the year i found comfort in being uncomfortable
2018 may have been the year-
I reported an assault by a coworker,
saw 4 specialists for an ongoing health concern,
quit my job,
and learned my college was closing-
BUT it also was the year I was accepted to study in Hawaii!
It was the year I traveled alone for the first time,
got my first apartment in the city,
got a new job,
and started school at Simmons.
My semester even ended with a social work course that gave me the opportunity to practice interviewing skills with a professional actor as the “client.”
Things just fell into place.
I honestly cannot say this year was a bad one. It was one of the best. It was the most challenging year, and I feel I have grown a lot. I have grown out of my shell, but into who I am meant to be.
I remember once thinking that if I could name several bad things that happened come New Years Eve, it could not possibly have been a good year.
When I see myself now, I stand a little taller. I speak a little slower. And you know “it’s real” when your mom sees you 2 months later to say, “you just seem a lot older.” Don’t get me wrong- I am still the Haley who giggles in just about any conversation. (when appropriate) I am still waiting for my Sound Of Music moment in an open field. What my mom saw in me wasn’t just independence or a greater maturity. She saw my confidence.
I once thought that confidence meant you will never be nervous in your own skin.
You will trust that mistakes won’t happen.
You will stand on a stage with lights pointing at you from all directions and feel like you never left your bedroom.
THAT is confidence; right?
Well, I came up with a new meaning for confidence. When my mom told me she could see my confidence, I was a little lost. Confident had never been a word anyone would use to describe me. What I recall my response to my mom being, was that “Really, I’m not confident. I think I have just found comfort in being uncomfortable.”
I did not put much thought to it, but when I said it out loud I knew it was true.
Just three years ago, I had such terrible fears of humiliating myself in front of others. Stuttering when I speak. Shaking during presentations. Appearing unintelligent. I thought that any sign of imperfection, or any sign that gave away I was truly far from confidence, determined my worth. How I wanted to show up, vs. how I did mattered an awful lot to me. I hated myself when I could not be how I wanted to be. It sounds terrible to write it too, but I did. I hated myself. For being human?
What is different now?
What is different now is that I know and accept that I may fumble over my words. I accept that I may end up in the wrong direction. I accept that I may make a rocky first impression. I am not confident, not exactly. Not yet, at least. I have simply found a satisfaction with my quirks. I may recognize all that may go wrong, but this time I shrug my shoulders and remind myself I’m OK. I believe it too. “I’m OK.” I give myself much more room to fall, and even more room to grow because of it.
I once wrote that if we accept the fact that things will never come easy it will just make us work that much harder, and be that much stronger.
We like a challenge, but we also fear failure.
My first reaction when I think of 2018, besides “holy shit that happened”, is “I did that.”
I could not have been prepared for all that challenged me this year. I could not practice standing a little taller, speaking a little louder, being a little tougher. Confidence was not an option. It was much more like, “let’s throw her in the fire and see how she does.”
The end of this year I am not so much thinking of all that has happened. I am much more interested in how much I have changed in a year. I am still me, but I feel brighter, I feel wiser, I feel proud.
If confident means being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, then call me confident. I have done just that, and with grace.
This 2018 was about growth and healing, and I intend to keep working on myself, for myself.
I trust that whatever you bring me, it will help shape me.
This year I shall strive for greater advocacy and answers.
This time- for my health. (future post to come)