If someone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be planning organizing meetings, marching in and planning rallies, lobby visits with elected officials, or speaking in front of groups of people, I would have laughed straight in their face.
Imagine, this timid rural girl, who has spent the majority of her life in a cozy space of comfort.
A nurse? That would be more believable if someone had told me that was the path I was to go on, as I come from a family of women who work in the healthcare industry, ranging from housekeeping, to nursing, and even a higher level administrative position in a hospital where I grew up. If only I could have passed chemistry the two different times I attempted to take it!
I’ve held different cozy spaces of comfort through my life so far. The first was the comfort in immersing myself in my depression and woes. Comfortably numb. Comfortably safe to stay in this space, as long as time would allow. That is, until reality slaps you straight in your face, and you’re tired of going through the same daily motions, emotions, or lack thereof. With the revelation of my fears becoming a reality, I wallowed in my grief, sobbing on the bathroom floor for about two days. It was there, hugging the porcelain throne in my pain, that I decided to pick myself up off the floor (literally), take my ass for a walk, and vowed to never feel that low again. In 17 months I lost 86 pounds, pushing past personal comfort zones, silencing the fear and doubt, while gaining a new passion, and beginning to plant the seeds of healing and growth.
I was always afraid of getting involved. The same fears holding me hostage, “Who wants to listen to what you have to say”, “You don’t know what you’re talking about”, or the fear of sharing my story and being judged due to societies stigmas. So I stayed in my cozy place of comfort behind the keyboard or intimate political or justice conversations with close loved ones. Despite my fears of not knowing what the hell I was doing or talking about, and the discontent with my chosen path of a keyboard warrior, a year and 2 months ago from this December, I decided to volunteer for a statewide campaign, and got involved with a local political club that transformed into a non-profit organization. Shortly after, I attended an organizing training and began volunteering at a local non-profit organization to learn and help work on a local campaign. In late August, I was hired to work on a temporary statewide campaign, alongside labor, faith and community leaders and organizations, which ended successfully, with 82% of voters voting in the campaigns favor both regionally and statewide. I am grateful for these experiences, as I have learned many invaluable lessons, harvested relationships with amazing individuals and groups, increasing a system of support, as well as realizing the potential power in a small group of people coming together.
Cozy comfortable space. Sometimes the easier path, the one with less resistance, is where I currently sit. Or sat. I am fearful that I will not find a job in the kind of work I enjoy and find passion in, and fearful to live in poverty again, though I have accepted it. I have been in poverty before, and it has taught me to be resourceful. The cozy comfortable space of knowing which cushions you qualify for to ease the sleepless nights. I decide, if my first potential job interview falls through, I’ll register for classes at the local community college to finally earn a degree that will open more opportunities for employment in work that gives me life. So I sign up for a registration day later on in the month while I wait to see what happens. If I was going to live in poverty again, I’d take advantage of the opportunity to get an education, to decrease the probability of living in poverty in the future. I even came to grips with working part-time for low wages at a local store.
The phone rings. I assume it is higher education calling about student loans I owe, so I let it go to voicemail. To my surprise, it was a call about a job I applied to months ago that I thought had been filled. It is not a local job, but located in the same state. I struggle to make the call as fear takes over my senses. What if? Fill in the blank. It took me a good hour to read through corny motivational memes about crushing fears before I finally made the call and left a message on the voicemail. I laugh. Just like when I was a kid waiting for a shot, I would imagine this grande scenario about what could go wrong, or how bad it would hurt, when it ended up being not so awful after all.
Anxiety, the cozy comfortable space that would cause me to become stagnant. Not anymore.
Goodbye Cozy comfortable space. The path of least resistance.