I talk quite a bit on my blog about seeking discomfort as a way to push against anxiety, but those posts are always rather lengthy. To approach the same topic in a different, more succinct way, I wrote a poem a month or so ago to try and describe why I think it’s so important to seek new opportunities, including ones that scare you.
When I first started blogging, Bexa from Hello Bexa was one of the first people who actively encouraged me and made me feel less intimidated by the whole putting-your-life-on-the-internet thing. We’ve connected over a lot of things: from our adventures abroad and our journalling processes, to studying with the Open University, just to name a few. Bexa writes with a lot of passion about travel and creativity and always takes perfectly arranged photos for her posts. I honestly don’t know how she does it.
This is why, when I started looking for bloggers to collab with, I directly emailed Bexa. I knew there would be many areas we’d both be able to write about and that I’d be interested to hear her perspective on, whatever topic we chose. We decided to talk about comfort zones today, or more specifically, challenge ourselves to do something outside our comfort zones and writing about what we learnt from the experience.
I remember the incredulous satisfaction of getting a basketball through a hoop in the school playground when I was (possibly) nine years old. That complete, pure happiness of doing something visibly well without a single pinch of negativity radiating from myself; I didn’t feel the uncomfortable itch of other people’s eyes that sometimes physically makes my skin crawl these days, or the painful awareness of all my body parts awkwardly squirming in an unfamiliar environment. I was just one body amongst others, merging into the lines on the court.
Looking back at how I felt playing any kind of sport as a young kid, it was as if my limbs were an extension of the pitch, or the racket was an extension of my own body. Things flowed easily. Except thoughts, any thinking that was not related to the game ceased. I guess this is what it means to feel fully absorbed in what you’re doing, and I certainly can coax that feeling back sitting at a laptop, fingers flying over the keyboard as I type out a post. But I know for sure I haven’t felt it doing something as physical as a sport in a long time.
We all have a comfort zone: some are small and particular whilst others are bigger and encompass a lot of experiences. Some have thick walls constantly under guard whilst others have more lenient borders. As I’ve grown up, my comfort zone has stretched out in many ways – for example, my independence, ability to travel alone and slower heart rate when making phone calls.
Yet, in a lot of other ways, my comfort zone has shrunk as I’ve become more self-aware, and as a result of this, more self-conscious. My comfort zone in terms of putting myself out there, doing sport and self-confidence have all diminished; sometimes it feels like the walls have been built up higher and surrounded by a moat. This is something I’d like to change.