i used to be addicted to coca-cola. before that, it was pepsi-cola. before that, it was mountain dew. in my growing-up house, it was all called "drink." if you wanted to some pepsi, you asked for drink. not "a drink," not "the drink," just "drink." "drink" never referred to milk or juice or water. those things were called milk, juice, and water. only drink was called "drink."
somewhere along the way--in college, i think--coca-cola became my constant companion. i felt wrong--panicky, really--if i didn't have a bottle of coke with me. and during that time, coca-cola became a part of my identity. people knew me as the girl who always had a coke with her. friends teased me about it in that way that makes you feel known and loved for your quirks. and that lasted--with one small break--until i was about 34 years old.
that was when the caffeine caught up with me. "drink" is just flat-out awful for your health, no matter how you slice it, and apparently i had used up my lifetime allotment of caffeine in just 34 years. i started having heart palpitations like crazy, and for a girl whose dad died of a heart attack at age 55, that shit was very, very scary. so i had to quit coca-cola. in fact, i quit all drink.
yes, it was hard to say goodbye to the taste and the caffeine and the bubbles. but here's the thing: i think the hardest part of it was that coca-cola was part of my identity. i actually thought that i would be disappointing other people if i wasn't the "coke" girl. that i wouldn't be living up to their expectations of who i was. that they wouldn't like me as much without that quirky drinking-coke thing. i was really scared to let go of this thing that people knew me for. which is strange. it sounds ridiculous now. i mean, who wants to be known for drinking coke? that's not particularly awesome. anyone can do it, really.
i did, eventually, put down the coke can, and now i haven't had a coke in years. but i'm wondering: are there other things in my life that i'm hanging onto just because i've always done them, and i'm scared for them not to be part of my identity anymore?
i'm curious: are there things that have somehow become part of your identity that you're scared to let go?