Paper or Plastic?

Within the first 15 min of a visit to most American restaurants you’re hit will a million choices.  Would you like to sit inside or outside? Table, booth or bar?  Can I start you off with an appetizer? What would you like to drink? Beer? Wine? Water? Juice? Soda?… Soda, ok? Coke, Sprite, Rootbeer, Orange… Coke? OK, Diet or Regular?  And if you’ve got a really detail orientated server,…Ice or no ice? Straw or no straw?  (Don’t even get me started if you choose beer or wine…)  We have entire rows at the grocery store dedicated to soda choices, or chips or I’ve even seen butter.  Today, I noticed literally 4ft of cotton swabs options. (?!!)

To girls coming out of a very restrictice envronment, where they are alllowed no opinion about what they wear each day, the food they eat or pills they take, a Western world like ours that’s inidated with choices is terrifying.  Two of the times that cause me to pause with indecision the most, even now, are when choosing food and choosing what to wear in the morning.  I’m horrible at it.  It’s not a rare occasion when I’ll enter the kitchen and wonder around for 30 minutes before I start in on making a meal.  It’s just next to impossible for me to decide and the whole ordeal actually brings me great stress.  Choosing laundry detergent at the store has a similar affect.

It’s all just too much. I never had choices.  I was never allowed to choose my own clothing until the later portion of high school.  It was mortifying.  Options for dinner were usually fast food or what I could figure out how to make from a microwave or one pot on the stove.  Frozen dinners and soup from a box happened a lot… every now and then mashed potatoes.  If there wasn’t any money for food then the choice would come down to what looked easy enough to forage for or steal.  I’m very self-conscious now when it comes to cooking because of all this.

Choices didn’t used to be part of my daily routine so now it can kind of freak me out.  There have been secret moments alone on the floor of the kitchen where I just sit down near tears in defeat.  All the while I’m hoping that an option will just fall off the shelf and into my lap.  Grounded in confusion on a kitchen floor between refrigerator and pantry is one of my most humiliating moments.  Restaurants with larege menues are just as stressful.  I often stick to one page and refuse to look at the rest for fear that it will complicate matters.  I often will narrow down two choices and then ask the waiter to choose for me.  I hate having a lot of choices… have I said this enough yet?

I am so thankful to have options in my life and not to feel stuck.  However, even if all the choices are good, it’s still stressful to me.  So please be kind world, and simplify… those of us coming out of the life, out of other forms of trauma and out of abusively restrictive environments will thank you.  Besides, do we really need 27 different kinds of butter when there are people in the world still fighting for clean water?! No.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

(Post originally written 3/9/12)
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