I can make mustard existential.

That’s likely the most pretentious and annoying title of a post ever.

I was at the store and yellow mustard was on my shopping list. I usually go for a cheap store brand triangular one, but I saw the upside down, restaurant, squeezable Heinz mustard and was like SOLD. Now every time I open my fridge and see it, I feel joy. There were a lot of years there where I had no idea what joy felt like.

Related: I saw a cool thing on the internet recently that said:


Teach your children to make decisions instead of obey. If you only teach them to be compliant, they will always be looking for someone to obey.


And that was like someone opened a door in my brain and took a peek. I’ve been spending a lot of time going over how I’ve allowed myself to be bamboozled by folks over the years (after having a few recent “opportunities” to learn this same lesson again…), and what I’ve come up with is this: I spent an inordinate amount of time learning about the rules over the years and I was really good at figuring out unspoken rules in order to obey them and not bring any trouble or drama or attention to myself.

And as dumb as it may sound, the type of mustard I bought was just me continuing to be compliant when nobody was demanding it of me.

This relates to other people in that I’ve always thought everyone else had this knowledge or answer(s) that I somehow missed (or so I thought I missed). I gave away my power. Easily. Readily. With gusto. To people who didn’t deserve it, because nobody deserves our power but us. I listened to what everyone else said and thought about my life. I sought out recovery programs that specifically tell people what they should do. Over time I felt like I was being led to a ledge and everyone else was jumping off, but I just couldn’t do that to myself.

I may be naive, but I’m not stupid.

I’ve found it’s the friends that have the quiet, steady drumbeat and ask me questions to help me find the answer within myself that I can listen to. The ones that come into my life in full warpaint and saying, “wouldn’t it be exciting to burn the place down?” with a wild look in their eyes probably don’t have the best intentions for me (or themselves, really). Historically it was exciting until I eventually realized that they’re just bullies and I got burned.

This has been a painful lesson I’ve learned over and over again.

Since I stopped blogging last November, I’ve filled up two moleskin journals with writing, trying to make sense of why I have the patterns I do, and why I chose to continue them. Writing in the dark without an audience has taught me that I DO know what is best for me. I don’t need anyone’s permission. I don’t have to obey. I don’t need to seek validation from anyone but myself.

What keeps coming up in my writing over the past few months is that I need to SLOW DOWN. With people. In life. And in general. This is not a race.

My therapist broke it down like this: There are times when I go fast because it’s easy and I’m good at it. (This is when we’re confident in our proficiency on a topic). When it comes to fast tracking with people, I miss things, ignore obvious warning signs and red flags, and it allows me to skip over my feelings because historically feels (typo of ‘feelings’ it stays) have been uncomfortable. The problem is that when I do this, I often find myself in over my head and try to tiptoe quietly out the back door. But if I would have taken myself into consideration at the beginning instead of being an afterthought, I would never have thought that the warpaint and flames were all that exciting to begin with.

Mustard, man.

Things I’m grateful for today:

  1. Air conditioning
  2. My house and how it makes me feel
  3. Eating enough food! Including Heinz yellow mustard
  4. Reading books again
  5. Letting go of what no longer serves me (even if it means there are clawmarks and it takes a long time)
  6. Clean sheets
  7. I have a blog again
  8. My mood is generally stable
  9. My body is healthy
  10. There is laughter in my life today

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