My Inner Karen

Yeah, I was a Karen today. Trust me, it can happen to the best of us.

Christiana White
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readSep 2, 2021


Photo by Bon Vivant on Unsplas

I always counsel my kids to be patient with people who are acting badly. You don’t know what has happened to them, what news they may have received just moments before. You don’t know if they’re vulnerable, or altered by substances.

I just got home from the grocery store down the hill. I’m still shaking, still feeling the residue of my outburst.

On the surface of things, I am a middle-class, middle-aged white woman who just had a temper tantrum because there were ice crystals in her vanilla ice cream in the middle of the day. Yep. That was me, graying wisps of hair falling in my eyes, stamping my feet, harumph-ing, and what have you.

“Eight dollars, please. All I need is my eight dollars,” I intoned angrily.

I pray there was no one in line who knew me.

“Ice cream isn’t supposed to be crunchy!” I spat, sarcastically.

Yeah. That was me, I’m afraid.

It’s true. It’s laughably absurd and pathetic that I lost it because when I got home, it was quite evident my Strauss vanilla ice cream had melted and been re-frozen, then sold to me for eight bucks. Which is expensive.

There is no excuse for behaving toxically and arrogantly, for spewing anger. I won’t defend it, even though this was about the 30th time I’ve had to take food back to this store because it was rotten, ruined, or somehow tainted. There were the rotten marrow bones, many times moldy strawberries, rotten chicken, old fish. Buyer beware, right? I’m supposed to be a careful and observant shopper. But, I don’t expect such carelessness from my local (and expensive) market, either.

Yes, I lost it today, and there’s no excuse.

But it just goes to show that we are none of us immune to being shaken, tipped off our foundation, into a kind of lunacy.

As I was driving back up the hill (with my eight dollars), I thought, wow. If I can get this destabilized by something like this, even after practicing yoga twice this week, having a job, having a paycheck, having a home, imagine the people in much more precarious positions than I’m in. How are they holding on? To…