No, my thing came from reading a chapter in an EFY book or some other LDS Youth self-help/inspirational book. I had lots of those on hand and I devoured them from the ages of 14 through 18. (Still some on my parents' bookshelves that I didn't get, too.) My memory has the story as being directed to young women. It was an encouragement analogy for those of us girls who do everything we can to live right and be happy and come across as attractive to others. In other words, who see the guys always going for "the other girls" and never even noticing that we're standing there.
Now, I'm not playing woe-is-me here. This was my life as a teenager--excluding those annoying/creepy boys who follow you around all the time like a puppy because you were nice and said "Hello!" to them. One time I was talking to my friend Bethany at a dance when a slow song came up. Guys were always "after" her. This time, two guys came literally running up to her to ask her to dance. She had to choose. So she chose and went on to the dance floor. Now, I had thought that common courtesy at least would have the other young man ask the other young woman who is also standing there. Nope. He walked away without even looking at me. A young man in my ward whom I'd had a quiet crush on for over 2 years squashed that crush when, at the end of my very first dance, joined his slow dance partner in pointing at me to laugh because I was not asked to dance all night. My first date was "A Pity Date" to Prom (which I had no real desire to attend) because the Bishop and YW Pres.'s son knew no one would ask me.
It can be depressing. And at times, it really was. It felt even worse at BYU. Both times. But I had the analogy to hold on to. The person (perhaps Wilcox?) said that we girls were carrots. But the boys were in the market for lettuce. It didn't matter that we were a more appetizing color, that we held more value, or anything. They wanted lettuce. But some day, a young man (or men, I suppose) would be in the market for a carrot. And it didn't matter how good the lettuce looked--even if it had just been sprayed with the little mist. He wanted a carrot, and there you would be. I loved the analogy. Beyond belief. I still do. I always think "Be a carrot."
A year later, there was a Standards Activity for the Stake Young Women. I remember the YW President talking about modesty. She was using an analogy that involved, hah!, carrots...of all things. It was something like a carrot holds all of its goodness inside, and does not need to flaunt itself to have others notice is and want it. Not like the rich, gooey ice cream sundaes that walked around and said, "Look how yummy and wonderful I am--but you can't have me!" Another reason to be a carrot. Modest in dress, modest in personality. And the worthwhile and worthy young man eventually would ignore the ice cream sundaes and see the carrot for its value and worth.
Well, a few years later in Book of Mormon class at BYU, I was able to see another good thing about being a carrot. He quoted Alma 62:41 with "many had become hardened...and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility." He then said, "Eggs get hard in boiling water, but carrots get soft. Be a carrot." Perfect. Absolutely perfect. I loved it, and was even more proud that I had a thing for carrots.
But I've had thoughts in the last year or so. Some a bit facetious, but with still a serious under-current. Last year I got food poisoning in the summer, right when I was trying to finish final projects for the term. And from what? Carrots. Yeah. I know. I had never really thought before of carrots going bad. Probably because I'd always seen them eaten before that point. And carrots can last a long time. But now I knew that they could go bad.
And, you know, I've been watching the lettuce get taken time after time. I don't want to be lettuce. I don't want to change who I am just so I'm like all the others. I want someone who wants a carrot. But this carrot is tired of waiting. And if real carrots can spoil and not be good for others, then, well.... I know. I'm silly. But I'm just being honest. Doubt enters my head more and easily than it ever did in my teenage years. I wonder if any young men out there really do like carrots. At least, this carrot.
But then I just need to push that aside. So many inspirational things from the scriptures and Church leaders to help me keep pressing forward, though hard as it may be. One of them being a scripture that I recently came to love and which Elder Holland also quoted on Sunday.