This post is written by Florence Tagilght, Project HEAL’s International Ambassador UK. Follow her on Instagram at @florencetag and her blog www.findingflo.co.uk.
Comfort to me is onomatopoeic; When we are in school we are taught that onomatopoeia’s are words such as plop, splash, bang and gurgle, words that literally sound like what they mean, however recently I have been thinking more and more about comfort and how comforting it is to feel comfortable. And how for the past two to three years all I have craved is comfort.
Comfort is my go to. Whether that means a pair of old Nikes instead of literally any other shoes, trackies instead of jeans (ALWAYS, and if I have to wear jeans, it will always be boyfriend jeans, as baggy as possible), no bra – ever, M&S granny pants beat victoria secret’s every morning and probably the most comforting of all – cosy nights in, swaddled in cashmere from socks to blanket watching Ellen as opposed to cocktail accompanied nights on the dance floor.
So you get the picture, I’m a sucker for comfort, it wins every time. But sometimes maybe the best thing isn’t to win? (If you know how competitive I am, I bet you never would have thought I’d say that!!!) Maybe sometimes stepping out of the cotton wool cosiness is what its all about. Even if it is just one toe, or two, or maybe even a whole foot. The other day I fully emerged myself out of my Zen Zone and into a place of sheer unfamiliarity. An experience which to me felt as foreign as being not just out of the country, but cross continent, perhaps even planet. A place so external to my being that preparation was in action well ahead of time. And although anxiety ridden, the feeling afterwards, even if I didn’t ‘win’ was more rewarding than any gold medal or trophy, even if it was not obvious to the outside, it was visible to me and those who wanted to see it, who care enough to try and see it (you know who you are – big love!!! Seriously HUGE).
So I wanted to share a few insights that I found from this experience: Firstly, I felt as though I was leaving my cashmere covered comfort cave FOREVER.
The voice in my head kept saying you can’t go, if you go you can’t come back. You can’t come back to this place filled with safety, serenity, and this fear-free zone. The voice in my head constantly told me ‘’ What are you doing? Where are you going? Why are you leaving, are you crazy (and believe me I often think I am)? You feel safe here? It wont be the same when you come back?’’ but you know what that was?
It was a lie. A voice of good intention filled with ignorance and naivety. One big lie, the type that a three year old says after stealing a cookie evidently from the plate and you say did you steal the cookie? And they say no. Okay so maybe that wasn’t the best example, but it was such an evident lie that I have no idea how half of me believed it, and it has for years. Yes I may have been cannonballed and catapulted from comfort, but sure enough it was there when I returned. In fact, it was even MORE nourishing than before.
Secondly, just because one, or two, or maybe even three things are different, it doesn’t mean they all need to be. You don’t strip away a dummy (pacifier for all my American friends out there), a blanky, a teddy bear and a teething toy from a baby all at once (in fact, most people still have at least one or two of those things, and just because its not hanging from there fist 24/7 anymore doesn’t mean its not there offering the same support it did at age 3). You do it bit by bit; just like how you climb a ladder rung by rung it is the same with new experiences. Don’t think you have to do it ALL AT ONCE. You don’t. In fact, I advise you DON’T. Keep something close, something there, and this is exactly what I did. My situation was filled with elements that were new to me, from the time, the day, the faces and the conversation. The clothes, the drinks and at times it even felt like the air but I made sure that around me where people I trusted, people who supported me, and people who got me. The people who afterwards saw the trophy despite its intangibility, who recognized the triumph despite the announcement, and who see a victory despite the fact to any one else it would merely be called a success. And this isn’t being a BABY. This ISNT weak or bad and this is something you SHOULD NOT feel guilty about. This is self-care, something we don’t practice nearly enough.
Thirdly, and perhaps the most cliché is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. You will be scared, you’re meant to be. A bit like a haunted house. You will be frightened, and you will feel shaky, perhaps terrified, and sorry this may not be what you want to hear but it won’t go away, however the more you feel it, the better it feels (maybe not ‘better’ but less concerning). I can’t tell you if it’s AS scary the second time or third or fourth, because that hasn’t happened just yet, but one day I will be able too. – You can keep me to that, I promise, pinky promise!
And remember, however far you get, whether it is out of your cashmere socks and into cotton ones – You have succeeded, you have won, each time you reach outside the chalk lines that surrounds you, the little box you have stayed safe in for so long. Give yourself a mental medal. Or if you want too a physical one that’s fine too, whatever works. But remember – That it IS worth it. YOU ARE worth it.
And for me, the most important thing to remember was that just because I was leaving my bubble it did not mean it wasn’t there to return too. In fact Missy and Nell (my adorable dogs pictured to the right) were somehow EVEN more calming, reassuring and soothing after. I knew they knew what I had done, the internal battle I had fought and I had won.
P.S You might even enjoy yourself, after all I did.