Embracing the Uncomfortable

While I have completely changed and improved the way I think and feel about myself (see this post), I still have a hard time doing things outside of my comfort zone. I am mostly an introvert who would rather stay home listening to music, studying, reading, or working on a craft project than go out and socialize with others or try new things. I tend to be socially awkward, and I do not seek out situations that I believe would make me feel uncomfortable or vulnerable. In the past, I have been referred to as “Comfort Zone Kristen” and have even referred to myself as such. However, over the past month I have been making small efforts to step out of my comfort zone. Here are some of the things that I have done or have committed to do:

  • Negotiating at a vintage thrift store: I was getting Thai food with friends, and we had to wait a while for our table. We wandered over to a nearby vintage thrift store. I found a blue dress that would work perfectly for my Agent Carter cosplay if I modified it a bit. The price was listed at $39, but I negotiated and got it for $30. This is not something that I have ever done before due to shyness and fear of social conflict. I now feel more confident to ask for what I want.

  • Trying flotation therapy: I heard about flotation therapy from several podcasts and decided to give it a try. The thought of depriving myself of all senses for 90 minutes in a flotation tank sounded just as weird as it did interesting. There were definitely uncomfortable moments during my float, like getting salt water in my eyes and mouth. My sinuses were acting up and I really had to blow my nose. Despite that, I really enjoyed the experience once my body got comfortable. It was incredibly relaxing; I plan to practice my meditative skills outside the float tank and return for another session.

  • Traveling alone: Though I have flown alone before, I always have had someone to meet at the airport. I’ve never flown somewhere alone for a solo vacation. However, I have 3 of these trips scheduled where I will be flying alone and staying alone in an Airbnb. In January I will be flying solo to go see one of my favorite bands, Tool, in Orlando, FL. In May I will be traveling to Venice Beach, CA to attend the Radiance Retreat. In August, I will be traveling to Kansas City, MO to attend the Women’s Fitness Summit. Though I am slightly nervous about traveling alone, I’m just as excited for these events!

  • Going to a new gym: For the past year and two months, I have been going to the gym at my work. This gym is the definition of a comfort zone. There is only one bench, one incline bench, one squat rack (with no mirror), and one smith machine. When these are taken, I would just modify my workouts. There was a multi-purpose room, but there was a class Tuesdays and Thursdays at the time I go to the gym, so I always had to rush to get out of the room before class started and plan my workouts around it. I just started going to a gym that is mainly frequented by powerlifters and bodybuilders. There are a LOT more racks and benches at this gym, which is awesome. However, I do not yet feel comfortable in this gym. I have only been there twice, and I do not know where everything is. I have spent a lot of time just wandering around awkwardly trying to figure out where everything is. I still haven’t found the reverse hyper or figured out a good spot to do weighted hip thrusts. Despite how uncomfortable I feel, I’m going to keep coming to this gym!

  • Competing in powerlifting: On January 9th, I competed in my first powerlifting meet! Though I was so anxious about getting up on the platform, it was an enjoyable experience! I felt so uncomfortable when I missed two of my three bench press attempts all because I failed to listen to the judge, racking the bar too soon. Despite that, I set state and national records in my age/weight class for an 85lb bench press and 200lb deadlift. I have also committed to attend my 2nd powerlifting meet the weekend of March 11th. I will be benching/deadlifting on Friday and then squatting/benching/deadlifting on Sunday! I am least confident in is the squat, so I am super nervous to squat in a meet. I’m trying to keep my nerves at bay and just train as efficiently as possible! Today I squatted a max of 105lbs, though I did not squat to complete parallel competition depth. With less than 8 weeks until the meet, I am doing a lot of mobility work and squat practice that I hope will pay off!
Embracing the Uncomfortable - Strong with Purpose

With more practice, I hope to continue to find comfort in my own vulnerability. I encourage others to seek out these situations rather than shy away from them due to fear of the unknown. What are some situations where you can embrace the uncomfortable?

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