Monday, August 27, 2012

Rooftop Rendezvous

Stepping Out of Your Element

Different Does Not Mean Bad



My childhood school's emblem-
Yesterday as I was moving more things into my apartment one of my neighbors, who I have hung out with before, invited me to hang out with him and some of his friends later on the rooftop. He's really a nice guy and we have become friends but me hanging out alone with 5 guys- not really within my element. Growing up I went to an all girls school for 13 years and my social interaction with guys was limited. As I entered college I was not debilitated or unable to socialize with guys but the concept that hanging out with guys good be casual was foreign to me and still kind of is. In my middle and high school years school dances, parties, and any co-ed interaction was always a big to-do: hair straightened, make-up refreshed, padded bras and sluttiest clothes worn. These guys wanted to hang out with me after a day of schlepping things up and down in the heat? I didn't need to shower and get all done up? What a novel idea! I decided to go for it. If I wasn't having a good time or felt uncomfortable I could always retreat to my own apartment being only a flight of stairs away. Well the stealth retreat was not necessary. I hung out with these guys two of whom I had never really met for the entire afternoon and into the late evening. I had a blast! There was no pressure, none of the awkwardness I feared, none of the drama that I often find with girls. We just drank, had dinner, and smoked up on the roof. Today I feel great about the social interaction and I am looking forward to spending more time with these genuinely nice guys. Yes, being the only girl in a group of 6 is very different for me but it does not mean bad. In fact it felt quite the opposite of bad- it felt pretty good and I had a fun night! Who knew that my impromptu rooftop rendezvous would ended up teaching more about myself and my comfort levels as a grown person? Certainly not I...So what's the point of me sharing my evening with you? I want to urge you to continue stepping out of your element and testing new waters. You may hop in and discover that the water is more than fine- it's fabulous! My quote for you today is short and simple but it's message is strong-

Pretty much what my West Philly rooftop looks like-
"Prudence keeps life safe, but does not often make it happy."

- Samuel Johnson

I talk a lot about finding safety and safe spaces in this blog but I think there are different types of safe. When I discuss safety I generally mean keeping your self emotionally and physically secure. Safe spaces are places where you feel comfortable and you can escape dangers (imagined or real) that you may feel threatened by. When I mention feeling safe I am referring to a feeling of comfort and security within yourself. You don't vulnerable to negative elements out in the world or threatened by past experiences that haunt you or may cause you to act in ways that jeopardize you well being. Johnson uses the word "safe" but I am interpreting it as boring, staying in your comfort zone, refusing to take a risk that may lead to enjoyment or newness. In this case a "safe life," a life lead by the same daily routine or personal strictures, may protect you but it also traps you. In this sense would it have been safer for me to not meet the boys and the roof and just isolate in my apartment watching T.V. and collaging or journaling- absolutely. Those are things I am used to doing but ultimately it becomes lonely and boring. It's not particularly fun and I get stuck with my own thoughts. They ruminate within my head and I get stuck in these cycle of over analyzing and serious thoughts. I wouldn't have gone to bed satisfied and happy had stayed safely in my room all night. Instead a took a leap of faith, a risk, I stepped beyond my element and discovered that this rooftop rendezvous made me happy. I enjoyed the company of these other people-even though it's not the typical company I keep- and realized that I have grown up since my high school days. I can hang out with guys in a relaxed setting, completely unmade up, with no real plan or set activity and just enjoy myself. We talked and got to know each other better, we ate dinner (eating in front of strangers used to petrify me), we unwound, and I realized that I can do this. Not only can I hang out with a group of guys on my own and feel completely secure but I can step out of my element and do more than survive but in fact thrive. Take a look at your life- what are the guidelines or boundaries you have set up for yourself? Have you recently declined an offer because it was out of your element? Were afraid? Were you uncomfortable? Did you even ponder the thought or was it an automatic instinct to say no? We could all stay in our own little rooms refusing to interact with others, take any risks, do something different, or mix things up but what will that give us? What do we want- "safe" lives or happy lives? As always my vote is for happy so I will continue to engage in the occasional rooftop rendezvous and accept other interesting offers that come my way. What will you choose do?

Forget "safe" and go for HAPPY!
xo


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