Stepping outside of the comfort zone. Mixing it up. Consciously stopping myself when I do what I've always done and taking the time to do it differently.
This has been my own personal campaign over the past few months. Since I have had the emotional ability to state my name without weeping and I've realized that my life will now be what I make of it, I've wanted to avoid what my life has been for the past 17 years: hunkering down, surviving, living in my head instead of my life, and continuing in a rut that was all to conveniently laid out in front of me.
I've managed to do this with the same techniques that I have done when I find myself in a knitting rut. I've found myself going from one project to the next, always using the same color yarn or the same sized needles or doing the same project until I finally stop myself as I'm planning my next gig and I say "What would I choose to do reflexively?"
I then formulate in my mind what would be the exact opposite of that reflex.
When I found myself nestled in the happiness of blue yarn, I decided to knit something with orange yarn. I never had an inspiration to use orange yarn. I have never picked up orange yarn and thought "Oh my, but that is lovely!" I have actually had the idea, when picking up orange yarn of "DAYEM! That is some hideous shit!"
So I started knitting with orange yarn and I started to look at the color orange with a new eye and a few more projects down the road, I realized I was getting into a rut with orange and I reached for the next challenge for myself...pink. I hate pink, pink is for girly girls, pink is all feminine and soft and weak.
Until I got to making my pink socks (put on hold currenly due to hand pain). My pink socks are beautiful. Someday, I might even have two. If not, I may hack off my other foot with a kitchen knife so as to enjoy the beauty of the single sock.
So, you get the idea. Recognize your comfort zone, be honest about how you feel about change, then challenge yourself to change without freaking out.
I've always been one to not rock the boat in my marriage because I was afraid to be called a bitch. I was afraid to be a boat rocker. I wanted everything to be quiet and normal and I defined this by being afraid of change. Let's just keep going along and pretend that everything is ok and maybe we'll convince ourselves that feeling like shit every day is normal.
Yeah, I'm trying to develop life habits that challenge my concepts that change is a bad thing. From yarn, I have traveled to clothing.
There are three or four resale shops in our area that have served as a source for my new wardrobe over the past few months. I honestly don't think I have very many pieces of clothing that I had a year ago. I used to go in and look at everything and then choose one or two frumpy things and then settle on the one that depressed me the least. Now, I literally will grab anything and everything that might be even mildly kicky and I take a mound of clothes into the changing room. I'm actually taking more than two seconds in there...you know...like girls usually do.
85-90% of the time, I don't buy anything because I now refuse to settle for anything that doesn't make me actually feel good when I'm wearing it. I'm super critical which keeps me from spending money unwisely but over the past few months, I've managed to turn over my wardrobe into something that I'm not ashamed of.
And sparkly things! OH! Sparkly things! I stopped at a garage sale today because I saw something sparkly from the road and it turned out to be a dress that I scored for $2 and I will be wearing it to an actual function next month in which sparkly things will be expected. It's slinky and shows off my tatts which I love. Even at my present weight, a year ago I would have never thought to put a dress like this on.
You never know until you try...kind of like broccoli.
So today I decided to put this challenge to myself when I got my hair cut. I do not go to fancy places to get my hair cut. I will never go to fancy places to get my hair cut. My hair has the texture of a rabid hedgehog and all the body of Don Knotts at Muscle Beach. It cannot be permed, it cannot be curled, and it is so heavy that if it is grown out, it weighs a ton and cannot be contained by any ponytail holder, barrette, or hair containment device. My last haircut had the stylist commenting that he had never seen hair so straight aside from people of Asian heritage. I told him that since I was 100% Korean, I found his failure to recognize me as a member of the Korean community to be, frankly, insulting.
For some reason, he just looked at me as if I were seriously a VERY CAUCASIAN ASIAN. I followed that comment up with a very small voice and told him that I was just kidding.
I was actually Laotian.
ANYWAY, the majority of the time, when I go in to get a haircut, I get a stylist that is no doubt competent but not necessarily creative. I ALWAYS judge a stylist by their own clothes and hair. Is this wrong? I don't know. All I know is that if my stylist looks like she put her clothes on with a pitchfork and styled her hair with an egg beater, I'm probably not going to ask her for advice on what to do with my rabid hedgehog. I will just keep it simple and have the same thing that I had last time.
But today? Today the gods of opportunity were smiling down upon me. I went in right when they opened in the morning and I was the only customer there. (I know these folks are supposed to get through a certain amount of customers in an hour and if they are busy, I also don't make them 'get creative'.) I looked at the stylist and I knew that I had a keeper. He was both artsy and fartsy and absolutely unique.
When I sat down, I asked him what he wanted to do with my hair. I told him how I usually had it and that I needed something creative. Not only did he ask all the right questions, but he also avoided all the small talk that makes me HATE getting my hair cut. I'm not an antisocial bitch, I just hate blathering on about 'what I have planned for today' or 'how long I've lived in Duluth'. I am perfectly contented to shut my eyes and just listen to the conversations around me. It can be very entertaining.
So, my hair is now cut in such a way to make spiking it up like a crazy woman the best option. Something I would have never done a year ago. (I would have WANTED to do it, but I wouldn't have done it. Why? Because I was a ninny.)
I've always lived fearlessly...in my head.
You know what? Life is way too short for that.