Small Steps

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Someday…

I once worked with a woman that moved across the country all by herself to live in a town where she knew no one. My cousin travelled Europe for a year all by himself.  I envy them both.

I remember in college going to a basketball game by myself once.  All my friends (yes I actually had friends and still do) were busy, but being a diehard fan I was determined I wouldn’t let that fact keep me from going. I distinctly remember sitting in the stands with thousands of cheering people around me and feeling more alone than ever. I thought how ironic (I think that is the right word but Alannis would know better) it was to feel so alone when I was surrounded by so many people.

It’s a feeling I’ve since tried to avoid.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy travelling or eating out – it’s the alone part I don’t like. I like to have someone to go with me. I’m one of those that takes two friends to the bathroom with me. When I’m travelling on my own for business, I typically eat room service or take out. For me the idea of walking into a restaraunt and sitting alone to enjoy a meal terrifies me.  I’m breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about it!

I’m not sure what it is about it that makes me so uneasy. When I think about it, staying home to avoid being seen alone doesn’t make much sense. If I’m at home alone does it mean I’m not really alone? (Is that akin to if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?) Sure I enjoy watching Netflix in my PJs, but I also like taking photos at the metropark, listening to live music and being served a delicious meal. I’ve missed out on so much in the past by limiting myself to only going places when I had someone to go with me.

In the past couple of years, I’ve spent more and more time sitting in the stands or in the audience alone, watching my kids play sports and perform. I wouldn’t miss those moments for anything. Not once has anyone stared at me or called me a loser for not having someone to sit with me.  And even if they were, I have my trusty smart phone to protect me and distract me. I know I shouldn’t use it as a crutch to hide my shyness. If I put the phone down and looked more approachable or open maybe I’d meet Mr. Right (see my previous post) at one of these functions. LOL

So…is the solution to make more friends or step out and enjoy my own company? Maybe a little of both I’m thinking. Today, though, I’m proud to write that I took one step toward embracing my “singleness.”  I went to a movie at the theater by myself, bought a popcorn and a diet pop, sat back and enjoyed watching Ryan Reynolds on the big screen for two hours. The world didn’t come to end. I laughed and had a good time.  I know it is a small step, but for me it still felt pretty good. Next week maybe I’ll wine and dine myself. We’ll see…unless maybe you’d like to go with me?

What do you do when you can’t find a pal to go out with? Skip it or head out anyway?

 

Fear is…Frightening

a-to-z-letters-fFear is not my friend. Somewhere along the line that enemy of an emotion, I’m sure serves some purpose. But, I for one do not seek it out on purpose and I can’t understand why anyone would want to. I will be the last person you’ll find watching a scary movie. I’m the girl who thought Charley and the Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz were scary. I can count on my hand the number of actual “scary” movies I’ve seen in my life – none by actual choice.

I saw  Halloween (you may have heard of it) in grade school at a girlfriend’s slumber party. I was afraid to be the only one that was too big of a “baby” not to watch. Unfortunately for me my vivid imagination replayed scenes from the movie preventing me from restful sleep for months (just ask my mother!) Poltergeist and Nightmare on Elm Street were two more peer-pressured movies I witnessed. Both led to more sleepless nights, where I humbly admit I pressured my younger sister into sleeping with me. What I thought she would do if we were actually attacked by Michael Myers or Freddie Krueger or that crazy clown under the bed, I don’t know. But I felt better having her there.

These days my fears are less about being stalked, haunted or murdered (although maybe they should be given the news on any given day), but more about the kind of fear that keeps me from being the best that I can be. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not being liked. The fear of conflict. The fear of not moving forward. The fear of hurting someone’s feelings. The fear of failing my children. The fear of my dreams never coming true and the fear that they might actually come true and then what?

I hate that stomach-churning, sweat-beading feeling I get when I face something I don’t want to do. When it comes to fight or flight, my brain tells me to run as fast as I can and not look back. Yet deep down I know there is a time to fight and push that fear way forever. I find that courage more and more as I gradually venture outside my comfort zone. To pursue my dreams and not be afraid to be the woman I’m meant to be. To open my eyes going down the biggest hill on the roller coaster and see the track before me. To eat in a hotel restaurant alone instead of ordering room service. That’s they only way I’m going to be able to look at the fear reflected in my daughters’ eyes when they can’t sleep at night or are fearful that something they touched might make them sick. I want to tell them everything is going to be OK, and mean it. I want them to know it’s OK to fail and it’s OK to be afraid, but its not OK to let either stop them from their dreams.

What are you afraid of? Would you go to a scary movie on purpose?

An Or, an Or, an Oreo…

English: Two regular Oreo cookies. Please chec...
 Photo credit: Wikipedia#

“I want to scream and shout and let it all out. . .An Or, an Or, an Oreo…”

My children have decided these are the lyrics to Brittney Spears latest song and I think I kind of like them better than the actual lyrics. When the song comes on radio (and it seems like it’s every time I turn it on), I can’t help but sing along using the Oreo version, which then is permanently stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

If you think about it, when I’m upset and overwhelmed I do want to scream and shout and then eat a Oreo or two or the whole package! My youngest daughter has been my latest exasperation. She’s afraid she’s going to throw up. Mind you, she hasn’t gotten sick in a very long time. I’m talking years. Nevertheless, from the moment she gets home she starts peppering me with questions about what will and won’t or could possibly make her throw up. She’s afraid any little thing will cause her to up-chuck. If she washes her hands and a soap bubble pops on her lips she’s afraid she’ll be sick. If she sees some thing “odd” in her food (like a speck of pepper), she refuses to ear. She constantly asks me if I think she’s going to throw up or if her sister is or if I am. If anyone even suggests the don’t feel well she starts to freak out and cry. It is driving everyone crazy. I’ve tried reassuring her that we wouldn’t feed her food that would make her sick (at least not intentionally – I’ll admit I’m not the best cook).

This fear has taken over her life. She doesn’t want to go to school and cries every morning and at school as well. We are trying to go ten days without crying, but so far the longest she’s gone is a day. If she makes it to ten, I promised to come to school and help out with “jobs” in her kindergarten room. Her teacher feels she’s just going through a phase and I agree, but right now it’s hard to see her so upset. I’m at a loss at what to do to help. Maybe a Oreo would help? Yeah, that’s a good plan. In fact, I think my little one should give me hers too (just in case they might make her sick). I’ll take one for the team:)

Seriously though, if anyone has any ideas to help her over her throw-up fear, I’d love to hear them!