My Comfort Zone

I violated the boundaries of my Comfort Zone not once, but twice yesterday. I think I deserve a pat on the back for that, so I’ll wait while you congratulate me.

Thank you! Thank you very much.

Don’t you even want to know what you are congratulating me for? Of course you do.

First, you should know that my Comfort Zone is not very large. It’s approximately the size of our half of the duplex. And maybe part of the surrounding yard, depending on the situation. Going outside of the Zone is not hard in the sense that it happens often – out of necessity – but it is always difficult.

You should also know that the phone is not my friend. As a hopelessly shy child who grew into an even more hopelessly shy adult, talking on the phone to an acquaintance is less comfortable for me than wearing sandpaper in my shorts. I have no problems calling my credit card company or a place of service where I will never meet the person I’m speaking to. Likewise, I can phone talk to my mom or my friend-since-5th-grade, M, for ridiculous amounts of time (as long as I’m wearing my headset and can simultaneously get the dishes or the laundry done). But the thought of calling someone I know only slightly – and worse, someone who I want to like me – is terrifying.

I know. I’m not right.

But then, I never said I was.

This week, however, my need to talk to someone who “gets it” far outweighed my fears. This week was not a nice week. It started on Monday morning with the blog post that shocked the MilSpouse community and left us reeling with sadness and unanswered questions. I know many of you are still thinking hard about Jessica and worrying about her. I know I am.

Later that same day I got some news on the fertility forefront that was less than welcome. T and I haven’t given up hope yet, but I suspect we have a road ahead that neither one of us was anticipating. And that, quite frankly, sucks. I’ve decided that in the interest of privacy I’ll be taking our fertility foibles offline. And if you know me in person, please don’t ask. Thank you in advance.

As the week wore on, concerned emails flew back and forth between MilSpouses about Jessica. Slightly hopeful answers have begun to emerge, but I think a lot of us felt a need to cling a little tighter to the people we know. So, by Thursday, I was sitting on my porch step with a slip of paper in one hand and the phone in the other.

Okay, I thought. Just do it!

And I’m so glad I did. Before I knew it, I was chatting away with Michelle from The Annoyed Army Wife and feeling wonderfully at ease. She is, quite possibly, one of the sweetest people I’ve ever spoken with. I’ve jealously watched as different MilSpouses have hooked up with fellow bloggers then posted pictures of their time together, knowing that up here in Maine I’ll probably never get the opportunity to connect with any of you in that way. So it was pretty exciting to at least have a phone date, and getting to know Michelle a little better turned out to be a lot of fun.

That was the first leap. The second was last night when I took an Adult Ed photography class. I adore both learning and teaching, so I’m pretty comfortable in almost any classroom setting, but I always have this weird anxiety before doing anything new.

I have developed equally weird routines to get me through it: I have to make sure I wear sleeveless shirts because I’m sure to sweat my pits into a frenzy. I have to fly around the house for at least a half an hour before leaving, focusing on getting things done so that I don’t focus on my anxiety and how much I feel like throwing up. In the hour before I left I somehow managed to: cook and eat a full dinner, empty the trash, put the dog out then in, empty the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, give the cat her liver pill, scoop the cat box, sweep the floor and get myself out the door.

Um, yeah. The words “whirling dervish” come to mind. Imagine what it would be like if I were hyperthyroid right now.

Then on the way to school, I started the next part of my routine: Is my hair sticking out? Is my fly up? Do I have anything in my teeth? (Unlikely since I brushed before leaving, but still must check.) Do my shoes match? Do I have my cell phone, gum, tissues, lip stuff and/or keys? (Duh, I’m driving). Is my fly up? (Must check at least twice.)

It’s exhausting being me. And now you know why I never leave the house.

The good news is the class – once I got there – was phenomenal. I learned so much about my camera that I might actually take it off auto. I know what ISO, shutter speed and aperture are now. I know how to get more light in a picture without using a flash. I discovered that my camera has a macro function and I figured out how to turn off the Assist Lamp, which is that little light that makes my pets close their eyes every time I take a picture of them.

The only irritating part was that there were two bozos in the back who sucked up class time by not knowing the location of a single thing on their camera. You know the type. They came in late. They asked stupid questions. (Yes. Yes, there IS such a thing as a stupid question.) Every time the instructor asked, “Did everyone find that on their camera?” their answer would invariably be, “No,” and he’d have to go help them. How do you not know where your flash button is? And if you can’t find it, could you please at least look? The rest of us paid too and would like to learn something. This is not a private session.

Remember that 4-Lenses personality test? That’s the Green. Sorry about that. But I’ve got no patience for stupid.

So, anyway, yeah. Two Zone breaches in one day. Not too shabby. Now if I can just get through the Adult Ed writing seminar I signed up for on Saturday.

Is my fly up?

6 responses to “My Comfort Zone

  1. Hey there – sorry that you’ve had some roadblocks lately. I checked out Jessica’s blog and my thoughts are with her and her family, and with all her many friends. May she find healing with the passing of time.

    Also respect your decision about the fertility issue. I have a friend who has been trying for 10 years and just recently learned she is pregnant…it’s been a long hard road with various different fertility methods but they’re stronger than ever now and excited for what’s coming. I’m thinking of you and T and please know that you can always send me an email if you need to talk. :)

    Also, I live in Maine too, and I *used* to be a military girlfriend! If you ever want to get together let me know, I’d love to grab lunch in Portland or something!

  2. The word sad doesn’t even begin to describe that blog post from Jessica. I don’t know her but I’m worried and heartsick too. I can’t imagine what the MilSpouse community is going through. :( Good for you for pushing through the uncomfortable patches and reaching out to someone–it sounds like something everyone needed.

    You talking about the shyness and all that – you remind me *so* much of one of my closest friends. I love that you’re reaching out. It takes guts, but it’s totally worth it. So yes–consider this congratulations and several pats on the back. :)

  3. Congrats on stepping outside of your comfort zone. That’s a really difficult thing for anyone to do and you did it twice in one week. Good job!

  4. Holy crap, it was so good to talk to you. Um, but you just blew my cover of ‘too cool for words, sarcastic, cynic’ by calling me sweet. ;) Do you know why I gave you my number and told you to call? Yeah, I’m totally petrified to call people, plus since I don’t work most days of the week (groan) there’s a chance I have more free time than most people and a phone to me is likely not interrupting anything. Before I forget, why is your cat taking liver pills? Is that a normal cat thing or is your cat sneaking shots of whiskey while you’re at work? I so want to hear more about your photography class. Did you get a fancy camera?

  5. Hehe, what a nice, upbeat post, especially since everyone has been so shocked by Jessica’s post this past week. Great to hear that you enjoyed chatting to Michelle, & that the photography class turned out a success. I’ll be sending positive vibes your way on the fertility front. Hugs!!

  6. LOL! You sound so much like me it’s not even funny. I hate to call people! Unless it’s my family of course… I don’t know why I have such bad phone anxiety.

    And the fear of going someplace new has held me back too many times. I really want to take one of those photography classes but I’m scared to go on my own. I’m sure I can work up the courage…I FINALLY worked up the courage to go see a movie by myself when The Hubble was deployed.

    And can I just tell you how jealous I am that you and The Annoyed Army Wife got to talk?? Yeah…totally! ;-)

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