My nails are chipped, my mascara nervously picked off, my stomach fat, and my hair pristine in the hopes that washing and blow drying it everyday will somehow boost my confidence. Everything is off. Everything is not okay.
“In order to be truly happy, you need to step out of your comfort zone,” my ex-colleague said to me, when I was weary about leaving my previous company for a new opportunity. She said her biggest regret was never having the confidence to get off of Long Island and live somewhere else even if just for a little bit. She said it still haunts her today.
When she said that to me, in the moment, it made perfect sense. And I’m sure you reading this now could agree; new experiences are essential when it comes to growing as a person, finding yourself, learning about the world, and ultimately, finding happiness in this life. Obviously. Of course it is. But my question is: why does it have to be so damn hard?
I’m happy here in D.C., I am, but like I said, it’s been hard. Really, really hard.
When I first left home for college back in 2012, I had (almost) the same feeling. The first week was so awful, I derived a plan to transfer to the community college back at home by the time my freshman year was up. I cried, I wrote angsty blog posts on my Tumblr, I complained to my mom; the whole bit. Eventually, it did get better. Like for everybody else, college became one of the most surreal experiences to date. But this is different. Everybody in college was in the same boat; actively looking to make friends and fit in, but here it’s not like that at all.
I feel incredibly out of place. I’m having an extremely hard time making friends. I don’t feel confident in myself. I don’t feel comfortable in my surroundings. I feel hopeless, full of doubt, self-loathing, and embarrassment. If this is what “stepping out of your comfort zone” feels like, I want back in.
I can keep telling myself it’ll get better, like it did in college, but not only was it a different situation back then; I was a different person, too. I wasn’t awkward, easily embarrassed, or nearly as insecure about myself as I am now. Back then, I could walk up to a group of people and make lifelong friends within minutes. Now? I cower at the group of girls here at work who are already the best of friends. I cower at the work I’m assigned to do because I don’t think I’m good enough to complete the tasks correctly and efficiently. I cower at my managers. I just. Cower.
And I don’t know when or how I got like this.