I am a creature of habit. I like routines. I need to-do lists and schedules. I generally order the same meals in restaurants, wear the same standard ensemble every day (jeans and a basic shirt, with a possible hoodie, and tennis shoes or Chucks), and I’m more comfortable with familiar friends instead of mingling with new people. I crave comfort foods in times of stress. I read before bed every single night. I don’t like change.
Yet, this aversion to the new and the unsettling has led to a lack of confidence within me, in many ways, and for many years. When you fear change, it’s easy to grow scared and nervous when encountered with something different or outside of your comfort zone. You lose out on chances to try something special, to meet great individuals, to make necessary (and potentially wonderful) changes in your life.
So, I’ve been on a mission to shake things up a bit.
I took a yoga class this week. I’m terrified of group athletic settings. It brings back memories of always being picked last in high school gym class (and middle school gym class, and elementary school gym class…..). I’m self-conscious about my post-baby body, and I’m definitely not in the physical shape that I want to be (though I am losing weight, which brings me some happiness). And you know what? Yes, I was exhausted after ten minutes, and yes, I might have knocked over a display rack while trying a difficult position (the class was held in a small local shop), and yes, I’m a bit sore two days later. But, I felt so exhilarated afterward, so proud of myself, and I’m desperate to go again.
I wore a dress to my grandfather’s funeral today. I haven’t had the confidence to wear a dress in years. YEARS. I wanted to make an effort, to break the “hoodie” cycle. Originally, I wanted to walk into the store, buy some jersey knit maxi skirt and a t-shirt, and call it good. But, I found myself gravitating toward the dress racks, and I ended up in the fitting room trying on “real” dresses. Dress shopping, and trying on clothes in general, is torture, absolute torture. But, by the end of it, I had a new dress, new pumps, and all of the “trimmings” that needed to go with them. And I want to buy more dresses after the reaction I received wearing it.
The thing is, these little things have boosted my confidence more than I can say. It’s like a chain reaction–one thing different and new leads to another, and another…… It is my hope that the small things can lead to bigger changes–the courage to conquer my financial situation, to do what makes me happy (even if it’s terrifying or stressful), the desire to live a simpler life, to broaden my horizons.
This isn’t high school gym class anymore. I can’t treat life like it still is.