On the 31st of every month, Baskin Robbins sells single scoop ice cream cones for $1.31. I know this, because back in May, I signed up for every restaurants email list for the #BirthdayGiveBack campaign and have never unsubscribed. Also, because I like ice cream.
On August 31st, my roommates and I walked to Baskin Robbins to cash in on the reduced dessert. As always, I spent minutes pouring over each flavor as if there would be something better than chocolate chip cookie dough. But then I saw it: Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Obviously, the best choice.
“What are you getting?” my roommate asked.
“I’m going to be super cliché and get pumpkin cheesecake.”
And the second those words left my mouth I regretted it.
What was cliché about me ordering an ice cream flavor that I knew I would love? Was I really concerned about being the white girl in Harlem ordering a pumpkin cheesecake ice cream cone?
Yes. I was.
Because for some reason our culture falls into three main factions every fall – people who unabashedly enjoy their pumpkin spice lattes, leggings, and UGG boots, people who like to shame those who do, and people like me – who fall in the first category of loving pumpkin everything, but fear the second category of haters so find myself constantly apologizing for my taste buds.
A few weeks later, I bought pumpkin English muffins. Not because they were out of whole wheat (my go-to) but because I genuinely thought they would be interesting to try. And you know what? When I took my pumpkin muffin to work and smothered it in almond butter, it tasted exactly how October makes me feel. It was everything beautiful about autumn wrapped up into one breakfast treat.
I felt like heaven had opened up at my desk.
And the response from a friend about my purchase?
Pumpkin English muffins? Really?
Because pumpkin is delicious. Because I love pumpkin pie and pumpkin rolls. I think pumpkin cheesecake is divine and any ice cream with an ounce of pumpkin flavoring is fine by me. I like pumpkin flavors in my breakfast breads and if I liked coffee, I would probably enjoy the heck of out of a pumpkin spice latte.
I don’t know where this dynamic came from that tells you if you are a 15-30 year old woman who wants to snuggle into her leggings and oversized infinity scarf with a pumpkin spice latte that you are “basic.”
I don’t know when it became okay to shame anyone on their choice of coffee or bagel. I don’t know when it was endearing to make fun of women for wearing leggings and scarves and other things that make us feel comfortable.
It’s okay to like Fall. It’s okay to want to go on long walks through the park and kick up leaves. It’s okay to Instagram your coffee and your girls’ night and your super healthy salad even if you don’t Instagram the fact that you definitely ate four cookies after the salad.
That doesn’t make you basic.
Despite what all the Buzzfeed articles in the world will tell you about being a “basic white girl,” you’re allowed to like pumpkin flavored things. And I repeat, it doesn’t make you basic. So Instagram the heck out of the fall foliage. Take cute pictures in the pumpkin patch. Wear your leggings and your boots and your scarves. Burn your “harvest” scented candle and slide around in fuzzy socks and flannels. Drink hot chocolate from a giant mug and tweet about how #blessed you feel.
You’re not basic just because you’re doing something that lots of people like. You’re not a stereotype or a cliché or a follower.
You’re simply a woman who knows that PSL is what will get her through this week. So raise your Starbucks cup in the air, Instagram your pumpkin muffin, enjoy the fall, and please, don’t let anyone tell you what is cool or uncool.
The only way to be lame is to not choose something you like because of the opinions of others.
Here’s to a happy fall, doing things that make us feel blessed to be here.