Friday, May 3, 2013

Comfortably Uncomfortable

{Provincetown, Cape Cod}

Comfort zones. They're all relative. All different. No two are the same.

Everyone has something that makes us squirmish, anxiety-ridden, crazy people.

So let's talk about it.

Comfort, for me, is something that has been a work in progress for a long time. I went through a part of my life living very uncomfortably. This time is know as high school. Many of you can relate, I have no doubt.

I moved in the middle of high school from the great state of Texas back to my New England roots. I was excited for a new school and anxious to make new friends. Even though all this planning, nothing could have prepared me for the first interaction I had in my new school.

"Move, bitch. That's my seat."

Whoa. Excuse me? Oh crap, you are talking to me. Let me run as fast as I can to back corner of the room where no one can see me.

I went through the next year in a constant state of anxiety. I dreaded going to school in the morning because I didn't have anyone to talk to in the hallway before class, between class, at lunch etc. New Englanders, though usually pretty great people, are not known for the open warmth that embodies the southern hospitality that I was used to. I had never in my life had trouble making friends during the many moves I made from the ages of 4-15. In this new place I would hear the snarky comments other girls would make as I walked by, could see the looks of dislike I got when answering questions in class or trying to join a conversation. I was in a constant state of second-guessing myself, wondering what people would think of my every action. Comfort was something I only knew at home, at church, and the far too infrequent weekends I would get to spend with my long-distance friends.

The next three years at that high school gradually got better. I made a few friends and acquaintances that eased my discomfort of going to school a little bit. I started caring less about what people thought as I {slowly} matured and realized the superficial and temporary state of high school will be long-forgotten once I reached college. Every day became a little easier. I began to find the decisive confidence I knew I had deep down inside me somewhere.

I learned throughout those years, and later in college and even my first job, that there will aways be people trying to put you in a place to get you at a disadvantage, to make you feel weak and vulnerable. But, at the end of the day, who cares? 

Your comfort is defined by you alone

That can be a hard pill to swallow when it's natural for us a humans to crave acceptance and love. It's hard {darn hard} to always be yourself when you face a world of "social norms" and expectations of conformity. Others might not be as goofy as you. Some might think that outfit your wearing belongs in a circus. And there will be those that will never see eye-to-eye with you about anything. But that's OK. I promise. Because once you realize you like love the person you are, everything falls into place. Others can see your confidence and happiness; let's face it, people enjoy being around other happy people.

Finding my comfort zone didn't happen over night. It slowly came about as I began to grow into adulthood and realize all those quirky, weird, even possibly annoying things about me that had been the disgrace of my teenage years made me who I am today. And I like who I am today. There will always be moments of uncertainty in life, but even in those uncomfortable occasions, I'm comfortable and confident in myself.

This wasn't where I had originally intended to go with this post, but I was inspired by a few of my sweet teenagers in the high school youth program at my church who are going through a struggle to find their inner peace. I pray that they, and anyone else, struggling to find their comfort zone will be at peace.

1 comment:

  1. Love your take on "comfort" I really need to work on stepping outside of my zone!