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

i’ll get there

some days it feel like i haven’t made any progress getting back to the old or normal “me”. or maybe i’ll have a few good days in a row and then a panic attack or a really bad day smacks in the face and it feels like i’m starting all over again and that any progress i might have made is wiped out. it’s hard to be objective about your own progress. 

i was reading nie nie’s blog and last month she blogged about doing a flip on the trampoline for the first time since her accident. she was really excited and proud of herself and brought her whole family out to watch her do it again. and even though i don’t read her blog much i was proud of her too. 

i’ve been thinking if there was anything in my own life that i could consider progress. sometimes i feel so very far away from where i was that progress doesn’t even seem possible. like the distance between then and now is too great. BUT in an effort to focus on the positive i did think of a few things and while they might not seem like a big deal to someone else they mean something to me. each one of them means a step towards getting my life and “me” back. 

1. i started blogging again. // for me this has been huge whether or not anyone is reading it. 

2. i moved to utah. // at the time it felt like i was running away and maybe i was but it was a risk leaving the familiar and “start overing” somewhere else. 

3. movies under the stars. // i don’t like being out at night much. my anxiety is peaked and it’s hard for me to relax and enjoy myself. i also tend to get nervous in big crowds but last week i went to see an outdoor movie on the lawns of the utah capitol. i brought harlow with me and that helped and we met friends for a picnic before the movie and i even saw some of my former students there. it was sort of fun. i can’t say i was totally at ease but i did it. (harlow, on the other hand, had the time of her life – sneaking over to other people’s blankets to try and snuggle with them and making friends with a poodle named cosette and loving every single kid she could get to.) 

4. finding the perfect waterproof eyeliner. // okay this doesn’t really count as progress but as i mentioned before my emotions are pretty much right at the surface 90% of the time and i cry, well, a lot. i’d basically given up on eyeliner because no matter what brand i tried it always lead to a very unattractive raccoon face. however stila’s stay all day liquid eyeliner is pretty cry proof.

it’s not much of a list but it’s better than nothing. hopefully i’ll be able to add most substantial things to this list one day soon.

image borrowed from a house in the hills