On being comfortable…

Earlier this week I had lunch with someone I used to work for. I’m not comfortable calling her a friend because we don’t know each other like that outside of 231, but she is definitely someone whose counsel I’ll seek on professional matters or to just vent when I’m feeling frustrated with how certain things are progressing. She offers sensible advice and is always there with a word to bring ya girl down from the ledge I ascend at least thrice weekly.

While we were noshing and gossiping, I was telling her about my professional development woes. She listened to me rail on, with no interjection. When I was done she said to me, “I think your talents are being wasted. You are way too extroverted for a job that basically requires you to be with your head down for 90% of the day. You need to be more student facing, you’re far too charming and charismatic to be stuck [doing x] all day. Don’t get me wrong, you’re great at your job, super analytical and decisive, but again–your talent relies in your interaction with people.”

Naturally I silently basked in the compliments while awkwardly accepting them as I do. Then I sat with it for a bit because she hit on some points that I’ve been mulling over myself. See, I’m loath to call myself an extrovert, but the more I’m around or witness true introvertism (roll with me and my made up word)–I’m thinking maaaaaaybe I am an extrovert.

See, I always associated extrovertism with loud, brash, bold folks who always had to be the center of attention. Ironically enough, that’s almost a classic textbook categorization of my star sign. I’ve never been that way though. I used to be super slow to warm to folks when I first met them because of crippling self-doubt. “Will they like me?” “Am I dressed ok?” “What is my face doing right now?” “Oh my god, they hate me.” People often thought I was quiet/shy as a result. Those who knew me best told a different story. They got to witness my wicked sense of humor and general silliness.

Somehow…and I don’t know when…it all turned though. I’m still not that loud, brash person immediately, but I’m definitely more outgoing. I’m more likely to speak up when I feel my opinion will add some sort of value to a conversation. I’m less meek; more decisive. And it’s all a result of just being more comfortable in who Jeanette is as a person. Embracing all parts of myself as human; not hiding behind or being ashamed of one thing. Knowing that I’ll stumble and make mistakes, but it’s okay. Knowing that everyone won’t like me and though it will hurt my sensitive ass feelings, that is okay too.

And it’s an amazing place to be in quite honestly. It’s taken long enough for me to finally settle into who I am and embrace her flaws and all, but it’s easily the best feeling I’ve ever encountered. I spent most of my life feeling like I never fit. I was never [x] enough or too [y]. I concentrated on my shortcomings instead of celebrating my victories, big & small.

Just recently I’ve decided to undertake a gigantic task that I’m no longer speaking about publicly. When I was speaking about The Thing publicly, those niggling feelings of self doubt and anxiety crept back in and made themselves at home. This Thing that was supposed to be my port in this shitstorm of life right now became the very thing I grew to dread. My comfort level was concave and as a result, I began to shun The Thing. I let outside forces dictate how I should do The Thing and forgot who I was and what I stood for for a longer chunk of time than I was comfortable with.

I took a break and assessed what I needed to do. When it all boils down, my comfort is king. If I’m uncomfortable? Shit ain’t happening. I shut down immediately. Knowing myself, my comfort zones and limitations has allowed me to recenter myself and maybe start back at The Thing. On my own terms. And at first I felt like a failure because I was quitting the thing. But taking the step back to assess myself and what makes me feel best allowed me to look at The Thing in a whole new light.

I wasn’t worried about what this or that person thought about my relationship to The Thing anymore. The Thing is more me than anyone else. I lost myself for a bit, thinking I was widening my comfort zone, but in fact I was stifling myself by letting the thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions  of outside forces direct my thoughts. Welp, that shit’s DUNZO.

I’m back in my zone. Watch me work.

One Response to “On being comfortable…”

  • DL White says:

    ” I lost myself for a bit, thinking I was widening my comfort zone, but in fact I was stifling myself by letting the thoughts, feelings, ideas and opinions of outside forces direct my thoughts.”

    This very exact same thing happened to me at the beginning of my writing journey. i thought I needed to listen to everyone and take everyone’s advice because they knew more than me. WRONG. OMG. I felt so weighted down by all of that… contact and connections and knowing things. I had to let it go. I unfollowed every damn body. Deleted tons of blogs. And just sat with myself and tried to guage what would allow me to attain what I needed and still do this like *I* needed to do it.

    I struck a balance that sometimes needs to be reviewed, now and again. People change, and so do I. Advice I would have listened to three years ago is trash now.

    This is a great big step, sorely needed but so rewarding!

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