I’m awkwardly standing in the corner.
Watching women enter the room. Some with shoes on. Some without.
More awkward standing.
The girl next to me takes off her shoes. So I decide to do the same and then ask her if she’s “been here before”.
Just as awkward as me.
Some small sense of relief washes over me.
She has no idea either.
It’s interesting how we do that isn’t it? How we’re constantly looking for a sense of relief in others. To know we’re okay. If they’re uncomfortable I can feel better. If they don’t know what they’re doing then I’m somehow “safer” to not know either.
The music starts and I can’t help myself—I start judging. Maybe it’s to distract myself from my own discomfort.
There’s the girl right up front turning simple sit ups into erotic dance moves.
Then we start walking through the routine and as I’m stumbling around trying to figure out my rights from my lefts, I get whiplashed in the face with a ponytail.
Seemingly out of nowhere yet at the speed of lightning.
I notice myself spiralling.
I can’t believe her. Can’t she keep to her personal space. Arrgh, she really doesn’t have to spin that fast you know.
I could get annoyed. I could let the judging consume me.
Or, I could just smile.
Because really, they’re all just having fun.
And I’m feeling awkward. Self conscious. And afraid.
And that’s also okay. Nobody is actually watching me they’re focused on their own moves (even if it does involve lightning fast spinning and erotic sit ups).
I was reminded in that moment of how much our “newbie” muscles require consistent workouts to function—so we don’t keep getting taken out with every spinning ponytail.
Comfort zones can creep up on us.
And whilst they promise to keep us warm and cosy, they’re not where the real stuff lies. The feelings of intense peacefulness. The immense pleasure of doing what we love. The joy that washes over us just watching a loved one talk.
The ease of decision making. The getting that job. The saying yes to you.
What could you do to stretch out of your comfort zone today?
I didn’t rock up at the dance class thinking “let’s stretch my comfort zone”.
But once I was there I suddenly realised how much I needed it. How weak that muscle had become without me even noticing.
Time to keep working out. And who knows, maybe I’ll be the one accidentally whishing my ponytail across a newbie’s face?