Candy corn was always my favorite Halloween candy as a child. I think the biggest reason why I liked it so much was because my dad loved it. I always wanted to be closer to my dad. This is why I picked up and hold to this day interests in Star Trek, dark chocolate, cycling, and all things medieval, among other things. My dad loved candy corn and when Halloween was over, we would stock up on it to last him for several months. I ended up liking candy corn, in part for something else to bond with him over.
I was a weird kid. When I got candy corn, I would line the pieces all up in a row, inspecting them for defects and counting them. Then I would count out the kernels into equal groups, and sometimes I’d use a knife to cut them and separate the colors before I’d eat them in some oddball mathematical formula only I understood. If one piece didn’t line up correctly, I just couldn’t eat it. The process could take me hours in the afternoon. I remember trading all my chocolate I got at school for candy corn at home. See, I told you I was weird, what normal kid would do that?
Looking back from my adult perspective, my obsession and play style with candy corn was definitely symptomatic of something bigger. But little-kid-me didn’t know that and was very happy being their weird little self. At school, people weren’t nice to me because I was weird, but at home, routines like candy corn made me happy.
This year I just discovered that a whole lot of people can’t stand candy corn! I can’t believe it! It’s classic, unique and perfect just the way it is! My heart rises up with a passion to defend it – and I suddenly stop. It’s just candy, why should I care so much? Maybe it reminds me of my odd childhood, that led to a strange adolescence, that turned into a lonely and strained young adulthood. In a weird sort of way, I was that candy corn – unwrapped and in pieces, full of imperfections and a funny flavor about me. People either love me or hate me, much like candy corn.
But would any trick-or-treat bucket be complete without candy corn? Even if no one eats it, it looks pretty. Some candies get all the love, like Reese’s and M&M’s, but you can find them all year, where candy corn is only around in the fall. It’s special and it would be missed if it didn’t come back next year. Whether everyone likes it or not doesn’t matter, it simply belongs.
The same is true for me. Not everyone is going to like my flavor, and that’s okay. I know I belong. My shape may bother some, my texture may turn off others, but I still belong. I am me, and I’m here for a reason. Somebody out there needs what I have to offer, and I’d be missed if I was gone. If I go through this whole process just to reach the one person that needs a little candy corn, it will be worth it.
So today I wore a candy corn costume to Sprouts, to honor little-kid-me who was happiest being weird no matter what anyone thought. May I retain a spark of their joy and self-confidence to get me through the rest of my internship.