comfort zone

cold comfort farm

This season’s of The Biggest Loser is all about “no excuses,” and last night’s episode was focused on getting out of your comfort zone. I fully confess to being one of those people who likes her comfort zone. It’s safe and familiar and, y’know, comfy. I get anxious and nervous when challenged and tend to turn into a little turtle who retreats back into herself. I call it self-preservation but I know it’s really just fear.

A few weeks ago my friend Lindy posted this fabulous post and I told her I was in. All the way. Because I am someone who needs to put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable if I expect magical things to happen. And I want magical things to happen. But they haven’t happened yet, which means I’m going to have to go outside of myself and my usual boundries to find them.

On my commute to and from work, I listen to my local NPR station, which, c’mon, is probobably not that surprising. Their big pledge drive is this week and they have put a call out for volunteers. I was all gung ho and emailed them asking for more details. That is, I was all gung ho until they emailed back and said “Oh, yeah, we need help next week!”

Oh. Oh, next week. Like, next week. Like, four or five days from now. Oh, and, hmm, it’s a pledge drive so I’m probably going to have to, y’know, answer the phone and talk to strangers.

See this? This is me in my comfort zone. And waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over here is talking to strangers on the phone.

I’m not kidding, as soon as the reality of volunteering at a pledge drive hit, I felt myself start to get anxious and wanted to tell her I was busy every single shift she offered. Except, y’know, I’m not. And the shifts are a max of 3 hours, most only 2.5, and they train you at the start of each shift so really it’ll be less than that. This isn’t a baptism by fire kind of deal. No throwing me into the deep end, sink or swim situation.

But, see, I’m not very good at handling situations where I have to engage with people I don’t know. Back when I was working at the public library in my hometown as a high-schooler, I would start to get panic attacks when asked to work the circulation desk. It got so bad that my supervisor made it a rule that I didn’t have to be asked anymore and could continue to stay all safe in the stacks reshelving books.

It really is crazy that I ever became a librarian and that my first two post-grad professional jobs have been in places where I am the only librarian so there is no option to hide.

But the really crazy bit is that my previous job was in a prison. I spent everyday for almost two years behind bars. True, it was minimum security and the worst offense was domestic violence, but still. I didn’t have an officer in the room with me, it was just lil ol’ moi and about forty inmates.

Soooooooo I can hang out in a room with prisoners for several hours a day for twenty-two months, but I can’t spend 2 1/2 hours answering the phone?

Talk about crazy.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

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