Breaking out of the “comfort zone” box



“Are you going to Powderpuff practice????”

Seconds pass as I pick up my phone to answer the text.


A second message from the same person rolls in before I am able to respond.

“Nvm. Nobody else is going, so I’m not.”

I stare blankly at the text. I was going to go. I wanted to go. If none of my friends are going, maybe I shouldn’t either. It would be uncomfortable and scary without them. I still wanted to go.

My comfort zone is a box.

I don’t leave that box. All of my friends have a place in that box with me. They don’t leave either. Together, we stayed confined in a false sense of euphoria where risks don’t exist.  That box is my safety, sanctuary, and society. I was okay with that. I was happy with that.

I never used to see my comfort zone as a barrier or something holding me back. I mean, it’s called a comfort zone for a reason, right? If you stay inside that zone, inside that box, everything will be alright. Nothing ‘bad’ can happen.

Thinking back to when I was younger, the comfort zone didn’t exist. That’s why I wore dresses every day in preschool when none of the other little girls did. That’s why I wore my hot pink cowgirl boots with every outfit, regardless of whether it matched or not. That’s why I played basketball even though I was terrible at it.

I did what I wanted to do. I wasn’t nervous about what might happen if I did something a little out of the ordinary. I didn’t have any societal pressure setting superficial limits of what should be done or what might be awkward. Things are only awkward if you make them so. These days, I’ve learned that I will always be put in awkward situations, and the best thing to do is just own it.

As for the prominent fear that many high school students have of going to an event or activity alone, I don’t see why is it so necessary to go always go into something knowing someone. Some of my best friends and I met in early grades before those ‘comfort barriers’ were set in.

Furthermore, has my world really become so ‘cliquey’ that I can’t do something that I want to do just because I’m scared to go alone? Am I not allowed to make new friends since I’m a whole whopping sixteen years old? Even if others aren’t as open to becoming friends, some experiences are better when it’s just you and you alone.

In fact, I’ve been getting rather annoyed these past few weeks every time I get that text saying, “Well, I can’t go to this or that because I don’t know anyone.” It’s very frustrating that others can’t see it how I do. Then, I remind myself that I would have said the same thing mere weeks ago if it wasn’t for my mom.

I was quite sad about my Powderpuff practice predicament, so I came down from my room, where I had been holed up all day, to ask what she thought I should do.  I explained how I didn’t know when other practices might be and that I had to at least go to one to play. I explained how none of my friends wanted to go. I explained how I had been looking forward to it all day and now was feeling conflicted.

She just looked at me like I was ridiculous and said something along the lines of, “Why does it matter? You are your own person. Just because the people you tend to hang out with more aren’t there doesn’t mean you won’t have fun.”

So, yes, I went to that scary first PowderPuff practice.  I sucked it up and did what I wanted to do, not what my friends wanted to do. Honestly, I don’t regret it one bit. It was something adventurous and foreign to me, and I loved it. It was completely and wholly outside of my comfort zone, and yet, I somehow survived and enjoyed the experience.