The Uh-Oh Feeling

When I was a child, my mom taught me about the "uh oh" feeling.


There's a little voice in you, and when it says "uh oh..." you listen. You get out of there, you get safe.


When you have an "uh oh" feeling, you do not need to keep it to yourself. You can tell mama all about it, because that "uh oh" feeling is important.


When you have the "uh oh" feeling it doesn't matter

-the situation

-the consequences

-what is polite

-or how anyone else thinks or feels


You listen and you do what you need to do to feel safe again.


When a person gives you the "uh oh" feeling it doesn't matter

-how well respected they are

-if they are related to you

-if you have made promises to them

-if they have power


You listen and you maintain the distance that feels safe and healthy to you, even if other people think or tell you it is rude, or disrespectful, or disobedient, or unreasonable, or an overreaction. You can break your promises, disobey, be rude, and overpower them if that is what it takes for you get away and feel safe.


My mother didn't tell me what was right or wrong about how people treated me. She taught me to hear and honor the "uh oh" feeling. She taught me that my feelings are real and my experiences are important and that my safety is mine to take, goddammit, goddammit.


It's served me all my life.

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