I haven’t felt truly comfortable in my own skin since October 8, 2013. That day, even as I didn’t feel well (I was sick), I knew who I was, what our plan/goals were, and felt pretty comfortable in my own skin.
Then Sam died, and since then, every day brings new learning, new experiences, and a constant sense of being a bit out of my comfort zone. Now, I know that optimal learning happens when you are a bit out of your comfort zone, and that’s great, but sometimes I feel really out of that zone.
Sometimes, however, I/we consciously decide to push ourselves out of our comfort zone purely for the new learning/new experiences.
Thursday night was one of those times. We went to see Twiddle at the Paramount Theater in Rutland. Yes, as you all know, we’ve been to see Twiddle several times before, but again, this was a different experience. First, it was going to be an inside show — we’d only ever seen them perform outside before. Second, we were going just the two of us, not going with our sons. Going with our sons has several benefits. First, we love spending time with them. Second, when we are all together, I can be with people that make me feel safe and loved, and if I want, I don’t really have to interact with other people.
Thursday night, we shifted all of that. We went to Rutland, excited about the concert, but with the knowledge that we might, gasp, need to interact with people we didn’t know. We also had reached out to their band manager and one of the members of the band, to ask if we could connect with that musician for just a few minutes. You see, I wanted to see him in person, and thank him for his work on opioid recovery awareness, and I wanted to give him a copy of my book. Yup, that was a really, really big step for me. Giving a copy of my book to a stranger who I admire, that was a really not-in-my-comfort-zone thing to do.
A while before the venue opened, we got in line with the other concert goers. And we started a conversation with the people behind us. And they were awesome. Then, I got out of line to find the manager, got back in line, and both of us got out of line to go see the band member. After an emotional couple minutes meeting him, we walked back to the line, expecting we needed to go to the end of the line — which was now a LONG, LONG line. As we headed toward the end, the people behind us earlier stopped us, and invited us back to our original spot. The line inched along, and we had great conversations with them.
In the theater, we had to grapple with the intense emotions of being in place with so many wonderful family memories, especially an America concert there, and seeing Arlo Guthrie there. We had to struggle with the regrets that we never saw Twiddle with Sam. And through it all, we talked to new people, sang, danced a little, and felt the love.
Yup, all in all, I was completely out of my comfort zone that night. And what a good thing that was.