Self-love feels awesome, but it doesn’t always feel awesome in the moment.
For example, today I woke up kind of tired. I felt the onset of a sore throat approaching as I got ready to work for Curve. I asked my editor if I could take a 20 minute break to do a caffeine run & she told me I could take the day off to relax and enjoy an early weekend. There was work I wanted to get done, but energy wise I was ecstatic to rest.
The first thoughts that popped through my head when I heard early weekend: take a nap, go to the gym, explore downtown, go to the movies, do something fun. I also thought: Go to the post office to send out some mail, and about 15 other small to medium tasks I need to do at some point. I also thought: still do Curve work. There are some interviews I want to transcribe & write.
So, what did I do with my newfound free time. Well, at first I gave some brief web design/Wordpress help via phone & text to a friend. Then I left to get myself a caffeinated Jamba Juice (it was the wrong mix of caffeine and something else. I had a total energy crash after I drank it.) Then I went to the gym, but I was so tired. Before going I had imagined myself having a great workout, instead I did about 1/3 of the weight lifting things that I usually do, I biked for 3 minutes & walk/jogged for 9 minutes. My cardio is usually at least 30 minutes. But I realized I was tired & that what I needed was sleep. So I went home, and I went to sleep. That was how I spent my day off, and it was just what I needed. I may have wanted to get things done or to do something wildly fun, but my body was telling me to sleep and I’m grateful that I listened because I no longer feel like I’m on the brink of getting sick.
That was my small reminder: That the most loving thing to do for myself in the moment may not be the thing that I want to do the most, but when listening to my body, etc – it is the thing that I need to do the most.
Relating to my last self-love post, Everything Is a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity, one thing I mentioned was settling back into my comfort zone & using it as a safety blanket since I moved back to my hometown from college. I have been wearing this safety blanket as a cloak to deter myself from exploring the Bay Area social scene.
A couple days ago, my friend Sam gave me her ticket to a dot429 mixer she won over Twitter. She lives in Texas, so she gave me the ticket since the event is in SF. Dot429 is like an LGBT LinkedIn, and the event was a business mixer. I rarely go to the city to be social. I go to visit family or I go to specific events, usually relating to or with my family. (I have a HUGE family.) But it’s not often that I’ll go to meet a friend and it’s not often that I’ll go by myself. I basically feel like a tourist in San Fran when I’ve been visiting it forever.
I’ve been afraid to go out by myself. Driving 45 minutes down there, finding parking; if it’s a night event, where will I sleep? I don’t know the city well, how will I get around? How will I find where I’m going? Will I be super awkward going to some event by myself? I’d run these questions through my head, setting myself up to be anti-social and stay at home. Which is absurd. I’ve traveled in foreign countries by myself & I loved it. I loved being by myself and I loved making new friends & talking to strangers. I backpacked the East Coast for two months, with no set plan or schedule, not worrying about how I’d get from one state to the next, or which bus or train I’d take. I wasn’t afraid going out by myself & walking around in NYC alone at night, multiple nights in a row. So why on earth should I be afraid to explore and go out in my own “backyard”?
I think the difference is the comfort zone. I was alone & in an environment and mindset where spontaneity & exploring were part of my every day makeup. That was the norm. Now I’m in an environment where I’m surrounded by family & friends & a lot of constants. That is the new norm. And I don’t like it. I want a hybrid of the two.
When Sam gave me the free ticket, that was the push I needed to break out of my norm. I wouldn’t have bought the ticket myself, although I could have. But since she gave it to me, I had to go. I thought about going, it crossed my mind. I wanted to go to past events. I want to go out more, but I needed that push.
Once I decided I was going, I wasn’t nervous at all. I was completely calm and confident. Last night was one of the best, most thrilling and lively nights I have had in a while. I met so many amazing and diverse people and talked to them like we were long time friends & I danced! I love to dance. 🙂
From early in the morning before I left to the city, while driving to the city, while navigating my way around the city by foot & buss at night, while entering the club, while in the club, not once was I nervous, or scared or insecure and doubting myself. I was completely in the moment. This shows me that I have nothing to be worried about. The social life that I want, the exploring that I want to do, going out by myself, seeing the city — I can do all of this, and if no one wants to accompany me, I can do it by myself, and I’ll enjoy it.
Last night was such a cool experience. I felt like I was walking into this family when I entered the place. Before I entered, I asked this lady if I was going in the right direction. I was. She was just leaving, we started talking and got on the topic of Curve Magazine. She was interviewed in the 2011 March issue of Curve and hosts Safaris in Africa. We exchanged business cards. That happened even before I entered. As I entered, the woman by the door greeted me by my name. She mispronounced it, but I was kind of taken aback. It turns out she works for dot429 and she noticed me from my entry in their contest. I ended up in 2nd place in the contest. Then I go to the bar & they tell me vodka drinks are free. I end up chatting will all kinds of people, men & women of various ages and backgrounds. It was just such a blast. 🙂
Experiences like this remind me that I have nothing to fear in life. And the things I do fear, I create. I create them by feeding these insecurities and by continuously lying to myself and forming this perception of a fake reality.
For example: I won’t be safe walking around by myself in the city at night (which may not be the safest, but honestly, what are the chances of something horrific happening to me? Slim to none. So why live in fear & not explore? It will lead to regrets & a dull life.)
Another false lie I tell myself: I’ll be sitting alone if I go out by myself, I’ll feel awkward and I won’t enjoy the experience.
If I go out by myself, I’ll never be sitting by myself, unless I want to be. Last night, I was chatting up the person before I entered, the person at the door, the first two people by the door as I entered the club. I said hi to just about everyone I made contact with. The most engaging conversations I had were with this group of co-workers and this older man. I met the group of co-workers because I approached these two women who were deep into conversation and asked them what they were talking about.
These were the two women I approached who were deep in conversation, which lead to me having a great time with them & their co-workers.
I approached the older man because he was standing by himself, tapping his foot to the music and looked like he was enjoying himself, but would also enjoy conversation. He was So Much Fun to talk too! And dance with. 🙂
At one point I did sit down by myself, but that was because I wanted to. I was hanging out with some people & decided I wanted a breather to just sit back and relax. So when I was by myself, it was by choice, it was relaxing and not at all awkward.
Sometimes, to do things outside of your comfort zone, to get comfortable with it, to let go of fears, you just have to take that first step. You have to confront your fears. You have to dip a foot outside of your comfort zone. For me, I realized that “living outside of my comfort zone” is actually very much in my comfort zone.
Sometimes we just need to take that first step into the unknown to realize that it’s not that scary & actually very beautiful.
Emelina Minero writes for Curve Magazine and EDGE Media Network. She’s working on launching her own progressive LGBTQ publication. She’s a Connection Connoisseur, Networking Maven and Self-Love Enthusiast. She founded Community Bucket List and co-founded the Love Warrior Community. Find her on Twitter, @CommKr8veWriter.
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