mundane ways i confronted my general anxiety disorder–

(or, more specifically, my failed Within Seven Days project of 2015)

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I’m both generally irrationally scared of life and struggling to find a life for myself since moving to Grand Forks, ND in April, 2014. Last December, my brother provided a brilliant suggestion to help me improve both of those–do something out of my comfort zone every week.

I began 2015 with the best of intentions, but, well, life happens how it does. And I didn’t end up finishing the project. (In fact, as regular visitors to my blog probably noticed, I basically vanished from here, for about two years. But that is a topic for another time.) The project didn’t revolutionize my perspective or help me to build a life for myself. (Leaving my husband provided that. But that is a topic for another time.) Although, Within Seven Days did help build my confidence.

Even working through small challenges–those stupid things that I know shouldn’t even cause anxiety, helped to prove to myself that usually the worst that could happen is equally as inert as the action or event I feared in the first place.

That being said, here are a few of the bigger and tiny things I did–within seven days–to force myself out of my shell of insecurity and social anxiety.

Disco toes!

I got a pedicure with a friend at a place I had never been to before.

And I chose sparkle nail polish, something I’m pretty sure I haven’t worn since– probably middle school?

Definitely not since becoming a legal adult.  It was out of my comfort zone, and it was fun.

Out of curiosity if I could actually do it, and to support an awesome friend-I started (and subsequently completed!) The Whole30.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s basically more extreme Paleo–no sugar, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no dairy for thirty days. No cheat days. My friend was doing it to start off the new year by working on getting back into heathy eating habits and getting more into shape.

I wasn’t too concerned about losing weight–really, I just wanted to end my sugar addiction. I did end up losing a few pounds though, I got more toned. I tried some fun new recipes and learned to cook a bit more.

But, not surprisingly, got back addicted to sugar a few weeks after I finished.

I renewed my gym membership, because I super love zumba.  A workout where I get to dance like a weirdo and get in shape?!  That is perfect.  Granted, the intention of zumba, is not to intentionally dance like weirdo, I just have no rhythm and coordination–and love to dance anyway, so weirdo-dancing-ness is inevitable for me.

This week, I stepped out of my comfort zone by attending a spin class.  It isn’t even that I haven’t done spin before.  I have–but it was at a different gym.  When I first went to spin, I attended the class with a friend who loved spin, she told me what to expect, and I had a buddy.  I always feel safe doing something with someone who has done whatever we are doing before.  I can learn how that new situation works from my cozy comfort zone nestled behind a knowledgable friend.

I went blonde.  I’ve always loved that short funky bleach/platinum blonde look.  For example, my adorable friend used to embrace this style. Inspired by a her, I was about to finally go fit a couple of years ago, only to find out she was about to move to the Azores–and two friends with basically the same hairstyle who hung out together all the time on a tiny island would be too weird.

I accepted a job at a gorgeous salon, with very talented stylists. I figured I’d never have a better opportunity to give it a go–so, I’m blonde.  I’ve certainly never done that before.

Bright red lipstick–something I have always thought was fun, but never had the confidence to try. This week, I tried it.

I wore bright red lipstick.  It goes well with my fun new blonde hair. Previously, I had always felt far too self-conscious to try such a dramatic color.  However, I tried it, and I loved it.  Although, I still need to learn who to avoid getting it on every glass my lips touch. I think it goes well with the blond.

I got a Brazilian wax.  So that is a thing that exists in the world.

And something that is well out of my comfort zone.

And something I’m not really planning to do again.

I asked for a raise.  It was terrifying.  I didn’t get it.  I ended up feeling rather embarrassed that I’d asked (Yay for being gender-socialized as a woman!)

However, in reality, I’m glad I asked.  It was far out of my comfort zone; I did it anyway.  I learned the worst thing that will happen is–well–I won’t get a raise. And I can live with that, so at least I tried.

I tried Brussels Sprouts, and they are pretty much awesome. I also tried sweet potato, and that is pretty much awesome. My world is now more vegetable-awesome x 2!

I went to the mall, a place I don’t really like to go anyway, especially on the weekend.  It’s just really intense with all the of the people and all of the stuff. If I’m not mentally prepared for being surrounded by so much sensory stimulus, it is overwhelming.  I was shopping for more work clothes (black, lots and lots of black).

I wandered into Sephora, a store I feel even less comfortable in than the mall as a whole. (Not because it is full of people, but more because I feel like it’s obvious I don’t really belong there, you know?) However, now that I work in beauty industry wearing makeup is a requirement of my job (which I also sort of take issue with, because the male employees aren’t ‘required’ to wear makeup, but that is a battle I currently have no interest in fighting).

smokey eyes
I learned how to do smokey eyes with my new blonde hair.

I stepped far out of my comfort zone and asked one of the very sweet (and intimidatingly pretty) associates to help me learn how to do a subtle smokey eyeshadow (one of my lovely stylists recommended I try a more drastic eyeshadow with my new hair color–yep, this is my world now).  Anyway, the lady was darling and very patient with my lack of makeup knowledge. I did end up buying some fun new makeup (did I seriously just describe makeup as fun?  Well, this is my world now?)

I tried something new and asked a complete stranger to put things on my face to make me pretty and tell me about it. But she was super nice.

I have pinterest boards full of these cute, feminine, professional styles.

I also tried a new outfit for work. I always loved these cute flared skirts and cardigans with little belts, but I’d never tried the look.

I’ve never quite had the confidence to try one of these skirts, or quite knew the right way to wear one?

And those cute belts, what is the right way to wear those?

Luckily, Pinterest is a thing that exists to answer those very pressing questions.

I tried fried pickles for the first time.  The thing about pickles is, I know I’m fine with the taste of them–however, they never sound desirable to eat.  Last night at dinner, I tried some. It was good. So, good job, pickles!  Way to make my mouth happy!

This week, I was invited to attend a monthly meeting held by several progressive feminist women. The idea of attending was a super intimidating because I was going to a house I’d never been to, to meet women (and men) most of whom I’d never met, and I was going to be late–which meant that always awkward late entrance.  However, if I’m making myself try new things, this is a great opportunity to meet other nice humans who share many of my ideals.

So I went. And it was lovely. And I plan to go again next month.

I took part in the Grand Cities Art Fest. Two days of trying to sell art, talking to new people, sitting in the summer heat–I’m proud of myself for doing it.

I met some lovely people. But once it was over at 4pm on Sunday, I packed up my stuff, headed home, ate a bit of food, and fell asleep at 6pm.  I didn’t get up until 8am the next morning to get ready for work. My introverted self was entirely drained.

I know I haven’t been embracing this project with the intensity that I should.  Something new every week?  Something out of my comfort zone?

And I get my makeup done? Talk to strangers? Pick a new color of nail polish?!  Wow, me, way to embrace the unique experiences of life!

Granted, I could’ve pushed myself to new limits and new extremes. Reflecting back on these posts they all seem so trivial, and fairly mundane. I know most people who read this (or who read my weekly posts during 2015) were likely unimpressed at best, if not just bored.

I know these most of situations don’t sound or feel intense. But when you feel anxiety from doing any small thing out of your ordinary experiences–

I don’t know how to explain it. But I guess, that is the thing. You may relate, or you may understand, or you might empathize, or you won’t. Maybe in the future, I will fully work through my weird and  I won’t feel that anxiety. But in the meantime–I’m still trying.

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