Freckles in April: February 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It Isn't Supposed to be Comfortable


My last morning at my old gym


Some time last year I outgrew my small gym. That gym had been part of my morning routine for almost 2 years and I couldn't fathom going anywhere else so, when my membership came up, I renewed for six more months. When that six months ended I knew I couldn't renew again. I needed different equipment, some coaching, more options. It was past time to move on.

There's a super affordable full gym in my old neighborhood where a ton of my friends go and I seriously considered it but, when I was honest with myself, I knew I wanted to try CrossFit. I got a recommendation for a box near my house and signed up for a two week trial.

The day before I started at the new place I went for a run. I'm not much of a runner but I was crazy terrified of starting CrossFit and I needed to run off my antsy nerves. After less than half a mile I was huffing and puffing and thought, "What am I doing?? I can't even run a mile without wanting to die, what makes me think I can handle a CrossFit workout?" And then I had a thought.

This is normal. 

It isn't supposed to be comfortable.

The shortness of breath. The tightness in my chest. It's normal. Sure, if I ran regularly it might not be quite as much of an issue but it's still an expected side effect. Running isn't comfortable. Exercise isn't comfortable.

As soon as I had that thought I decided to be ok with being uncomfortable. I turned up my music and ran until I got bored. I ran 4 miles. I can't tell you the last time I ran that far. I think it was 2009.

A few days later I was getting ready to release the first episode of my podcast and I had the thought that it wasn't too late to back out. I could just keep that one finished episode and my handful of drafts to myself and no one ever needed to hear them. I was uncomfortable imagining what people would think when they heard it, how I would explain it when I ran into old friends at the grocery store and they inevitably asked, "What have you been up to lately?"

And then I remembered:

This is normal. 

It isn't supposed to be comfortable.

New projects are fun but they also come with a certain amount of discomfort as you grow and stretch and learn. Putting yourself out there isn't comfortable. Letting people see vulnerable parts of you isn't comfortable.

I reminded myself that I am ok with being uncomfortable. I published the episode.

Over the past couple weeks I've noticed that life is not comfortable.

Talking to people I disagree with. Going to the lady doctor. Calling someone out on an inappropriate joke. Trying new foods. Sharing a deeply held belief. Driving in unfamiliar areas. These things make me wildly uncomfortable and that's normal. But I can choose to be ok with the discomfort, to do the thing anyway. Comfort zones are, well, comfortable. But good things happen outside them. Growing. Strengthening. Stretching. Learning. Expansion. Joy. Once I dropped the expectation of comfort I felt limitless.

Today at CrossFit my coach was teaching me a new skill involving a wonky hand grip. As I was trying to wiggle my fingers into position she said, "I know, it's not comfortable." I honestly almost laughed. I stretched my hands a little further and said, "That's ok!" and in my head I added,

I'm not here to be comfortable.



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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Scared of Everything

If you read my post about my resolutions for 2018 you may recall that I wanted to take time to be creative. Normally I try to make my goals a lot more specific than that but, when it comes to creativity, you kind of just have to leave it open and see what happens.

I've had the itch for a while. Blogging regularly used to scratch it for me (I love to write- especially in short, snippety form) but now that I'm not doing it very often it's like the creative part of my brain found itself a sharp stick and has been jabbing at me in a very annoyed fashion almost any time I have a down moment. Every time I hopped on Pinterest or found a particularly lovely Instagram account or saw a gorgeous sunrise, I'd feel that poke poke poke and think, "I have GOT to make or do something."

When I made my resolution I had a mental list of options: take an art class of some sort, practice hand lettering more often, take more pictures with my nice camera, start a podcast, write a novel, find something new to blog about.

Honestly, I thought the podcast option was the absolute least likely thing to happen but then, one night a few weeks ago, I had crazy insomnia and spent hours thinking through all the things I'm afraid of and their associated emergency plans. I am scared of a LOT of things. Normal things, dumb things, legitimate things, irrational things. And I thought, "I'd like to talk about the things I'm scared of. I want to hear what other people are scared of. I SHOULD DO A PODCAST ABOUT THIS."

And thus Scared of Everything: A Podcast About Dumb, Weird and Irrational Fears was born.

I don't want to get your hopes up- this is entirely something I am doing for myself, to scratch my itch and stretch myself. It might be boring. It might be lame. But it's something that, so far, I have really enjoyed doing. It combines something I really love (short, snippety writing) with things that are entirely new to me (audio recording and editing and a lot of other tech stuff that has kicked my butt).

I spent a week and a half slowly sketching out the logo I had in my head only to run into technical issues when it came to digitizing it. So it's not my current logo and it may never be, but the finished product was never the point, was it? For that week and a half I'd periodically go, "OH! An umbrella!" and then run to find my pencil and add to my sketch or remove something that wasn't working and the sad, neglected, creative part of my brain laid down its stick and was happy.

You can listen to my very first episode right here or you can find it on iTunes!

And if you have a dumb, weird or irrational fear I'd LOVE to hear about it. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to handle outside submissions (read them myself? Have people come on and chat with me?) but you can email me at scaredofeverythingpod@gmail.com. I've also set up an IG account to share pictures related to episodes (because fears really need visuals, you know?).


(PS Happy Valentine's Day!)
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