I went to Iceland back in October, which is big for me because I’ve never left the U.S. before, with the exception of Canada of course, and everyone thought I wouldn’t have the balls to do it. They scoffed at me, so I proved them all wrong and had a pretty good time out of spite (bwa ha ha!). And I got to experience another culture, which is never a bad thing. I think maybe it was the Iceland trip that triggered this turn-around in my life, since I did something I was afraid of (particularly the airplane ride), and I proved to myself that I could do it even though I was afraid.
I brought a Dr. Phil book with me to read on the plane, as a joke, because I thought it would make my friend laugh. I ended up actually reading a paragraph or two one night because the time change was making it impossible for me to get any sleep, and while I don’t even remember what I read, it got me to thinking about improving my mental well-being. I thought, maybe I don’t have social phobia anymore at all. I had left my friend one night to walk the streets of Reykjavik alone in search of this arcade I saw earlier in the day. I went in, I talked to the dudes working there, I played pinball and Super Mario, and I walked back, alone, in the dark, in an unfamiliar city in a foreign country. Sure, Reykjavik isn’t exactly New York City, but does that sound like something a social phobic would do?
My friend and I also ended up talking to this dude in a bar one night, but I can’t say I enjoyed that very much. I still hate bars, and I still hate crowds. But I’d say I hate those things more than I’m afraid of them. The only time I ever feel legitimately nervous is around a guy I like, and that’s pretty natural, isn’t it? Call it denial, but I think it all comes down to belief. We are what we believe we are. Often I would say awful stuff to myself like “he’s never going to want me”, “I’m not as pretty as her”, “I’m so awkward”, “I can’t do that”, or “I’m going to die alone with only my eighteen cats to mourn me”. Telling myself how lonely and awkward I am is never going to change anything. It only serves to make me feel like shit all the time. That’s no way to live.
I really just needed to shift my way of thinking, and my way of seeing myself, which is something that therapists have been trying to tell me my whole life, but I didn’t quite get. Perhaps I didn’t think I could. So recently I’ve started to appreciate what I have: a great job that pays well, a sweet cat that I love to pieces, my good looks, my health, a warm apartment, good food, and a man I love (even though we’re just friends) that I get to see at work every day, who despite my awkwardness, has still remained my friend. And, I get to hang out with my coworkers at Applebee’s every Friday (that’s where we go now that Uno’s closed.) Socializing once a week seems to be a good fit for me. It doesn’t feel like too much, and at least it gets me out of the house. Life is pretty good. And it’s going to get better. Focus on what’s good, don’t ever focus on what you lack. That’s why that song “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music” is so damn uplifting. Listing your favorite things feels awesome, even if it’s stupid shit like door knobs and bright copper kettles.
Just looking at my blog design makes me realize how negative I’ve been. Even the title, “Musings You Won’t Like”, is setting me up for failure. It looks like I’m going to have to rethink a few things on this page. Don’t be surprised if I randomly change it. Anyway, I’m not there yet. I still have lapses into negativity, but I’m starting to notice it more. Noticing your negative thoughts is the first step, because then you can change them.
It may sound corny, but thinking positive thoughts as often as possible, even if they feel like lies, is the only way to go, because after a while, they won’t feel like lies anymore. You will have convinced yourself that they’re the truth, and they will become the truth. Saying I’m just a lonely old spinster cat lady will turn me into just that. As long as I think I’m an awesome, sexy, funny, independent, intelligent woman, then that’s what I’ll be.