How an empty mayonnaise jar brought me undone….

Isn’t it funny how on a bad day, seemingly small things can send you into a tailspin?

When I used my last egg and scraped the last mayo out of the jar this week, the abyss opened up, and I was a mess.

Is my cupboard bare? No, it isn’t. There’s good stuff in there. Stuff I can easily turn into simple, tasty meals. But on Thursday, there were no more eggs, there was no more mayo – and I knew I did not have enough money to buy both, and wouldn’t have, for at least two weeks. I’m unemployed at the moment, so money is tight.

It is a confronting thing to realise you can’t afford basic things, items which Toby from The West Wing (god I love that show) calls ‘the everyday things, the 99 cent things’. The things we take for granted, like eggs, and mayonnaise.

As the last shell went in the bin, I cracked too.

People sometimes say that there’s no kindness left in the world, or that it is hard to come by. Some days that seems true, some of us just don’t have our eyes open to see it, but I can tell you, Thursday was not a kindness-free-day for me.

In my increasing agitation, I took to the keyboard, to vent about feeling sad, stuck and vulnerable. Not a public broadcast, a conversation in a group of people I felt pretty sure I could trust. The group I chose was the one I’ve been spending the most time in lately, my Pipsters. From here in Melbourne, and in far-flung places from Spain to England to America, these awesome ladies, my homies, my Pipsters PICKED ME UP with the tap, tap, tapping on their keyboards, and created a safe space where I could talk about feeling humiliated by my lack, and frightened of not getting through the next fortnight.

They encouraged me, empathised with me and didn’t gloss over what I was saying, which is so important when someone is having a shit day. Let the person in Shitsville say it is shitful. It is. Don’t rush to “the sun’ll come out tomorrow”. We all know it will.

What the temporary residents of Shitsville need, what I needed, was listening ears and compassionate hearts.

Boy was I in the right place. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

There were so many tears, and as I sat at my desk, talking in real time with people, feeling the support and solidarity, reading about how other people have been in my shoes, I was being broken open, my emotional pressure valve hissing and spluttering out the worries of the week.

It may sound utterly bizarre to you (it does to me) but blogging is bringing battered old passions to the surface, it is causing me to be more open, authentic and vulnerable, with the people I am creating an online community with, and with myself…. it is strange, and sometimes painful, but it feels exhilarating too. Being fully alive isn’t about feeling only good things. Neither is blogging!

After I’d been chatting with the Pipsters for a while, I felt a bit better, then a lot better, and so, so tired. All that crying takes it out of you. I woke up the next day feeling completely different. Nothing had changed, but I was no longer weighed down with worry. I was buoyed by people sharing ads for jobs they’d seen and thought I’d rock at, there were links to sites that might help, people shared mayo recipes requiring only two ingredients, people encouraged me, people SAW ME, unvarnished and broken, and not one person turned away, or blithely told me to ‘get a job’ or that what I was feeling was invalid. That’s priceless stuff. Human stuff. That’s community.

Today I can write this from a totally different mindset than the one I was stuck in two days ago. Today’s tears are of gratitude. I am not ashamed of my tears. They are softening me, inside and out.

This week I learned a new lesson about what I’d term humiliation – a feeling I despise with all my being.  Maybe what I know as humiliation – a deeply painful, confronting and devastating state of mind and soul, holds within it a chance to be more authentic with people, more vulnerable and ready to say, I need help. Try saying that, even in your mind, I need help. It’s not easy is it?

And yet, we all need it. I need help. You need it. Your sister, your dad, the guy on the bus, the shiny people on magazine covers, who we’re supposed to worship and believe ‘have it all’, the crafters, the ‘successful’ folks we admire and maybe envy a touch,  even them – we all need help every now and then. Maybe not every day, maybe not to buy eggs or mayonnaise, but sooner or later, Mayonnaise-Gate happens to all of us.

How GRATEFUL I am that when I was ready to say, even just from the ‘safety’ of my computer, that I needed help, that people were there to listen and to encourage me. That was the help I needed most on Thursday afternoon. Help to be honest, help to be vulnerable and let my emotions out.

Can I exist only in the virtual world? No I can’t. I need my flesh and blood friends too, I need to trust them when the chips are down (or gone!), as I do in the good times. I am undone by friends who demonstrate their love in ways that resonate.

Some cheer my efforts at blogging on, or remind me that Don’t Stop Believin is my ultimate theme song.

Some friends do this with their words, their care, their support and encouragement, their precious time.

Some do it with groceries, or a supermarket voucher.

Some  give me money that I know they could have used to buy their own eggs and mayonnaise.

I have friends that take the time to read and comment on my fledgling blog, or come over with pizza.

The yet-unmet-friends who spoke life into my situation this week, wow, thank you.

The pal who asked me how I was on Instagram, and I decided to tell her the truth, which resulted in us having a great chat, she’s sending help. I’ve never met her.

One yet-unmet-friend from Blog With Pip, who sent me a message on Friday asking me where I live, is dropping off help this afternoon.

A lovely friend took me to dinner, paid for my meal, and a second glass of wine, and helped me out, again.

The friend I met in a West Elm store, who I’m enjoying getting to know, said she’ll buy me a coffee next week.

There’s no hierarchy involved. The friends who offer practical support aren’t ‘better’ than the friends who offer a listening ear and words of encouragement. They know that, I certainly know it. We all play our part.

Sometimes we buy the eggs, sometimes we listen and send virtual hugs.

What I’ve learned this week is that kindness isn’t at all like mayonnaise – it doesn’t run out when the jar is empty.

In fact, sometimes that empty jar is a portal to an outpouring of kindness that lays you flat with gratitude.

That’s why I’m not about to stop believin’. Even when mayonnaise makes me cry.

mayo jar




Annette xx










63 thoughts on “How an empty mayonnaise jar brought me undone….

  1. Annette, this is a truly beautiful, honest, fabulous post. Yes to everything you’ve said. Yes to asking for help in different and unexpected places. And yes to riding the waves of strong emotions and coming out the other side with a different perspective, and some new recipes!

    I believe the interwebs are all about connection, and you’ve just told us all how beautiful those connections can be.

    Thank you xx


    • Sally, I thank you. This one needed writing, and now I know it came out as I wanted it to. What a week! I wouldn’t swap it though. Taught me another lesson, more than one in fact. Blogging is beautiful. xxxx


    • Hey Duncan, thank you! I miss you too – great conversations, your playing, your fast walk, your voice, even your bum bag!! So appreciate that you are interested in my musings. Nettie xx


  2. Beautiful post but I think a lot of the support that came your way was our way of thanking you for you constant compassion, your unwavering uplifting of all of us and yes sometimes a kick up the butt when we are being down on ourselves. Kindness is in my opinion everywhere, all the time. But Karma also plays a part. You are such a giver and I think many of us wanted to find a way to give back when it was needed. xxx


  3. Ohh you’ve hit the nail right on the head here. We are not broken; we are pieces of a puzzle and we need the other pieces to be complete. Xx


  4. Gawd I loves you Miss Annette. I love your honesty and the way you turn a word into a feeling. I’ve had my own Mayonnaise-Gate this week. But you and the Pipsters keep bringing me back around. A blog post I can’t ignore (’cause I love to read you even if I’m having a bloggy-rebellion-party-for-one), a meme that speaks straight into the void of inaction. Thank you. What a beautiful person you are. I am wishing we lived closer so I could take you out for a meal myself. Sounds like the very best kind of charity, helping a friend. You are special, young lady.
    R x


    • Bless. I’m liking the “young lady” bit.
      Your words mean so much Rachel. Thank you, sincerely. We have found our tribe I reckon.
      Get over here and let’s have that dinner!!


  5. Nettie, my lovely, thank you for sharing this. Rachel is right that you turn a word into a feeling.

    When I read from you I feel like going back into my rabbit hole, snuggling in bed n falling asleep cause sometimes your writing is a lullaby that says you know yourself n you know me and we are both alright.


  6. That brought tears to my eyes…beautiful words and really beautifully written, Annette Hill xx Always know that we are all here to listen, encourage, support and talk away to each other in a safe and friendly space! This community is so lovely to be a part of. X


  7. Gosh. What an amazing post!

    I’m sorry you had (are having) such a shit time. That really does suck eggs (see what I did there?).

    I wish I had been around on FB to help with the wave of support you received – but it sounds like there was love a plenty going on. As Michelle said, I’ve no doubt that this was in large part due to the support you have offered to all us #pipsters since the very first moments of the course.

    These were no random acts of kindness. x


  8. It’s when we share our vulnerabilities that we open ourselves up for the most meaningful connections. In sharing this post you’ve done this beautifully, eloquently and unselfishly.
    Thank you.


    • That is so insightful – I totally agree, find it more than a bit scary and know it is what my heart truly desires. Thank you for being part of the conversation, it’s amazing, the power of our words. x


  9. Hi there Annette,
    I too was having a bad day of tears and emotions yesterday – but unlike you, didn’t reach out to people I know would have been there.

    Your post reminded me of the amazing people in my life, who I only have to call on and they’ll be there – which in time of turmoil, isn’t always easy to remember.

    So Thank YOU!
    Your brave, articulate and ‘spot on’ post – is an inspiration and I have no doubt it will continue to be. It is such a privilege to be part of this blogging community and I’m so happy to be getting to know you from afar and look forward to meeting one day face to face.

    Hugs from Hamburg xo


    • Jessica, I have had plenty of those days too. Next time, you’ll reach out and realise how ready people are to help.

      Thank you for your beautiful and kind words. I’m blown away by the response this post is getting.

      I hope that you are back to smiling soon xx


  10. Personally, asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. I hate thinking I need help…hate not being able to do it my self. At times its a strength & its also one of my biggest weaknesses. All power to you my friend. This post is a beautiful, strong, passionate one…just like you.


    • Julie, thank you so much. What kindness in your words.
      Those of us good at doing and coping can be the worst at asking. We get it wrong that asking is “weak” somehow. But – I can tell you for a fact – it is SO good to break through being proud and allow others to help. Try it!


  11. Such a beautifully written piece Annette. You show your vulnerability, yes, but what I see is someone who is so giving, so strong and who has embraced this new community and phase in her life with such zest. You are a wonderful breath of fresh air to the Pipsters (which I believe is your term that you coined in the February group). From my perspective, the magnitude of your giving heart knows no bounds and I say to the world, just watch this space world, Annette is on her way!!


    • Sarah, that’s so sweet of you – thank you for your encouraging words.
      Trust me though, my heart has her boundaries!
      I am loving being a blogger – and days like these past few underscore to me how awesome community can be – I would so much rather have engagement like this, than “the numbers” any day of the week!! Pipsters forever x


  12. Hi Annette

    It takes real courage to ask for help, to be open and vulnerable when things are shite, to call it like it is. A beautiful post. I’m old skool and still love snail mail, so I have something for you if you feel like emailing me your address:

    Sending warm support, gratitude and respect your way with these words x


  13. It’s those horrible mayonnaise-gate days that make us truly appreciate the champagne ones isn’t it? I’ve been there myself and know how much it means to have friends to sound off to, it sounds as if you’re surrounded by wonderful people. Hope you have your Champagne-gate very soon! X


  14. There’s something heavy that I learned from having to asking for help. The giver and the receiver both receive. A person like yourself who so clearly loves to give to others should always remember the joy it gives you to help someone because that is the joy you allow someone else to feel when you let them help you. xxx


    • So true Barbara – it is definitely a two way street. Today I’m going to make soup with some of the things I received yesterday. It’s going to take extra good!


  15. I want to comment, but I do not know what to say. Quite simply, your post is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
    I cannot thank you enough for you honesty and strength in showing vulnerability.
    I am blessed to have you as my friend.


  16. Beautifully put Annette, I too had a few “Mayonnaise Gate” days last week and, like you, found that waking up on one of the following days with a different perspective made all the difference. My problem has not gone away but I do know “this too shall pass” and, yes, lovely friends and a new blogging community helps too.


    • They happen to all of us. I didn’t choose the new perspective, but by being honest about mayo-gate and reaching out for support, my mindset was turned on its head.
      Such a challenge, but the kindness people are ready to give is truly beautiful!!


  17. Annette..,
    to be truthful, there have been times i have read your words and found your strength of character so strong and sure, that i felt a little intimidated by you. You seem so gutsy and ballsy. So I guess it came as a bit of a shock to read this last post of yours!
    Social media is very powerful. I took the piss out of it for a long time, and still do see some of it as a waste of precious time….and purile…but on the flip side…and for me it was Instagram first, and now this group and blogging…I have received, support, encouragement, praise, nurturing, empathy, acknowledgement, sharing and wonderful connections that have sustained my hopes and dreams and belief in myself when i otherwise felt lost , adrift and very lonely and disconnected in this small rural town.Reaching powerful, and people reaching out for you…is even more powerful. I am so glad that you have found the loveliness within so many people….It is a gift. A life of wonder. You have that in you, an obvious sensitive and erudite soul. xxx


    • Don’t ever box someone into being immune to having a crap day Shani. People are not just their best qualities, we all have strengths and weaknesses.
      I am not a fan of being labelled in a way that makes me unapproachable, or immune to being vulnerable.
      There are great people in this community and every single one of them, whether they seem shy or bold, gregarious, quiet, sweet or stand-offish, is someone who experiences MayoGate!


  18. You made me cry Annette, Thank You!
    I’m so glad to know that humanity & compassion still runs strong in the world! The Pipsters ROCK!
    BIG HUGS to you!!!!!!! 😀


  19. Never stop believin’ Annette! I agree that it is always the small things that generate the biggest explosion of emotions and feelings. May your cup runneth over with mayonaise and love and support and meaningful work xx


  20. Such beautifully honest and raw words Annette that I’m sure ring true for all of us. It is often so very very hard to ask for help. I love your positive attitude and your fighting generous spirit that always comes through in your words.


  21. Beautifully written post Annette. It’s so hard to ask for help and let ourselves be vulnerable. During events in my own life, like the death of my daughter or my marriage breakup,I know the generosity of friends can be overwhelming. But sometimes the kindness of strangers is really what brings me undone. x


    • Hi Karen, thank you xx I’m so appreciative of the response to “MayoGate”. I know it will be great for me to look back on when I feel a bloggy slump coming over me.
      And it’s so true, the asking can be hard, but like most hard stuff, once you take the leap it isn’t as scary as imagined.


  22. Oh Annette I can feel the love pulsating through these comments and the pipsters comments too.

    I admire you for asking for help. I am absolutely shit at asking for help (my perfectionist mentality). You are one of the people that has shown me that asking for help and putting yourself out there is full of rewards. Jo xx


    • It’s amazing isn’t it Jo? What a great community of people we are one part of.
      I think that’s one of the reasons I felt like I could ask for help, the trust I have in the fab Pipsters I count as bloggy friends. Plus I was at the end of my ability to keep my shit together.
      I’m so appreciative of every kindness and comment here, yours included Jo. Thank you. (Give that perfectionist of yours a good talking to!)


  23. You’ve made me teary reading this, Annette. I too have reached out on social media when I’ve been feeling particularly low – not for sympathy, but just to share my feelings in the hope that someone else would understand. And boy do people come through for you. It’s amazing. I’m so glad to hear that both your online and offline friends have rallied around you and that you’re feeling happier and more positive. And now I’ve got Don’t Stop Believin’ in my head…!


    • Hey Sonia, it’s a great song isn’t it? Hold on to that feeling!
      Thanks for your encouragement. It has been awesome to feel buoyed by so many kind words and actions this week. I’ve got a definite plan for getting through this extra rough patch – the upside of feeling a bit cornered is that it is forcing me to be really thoughtful, creative and careful with the gifts I’ve received. Maybe a frugal girl’s cookbook is in my future??


  24. What a beautiful post Annette. I was just at your home page and then had to read more and more and more. You write so beautifully. And what makes it all the more beautiful is your trust in sharing such feelings. So much kindness out there…we just have to learn to ask. I used to be a very private person after being hurt by a friend I trusted, and remained there for a while. I am only now learning to speak out in terms of feelings a little more. Reading this post made me tear up, as I have deff felt vulnerability, and still do from time to time. I am so happy that so many kind friends came around in all different ways possible to help you up again! I am in Melbourne, and we should have coffee sometime! 🙂 Keep on writing…and happy 50th post!


    • This one was written after floods of tears Monica! Absolute floods. What a shit day/week that was, until I decided to take the risk and share where I was at. SO WORTH IT. Phew.
      I’d love to get coffee – feel free to shoot me an email –
      And thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. It means so much that my words are striking a chord with people.


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