Drink your tea the way you like it

Susannah Bennett

More stories from Susannah Bennett


In the wise words of singer Kacey Musgraves, “you can’t be everybody’s cup of tea, nobody’s everybody’s favorite so you might as well just make it how you please.”

We live in a society where approval and appearances are valued. I mean, who wouldn’t want recognition for the high-achieving, goal-getting actions? However, somehow along the way did we get our strings crossed? When did life become all about appearances and being liked by everyone?
Musgraves said it all in her 2015 song “Cup of Tea,” pointing out that you can’t make everyone happy; but if this is so true, why do we all keep running ourselves ragged for a pat on the back, a compliment, or maybe even the envy of others? I think it’s possible that somehow in our race for popularity and recognition, we’ve lost some of ourselves.

Not to generalize this disingenuous pursuit and categorize everyone uniformly, but this is often the reality for people in high school, whether it be a subconscious or a realized effort. Especially as a senior in my last semester of high school, I’ve noticed that while one might think seniors would loosen their grip on high school and lean into the warm embrace of college life, the exact opposite is actually true. As the doors to the world outside of childhood and high school slowly begin to creak open, beckoning in a breeze of brave excitement for the unknown, some people’s grips tighten on their high school status and connections, knuckles turning white as they cling even more desperately, looking even more earnestly at others to dictate their self worth and value.

Why do we strive for perfect popularity of always being liked, always getting the good grades, always having the right words, always having the idyllic lifestyle? What are we trying to prove, and to whom? When the carefully curated collection of friends, grades, and relationships comes crumbling down, will we allow the promise of a new beginning in college rise through the ashes, or will we bemoan our losses, sifting through the disarray for something to be our crutch of self-confidence?

I’ve spent too much of high school analyzing and reanalyzing my every move, replaying over and over again in my head every awkward interaction or situation. Living in the past and being haunted by what I found amidst my reflections left me stuck. Being both a bitter and sweet cup of tea is impossible; you can’t have both, just like you can’t be an “everyone” person.

When Founder’s Brewery, which began in Grand Rapids, was first starting up, they discovered a lack of interest in their brew of beer. The problem, however, wasn’t in a lack of effort or marketing; it was in their passion. What they found was that before, they had been brewing beer in an attempt to replicate what other companies did, trying to appeal to the public’s tastebuds with no regard to their own. This discovery was revolutionary for them, and in uncovering this fact, they decided to brew the beer they themselves wanted to make and drink, essentially disregarding what other people thought they should do or be like. By brewing the beer they wanted to drink, they developed their signature taste and found customers to support their passion.

Brew the beer you want; drink your tea the way you like it. No matter how you say it, the message is the same: be the person you want to be, apart from the opinions of other people.