to breakfast with me” (insert awkward laugh).

The meeting continued, the breakfasts arrived and I left with feeling full, excited but still a little shameful of my high maintenance tendency. 

Later that day, back in the office I received an email from one of the people at breakfast. He is a high-performance personal coach and someone I have respected for years. It was a simple and impactful message that has stuck with me not only around food but so many other areas of my life.

It read something like, “I really sensed how uncomfortable you were after you ordered your breakfast and I want to offer you thought, instead of being a difficult you were women who knew what she wanted”

Wow! Right huge, monument-us wow. I had been apologizing for years for my needs and wants around food. Family dinners, friend BBQ’s and work meeting went 1 or 2 ways. I either compromised and felt the discomfort both mentally and physically (gluten really makes me bloat, dairy results in instant acne and I literally need to know where a bathroom is 10 minutes after consuming soy) or I would get what I wanted but feel shameful and embarrassed in doing so.

This simple phrase “what if you were a person who knew what you needed and wanted” has come up in practice too many times to count. So many people are challenged with the social and societal pressures of accepting what is presented despite how it makes them feel because they don’t want to appear needy or difficult or different. I say, embrace yourself and the wisdom that you have about your own needs. Stand up in this truth and get what you want, the people around you will get over it, I promise!