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A Coke Girl in a Pepsi World

March 29, 2011

I was at work the other day, walking to the office refrigerator to chill my Diet Coke. I opened the fridge door, placed my Diet Coke inside, and at that moment, I realized my silver and red soda can was sitting amongst a sea of Pepsi cans. (My workplace is a Pepsi-exclusive environment.)

I am a Diet Coke Girl in a Pepsi workplace, I thought to myself.

But what was fascinating is this sentiment accurately describes how I’ve felt nearly my entire life. I’ve always felt more like the loner in the crowd; the different kid on the playground. The “one of these things is not like the other.” How aptly my soda choice mirrors my own reality.

As I was growing up, I spent much of my time alone and with my own thoughts. And please don’t feel sorry for me; in many ways, I liked that. That solitude is probably what fueled my creativity and why I love writing as much as I do. But as much as I enjoyed my “me time,” it was difficult because growing up, you’re not supposed to feel that way. You’re supposed to have a group of friends to hang out with at any time. You’re supposed to want to spend time with the popular kids and not your mom. Childhood, teenage years, and high school are hard enough. But throw in those conflicting feelings and you do tend to feel like an outsider.

It wasn’t until I went to college did I feel like I fit in with my surroundings. Professionally, I’ve been lucky to find job situations that appreciated and embraced my love of Diet Coke (literally and figuratively).

However, the conflicts arise for me when my Diet Coke preference didn’t jive with the Pepsi mentality around me. And that always brings me back to the more isolated part of me; the one that reminds me I often think differently and don’t fit in the way others do.

I’m sure I’ll have moments throughout the rest of my life where I feel like a Diet Coke girl in a Pepsi world. Given my soda preference, that will literally be true at work. And that’s okay with me. I enjoying my “me time,” writing, and sipping my trusty Diet Coke.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 10:22 pm

    We are the Coke cans in a lame Pepsi world. 🙂

  2. March 30, 2011 3:08 am

    What a great post, great way to describe those feelings of being different. I’m not a coke or pepsi drinker, so it gives you an idea of how different *I* feel. So I can definitely relate. One of these days, I’ll do a similar blog; still working up the nerve to write “What you don’t know about me.” You’re a great writing inspiration. Good early morning from the other coast!

  3. March 30, 2011 4:43 am

    Good ole Co-Cola. My Mama let me have one after school every day. Back then they were in those little green bottles and cost about a nickle. Still love ’em.

    Dr. B, author, “The Mandolin Case”

  4. March 30, 2011 7:28 am

    Diet Coke rocks! It was a grim day the day our campus converted to Pepsi. I wore a black arm band for a week, mourning the loss of easy access to my favorite fix. Curse you, Pepsi! You’ll never hold a candle to the DC!

  5. March 30, 2011 1:13 pm

    You know what, Boo – I’ve always loved you BECAUSE you were the Diet Coke! You’ve always been so strong, creative and sensitive. I love your for who you are. Don’t ever change, My Big Boo ❤❤❤

  6. March 31, 2011 5:30 am

    I love the metaphor. It’s a visual image I’ll keep filed away in my little brain. I’m glad you march to your own drum, and you’re encouraging me to do the same. 🙂

  7. April 1, 2011 1:41 am

    Your story reminded me of Sheri Lopatin’s story about a chicken nugget in a veggie bag.
    being different is what sets us all apart form being average. be different, be the diet coke, be the chicken nugget, be YOU!

  8. April 1, 2011 12:04 pm

    I’m a “coke girl” too – and not just because I live in Atlanta! It seems I was born an “out of the box” gal!

    A toast (with any Coke product) to those who don’t necessarily follow the crowd!

  9. April 2, 2011 7:46 am

    What a great analogy, Leah. There’s something to be said about individuality, too – being your own person, thinking differently and not following the crowd. I say “embrace the diet Coke” and “embrace YOU.”

    What a wonderful post. Thank you.

  10. April 3, 2011 9:51 pm

    Oh wow Leah, I love this post! It resonates so deeply with me, too. I had friends and all growing up, but I was always the “weird” one. The one my friends would say, “Shari, you’re so weird.” In fact, I dealt with actual bullying through late elementary school and all of middle school. And I poured everything into my writing. Being a “Coke girl in a Pepsi world” is actually what allowed my creativity to flow and developed me into the writer I am today. Great post and insights!

    Shari

  11. April 4, 2011 11:06 am

    Leah, there’s really no ‘supposed’ to. But other’s with expectations can make us feel there is at times. Especially when we are young and impressionable. I recently read an article written by introverts that totally validated me. It listed all the geniuses who have been introverted, and posited the position that perhaps extroverts are just needy, attention hogging folks who can’t stand to be alone with themselves. LOL!
    I raise my diet coke to YOU, sister 🙂

  12. April 5, 2011 11:52 pm

    Just came across you from V.V. Denman’s blog. I can so relate! I’ve always felt a little different as well. I was also the kid that liked her “alone” time and actually liked spending time with her parents! But for the most part, I’ve grown to be okay with it. God made me this way for a reason, so I ain’t about to change it! Of course, it would probably be impossible to…

    Thanks for the thoughts!

  13. April 6, 2011 4:58 pm

    From one Coke girl to another (now imagine us boinging our cans together 🙂

    I love how you describe this feeling of being”different” & brought a visual aid!

    I had friends, too, but oh so loved my alone time. I preferred reading through the night to partying all night… preferred writing my feelings out instead of gabbing on the phone for hours… Even now as a grown-up mom I seemed to have picked a different lifestyle than the norm. To me it makes us all so much more interesting to learn about. I’m drawn to those “different” people.

  14. April 6, 2011 11:08 pm

    I am a COKE drinker and I can identify with your blog big time. I was and am a loner.

  15. April 7, 2011 6:54 am

    Great post!! I really enjoyed reading it.

  16. Sina permalink
    April 19, 2011 11:15 am

    I hear ya!

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