Bagels and Onion Rolls


This post isn’t about food. Sorry to disappoint.

One of my favorite movies is Funny Girl. Barbra Streisand does an epic job of portraying Fannie Brice. I grew up watching it every week and had every line memorized.

One of my favorite moments occurs when Fannie tells the producer that she’s “a bagel on a plate full of onion rolls”. She doesn’t fit in. She doesn’t fit the mold of what folly girls should look like. And, she definitely doesn’t act like all the other girls, either.

She struggles some with conforming to standards, but ultimately realizes that being true to who she is, is the best route to take. And, it propels her up the success ladder.

Why do we compare ourselves to others? Why struggle to maintain what society or peers deem to be the makings of a successful life?

Growing up, for the longest time, I struggled with the attempt to be “normal”. Hell, it even lasted well into my twenties, when purchasing a brand new garden home was the cool thing to do. It only took me 6 years to correct that mistake.

Nothing about me has ever been normal. Friends and family wanted me to study to be a doctor, or an engineer, and while I had the makings of both, I chose to major in Fine Art, something I loved. I didn’t take my husband’s name when we got married. I wanted to keep mine. Why other people don’t get that, I will never know. I get hell for it all the time. I don’t desire to have a family with 2.5 children and a picket fence. I would rather travel the world and spend every waking minute exploring other places with the man I love. I never desired a 9-5 job. I wanted to own my own empire and make my own decisions. If asked to pick my favorite ice cream flavor, it sure as hell wouldn’t be vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or rocky road. Nope, it better be something with a ton of personality: Hello, Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Those little chocolate fish crack me up!

I stopped trying to conform to others’ definitions of “normal” when I realized that I was screwing myself over. I wanted a tiny home, in an older neighborhood, that needed just the right amount of love. I wanted a passport. I wanted the ability to see and do whenever I wanted. I had none of those things and it made me feel like I was wasting life just to fit in.

Fast forward and here we are! I’m not a conformist. I do what I feel is right for me. It’s a core belief thing. You know when something is working and you know when it’s not. If you are waking up every morning lacking “something” but not able to identify what that something is, you’ve got work to do, my friend. You’ve got some soul-searching and exploring to cover in order to find where your piece fits.

Don’t jeopardize your life just to please society. There will always be someone judging you, shaking their head in disagreement with the decisions you’ve made. Screw them. Make those decisions and make SURE that the decisions you make are the ones you wanted to make, not the pressures of society pushing you to keep up with the norm.

Don’t conform. This applies to everything – clothes, work, dating. Be you. Stop looking around to see what others are doing. Stop trolling Facebook and comparing family portraits. Stop trying to outdo the neighbors with the fancier Christmas card. It’s not about them or what they think. You only move forward and out of the pack when you do something different.

I embrace the opportunities to set myself apart. It’s what makes me happiest. And, when friends and family are shocked at things I say or do, I know I’m on the right path. I care about others in my life and love people more than most, I just don’t care about what they would do in my situation. Because, they’ve kind of got their own situation going. No need to fix mine for me.

You aren’t everyone else, so don’t try to be. Be the bagel. Besides, onions make your breath stink.



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