Crooked Carrots

The other day I was shopping at the Union Square farmer’s market and I fell in love with the carrots. They were a bright, almost transparent orange, and they came in a stunning variety of sizes and shapes. Some looked as if they had legs, and arms, and torsos! They all looked so different from one another, and their variety was humorous in an odd way, like little orange people tossed about.

I picked up one that had two distinct legs, held together by a healthy trunk, and another that was fat and round. “ Who knows?”, I thought, “maybe these funny carrots will each benefit the area of my body that it resembles—legs, torso, belly.”
 
As I was walking down 2nd Avenue back home, I kept thinking about that haphazard pile of carrots. Then I thought about the generic rows of carrots at the supermarket, all the same shape and size, laid out carefully, and lifelessly. I realized that it wasn’t just the carrots. All the vegetables at the supermarket looked the same,manicured mounds of generic-looking apples and oranges, carefully crafted tufts of broccoli.

And then I realized that the entire supermarket experience thrives on this kind of reliable, bland sameness. What subtle messages we get from the culture at large--even from the supermarket! That somehow life is easier, more democratic, and more desirable, if all our choices are homogenized. All carrots look the same so why take take the time to look , touch, consider, or even smell them. Just pick up a pre-packaged bag and away you go.

I have often felt the pressure to conform, to look a certain way, eat a certain way, be a certain way. Anything so that I wouldn’t stand out. But there was so much joy in looking at these craggy, organic carrots. Maybe there is some joy, I thought, in being what I am organically; crooked or straight, fat or thin, ambitious or lazy.  As a licensed massage therapist and polarity therapy practitioner for almost 10 years, I’ve seen over 1000 human bodies. I have seen an immense diversity of size, shape, age, and color. I feel great joy in discovering what has made  each  body take  it’s particular shape, size, and form. And my heart breaks when I hear a client trying to put their body into a prescribed “ideal” box, and being angry and frustrated that ‘my body won’t do what I want it to, won’t look the way I want it to.’

If we truly want to find wellness, maybe we should follow the lead of those carrots. We are who we are because of where we grew, and where we continue to grow . Like the carrots we have found our space in this world; we have pushed through life’s resistance, and that process has given us our shape and substance. The carrots were not comparing themselves to each other, and thankfully neither did the farmer.  

Rejoice in your uniqueness. Rejoice in where you came from how you grew. Rejoice in the ways, every day, that you continue to grow through the challenges that shape you inside and out. Stop and take a moment and rejoice in how amazing it is that you are right here, right now, reading this. And then know that you are already very well.