We all have them. These places are where we feel most “safe”. They let us not face reality. They keep us stagnant. Comfort Zones. As much as we try to hide that part of ourselves, we allow ourselves to sit in spaces that feel normal. Anything outside of that normality makes us uneasy. It’s the weird feeling that you get in your gut when you’re about to take a risk. It’s the feeling that holds us back from that next open door in our lives.
So, my 29th birthday is in about 2 weeks (October 16th) and I’ve been doing a-whole-lotta-thinking this last month. I’ve been thinking so much that I decided to write to reflect on it. I didn’t really understand the meaning of “growth” until this summer when I was unemployed. I definitely had time to reflect during that time. I thought about all the times I told myself “no”, all the times I said “I can’t”. I determined that my reasoning for that was because I was comfortable where I was and change made me scared. I was full of “what ifs” and not enough “how tos”. Finally, during my reflection, I thought about the times during this past year (me being 28) and all the times I finally said “yes” to myself or gave myself some credit or took a risk. In these five instances, I saw how each of those situations added a new road on my journey to growth…in no particular order.
- I moved to Florida: I mean, yeah. I’ve never lived outside of the midwest before September 14, 2018. Illinois and terrible Wisconsin were the only two places I’ve lived in 28 years. One of the reasons I stayed in the midwest for so long was because I was scared to be too far from home. I wasn’t ready to let go and realize I was a grown woman and could handle being really on my own. So, for college, grad school, and the beginning of my professional career I stayed close. But it’s funny how my God works. He put me on a roller coaster ride so uncontrollable that I had to fasten my seatbelt and brace myself. At the end of the ride, my mind was blown at the fact that I survived it. And now I’m in Florida. I’ve only been here a short while but am already happy with this decision.
- I started my Loc Journey: At some point during the roller coaster ride God took me on, I took a pit-stop and starting reevaluating my hair. I’ve put so much stigma on my hair during my entire life. I remember hating that my hair was “nappy” or short growing up. I remember other people making comments about it. I started wearing braids and weaves to cover up my hair. I guess I’ve never felt like my hair was my own. Even when I went natural and my hair started to get healthy, I still wasn’t feeling it. My hair was thick and probably the longest it’s been this summer. My puff was always on point. But I wanted a change. I thought about cutting it off but I didn’t want to get a relaxer. I starting thinking about what I was going through and decided that a change was coming. At that moment, I decided to loc my hair. It’s been a little over 3 months and my hair is in the beginning stages of locking. My change started to work itself out the day I two-strand twisted my hair for the final time.
- I’m Not in a Relationship…And I’m good!: I’ve been in a relationship since I was 18-years-old with only maybe 2-3 months in between each relationship. (I’ve only had 3 boyfriends in my adult life). But yeah, until age 27, I’ve been in a relationship. So, you can see how comfortable I got. I thought that I had to be in a relationship with someone for validation and security. I was scared to be be alone because I didn’t know what it was like to not be in a relationship. Being single was foreign territory for me, even though part of me longed for it at times. But the fear of the unknown kept me complacent. I allowed myself to put up with certain things that were completely against everything I stood for. But I stayed. But again, my God has a way of working things out. If I was still in a situation that was borderline toxic, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Being single for over a year now has been refreshing. I needed time to work on myself because I can’t expect anyone to fix me for me. That’s internal work I needed and still need to do. It’s simple praxis: the cycle is continuous.
- I Started going to Therapy: I’ve written about how beneficial therapy was for me and my mental health. It’s so good to talk to someone about everything personal about yourself and they don’t know you. That means they are able to be objective in the counsel they give you because they don’t have a pre-existing relationship with you. I was skeptical at first because my first therapist when I moved to Wisconsin was an older white woman. This made me nervous because the topic I needed a therapist for was “racism”. I thought a white woman would not be the best fit for me to vent about how white people were oppressing me. I was straight up with her. I told her that I was going to be talking about the racism I was experiencing at the hands of white people and she said she was ready to take it on. She turned out to be just what I needed because I got to express my raw feelings about how upset I felt about white people having so much power over my job. And I think that it helped her recognize her privilege as a white woman during our talks. Some of the things I was telling her brought tears to her eyes sometimes. She couldn’t believe it.
- I Started a Blog: Hey! You! You reading this right now. You’re reading this on the blog I created. I can honestly say that this blogging experience has been the highlight of my 28 years on this Earth. I’ve always loved writing but I gave it up for a while. I regret it because there’s been some real situations that I should have written about that are now distant memories. My dad would always tell me to write things down but I stopped listening. This blog was me stepping outside of my comfort zone because I’ve shared some personal things about my life to a group of strangers or a group of people who have some acquaintance with me. Not knowing how people were going to react to my personal stories made me anxious. The night before I launched, I sat on the couch and cried. After the positive feedback started to roll in, I realized people resonated with my stories. People admired my vulnerability and my strength in telling them. I’ve had people read my blog posts that I would have never thought would read something like this. What’s surprised me the most was the amount of men that read my blog faithfully.
No matter how safe your comfort zone feels, get out of it. The best feeling is overcoming a fear you had…just look at Will Smith. This man bungee-jumped out of a plane!!!! …..
I’m not jumpin out no plane bro…but you get the point.
❤ Queen T