my comfort zone

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis
this quote struck a chord with me when i read it last night because it feels like exactly what i’ve been doing… locking my heart up safe, avoiding all entanglements… going to work, coming home, keeping to myself. and sure some days it’s all i want to do. some days it’s all i can do and harlow will never judge me… but it isn’t really how i want to spend my life. 
everyone talks about leaving their comfort zone. yuck. my comfort zone is pretty small: a few friends, the temple, my house with harlow…. that’s pretty much it. okay, so it’s really, really small. when i think about leaving my comfort zone i immediately think of forcing myself to do all the things i know i’d hate or doing things that i know would make me feel unsafe and i think “no thanks, i’ll stay right where i am.” 
maybe i should add that the old me never really thought much about a comfort zone. almost immediately after high school i moved to the uk by myself. i didn’t know one single soul on that side of the pond but it never made me consider passing up the opportunity. this me can barely go to church unless i know i’ll have someone to sit with. the old me would sing, and act and paint without too much self consciousness. now i get nervous if people look at me or single me out because i feel like they must be able to guess my horrible secret. 
i really liked this article on leaving your comfort zone. 
“To experience life isn’t always to face your fears and risk unpleasantries. It’s also about doing all those things you’re sure you’ll enjoy.”
that sounds more doable. 
i mean i know i’d enjoy going to the temple more so i just need to do it and stop worrying about my own self doubts. i know i’d enjoy making more friendships so maybe i’ll stop avoiding everyone’s eye contact and make an effort. i know i’d like to start doing more photography again so maybe i’ll stop labeling that as something i did “before” and go buy some film. 
i know these sound so basic that it’s laughable but… it is what it is and i’m going to start somewhere.
there are two things i know i need to work on: 
1. strengthening my faith. i feel like i’ve been holding steady but not growing and i know i need to make more of an effort. heaven knows i’ve certainly got the time. 
2. asking for help when i need it. there have been so many times, especially in the past few weeks, where i desperately wanted to call a friend and admit that something was wrong, or to crash on their couch because i was so anxious or to ask for a priesthood blessing… but i didn’t. and it just added to my anxiety/depression/frustration.
i’ve also made other goals of a more cross-off-the-list variety and maybe not as grand: finish my book for book club, call my mom, buy more pepper spray, order a ballet beautiful dvd, etc.
and now a question: how to you set goals? monthly? weekly? yearly? any tips for keeping focused and accomplishing them? do you participate in the 101 in 1,001 challenge? let me know. 
photo by jennie prince

life lately

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joie_butter/4577230272/player/728aee4041

“foggy whirlwinds may be your intimate companions. being up-in-the-air could be your customary vantage point. during your stay in this weird vacationland, please abstain from making conclusions about its implications for your value as a human being. remember these words from author terry braverman: “it is important to detach our sense of self-worth from transitional circumstances, and maintain perspective on who we are…” 

for the last several months things have been fine. really, actually fine. not great, not awful but fine. and fine has been good enough. the last few weeks, however, have felt like one step forward, 300 steps back.

but i’ve faithfully stuck to my motto of “i’m fine” because it seems like the polite thing to do. i mean, honestly shouldn’t there be a moratorium on how long you’re allowed to feel bad about something? shouldn’t i spare my friends the same old sadness? but saying “i’m fine” while there’s a dinosaur dying a slow death in the pit of your stomach, or when all you want to do is lie down on the sidewalk and just stay there, or when you have to walk two blocks in the dark and immediately burst into frightened tears is no fun.

my solution for the last few weeks has been to hide out. keeping myself inside and busy with ridiculous things like ironing my bedding, spending way too much time on pinterest, vacuuming 4 times a day (no, really) and rearranging my bookshelves obsessively isn’t really a great solution either. and i hate ironing.

my point: depression sucks. it’s frustrating and boring and lonely and scary. hopefully it’s just part of my weird “vacationland”.

good natured friends have pointed out that i have a valid reason to be depressed and okay, yes, maybe that’s true… but i don’t want to be depressed. i don’t want to spend the rest of my life ironing. and more than anything i don’t want that reason.

the other day i met a friend at the park and she very pointedly but kindly asked how i’d been and as i opened my mouth to recite “fine” i couldn’t do it. i took a breath and with a lot of embarrassment said, “i’ve been sad.” to me it sounded so lame, pathetic and weak … or like something a 5 year old would say. but i said it and then i waited for the dreaded pep talk. while there was a little pep talk what i got was kindness, listening, understanding and concern. one of the things she said was “weakness is not a sin”… as in being sad doesn’t mean i’m faithless. depression is not a sin. anxiety is not a sin.

and so that’s how i’ve been. sad. but saying it eases some of that sadness so there’s hope.

polaroid by me.