Picture this: I am sitting at a table, surrounded by people I don’t know in an upscale restaurant full of food I can’t pronounce in a huge city where I am completely lost. Everyone at the table is in heated discussion on a topic I should at least know SOMETHING about, but they may as well be speaking in tongues. Someone asks my opinion and they all turn their attention to me in silence. I am at a complete loss and begin to shift in my seat, evaluating whether it’s possible to slide under the table and die unnoticed. I did not suddenly wake up in my usual cold sweats, riddled with anxiety from this nightmare. It was my first day at my new job last week, and sadly this nightmare was my new reality.
It has been quite some time since I felt like the dumbest person in the room. For the past 33 years, I’ve lived, worked and played in the place I was born, only venturing out for short, well-planned trips or vacations. It’s easy to feel like a real smarty pants when you see the same people and do the same things day in and day out. Subconsciously, I have created my own little comfort bubble that keeps my ego from being bruised and prevents me from failure…as well as hindering me from great success. I’ve finally decided that it’s far more desirable to be the dumbest person in the room who is being pushed upward to meet the standards of my surroundings than to know something inside and out at the top of my game with only one direction left to go.
I have embarked on what I am certain is the most exciting journey of my life. In turn, it is also the scariest and most challenging thing I’ve ever done. This past week I’ve experienced complete mental and physical exhaustion, working 12-hour days and spending my brief time before sleep drowning myself in literature, podcasts and YouTube videos, attempting to cram as much information into my already full brain as humanly possible. Leaving everything and essentially everyone I know behind, I have drained the last of my savings and relied on the generosity of a friend’s couch for the next 2 ½ weeks, all to push myself out of the comfortable shell, or hell, of my own making and begin building the life of my dreams. Knowing I was grossly underqualified for this position, I fought tooth and nail to prove why I should be hired and now I’m doing the same to prove to myself as much as everyone else that I can achieve anything I want. It is going to take everything I have- sleepless nights, asking embarrassing questions, tears, loneliness, isolation and picking myself back up as many times as I fall, but I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity. Because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The greater the risk, the greater the reward and all the other BS cliché sayings that are rooted in truth. So long as I keep myself in my bubble making zero changes, then nothing ever changes. Sure I might not get hurt, but I’ll also never make progress. And every opportunity at failure is just as much an opportunity at success, it all depends on how badly I want it.
When a person gains weight, their pants get tight and make them uncomfortable because they’ve grown. When they work out and get sore it’s because the muscles are ripping and physically growing. And I believe when your heart gets broken it’s for the same reason. Your heart is a muscle and just like the others, when it gets ripped to shreds and is aching its because it is actually expanding to make room for the love of the right person. Discomfort is directly equated to change in our lives-you can’t have one without the other.
Sometimes things happen in life that force you to abandon your comfort zone. You embrace the discomfort, knowing it is going to push you to greater things and that feeling becomes a strange sort of comfort on its own. For the first time in many years I am LEARNING. I’m feeling challenged and eager, and while I might collapse every night, I wake up every morning with a renewed sense of purpose and pride. There is nothing holding me back anymore, I’ve freed myself from every emotional and physical rope that bound me to achieving my highest self. I am the luckiest girl in the world, because I now have the power to be anyone I want to be. I’ve realized I like who I am at my core, but I just want to make her a more worldly, educated and enlightened version, instead of stagnant, stunted and ultimately regretful of what might have been.
Every person reading this has the same opportunity I’ve been given. If you truly want something you’ll find every way in the world to make it work and if you don’t you’ll always find an excuse for why it can’t. I am so excited to be taking you all along on this journey with me and wish you the same level of pain and discomfort – as well as growth and happiness- as myself.