I have often believed, that some of the greatest growth a person can achieve, is by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying things that you otherwise might not have. Meeting my boyfriend in real life for the first time, only a week after talking to him online was one of the most nerve wracking things I had ever done, we met at a crowded mall and I was with my best friend, but all of it was way out of my comfort zone and even though it took me a minute to work through my anxiety and nerves, it was well worth the effort. Applying to become a supervisor at my work, my internship back in college, hell even making the appointment to talk to a therapist to get the letter I needed to start the hormonal end of my transition were all very much out of my comfort zone, in one way or another, but in making that effort and pushing myself, I have grown in ways that I never could have imagined; and because of it, I’m in a much better place now than I was even last year, I’m more confident, and happy, and that’s something I wasn’t sure for a long time I could actually be for more than the few hours of a post-shopping high.
It’s not all sunshine and roses that’s true, but the point is, I am trying.
Why this conversation is important to me, is because I think letting people read my writing has often been a huge comfort zone issue for me, particularly my fiction. I want people to read and enjoy my work, but more often than not it can be a terrifying venture to put yourself out there and I think that is why I’ve spent so much time editing and rewriting the same story, there is that comfort in perpetually working on something that can, in the future, when it’s ‘better’ and ‘perfect’ be read by actual humans. Ultimately however the problem becomes that it can’t really ever get better if you’re the only one seeing it, because as much as I would like to, I can’t always see the forest through the trees. Sometimes, I’m blinded by my own understanding of a story.
This was brought into crystal clear focus, when after having my boyfriend read a short story I’d written, he had a completely different understanding of the story than what I had intended for it to be. It was no less interesting in it’s way, but it wasn’t the story I had meant to come across to the reader. Though, short stories have always been a tricky medium for me… but that’s another comfort zone thing (and a blog for a different day), and one that I’m working to push myself out of.