On Saying Yes And Trying To Fit In

23.September 2013

Our Journey

While circumstances dictate that we’re not travelling far right now, I’m trying to make the most of what is possible.

I’ve read a few articles on the power of saying yes. They intimate that we often don’t say yes for fear of the unknown; that the activity or concept is outside of our realm of knowledge or comfort zone so we say no automatically when, really, we might be richer for it if we could just say yes.

I definitely fall into that trap. Although I like to step into uncomfortable, and I encourage that you do to, the fact is that even in that there is a comfort zone. I may travel to far off places but there is a routine in the way I go about it; a regular pattern of preparing and executing, a normal template and schedule, so that even in the non-regular and not-normal there is some comfort. Funny, isn’t it?

And right now? Right now is all about normal and regular, routine and schedules. Right now it needs to be that way and is, in its own way, offering me some uncomfortable.

So, when my good friend invited me to a fancy, international film festival party in downtown Toronto I said yes without even thinking. I had no time to even consider what I had gotten myself into as I changed out of my pj’s, hurriedly packed the one dress that might be appropriate, booked a train ticket, and was out the door in under 20 minutes.

Heading into the city I did what I do best on trains…I stared aimlessly out the window and daydreamed about what the evening might be like.

I am an urbanite. I love the energy, diversity, and possibility that exists within cities. There is a sense of purpose; a reason for all those people to be doing whatever it is they are doing. A disconnect that connects. We are not all the same and yet we all occupy the same space and we each have a place within that space.

I feel comfortable in cities. I can be myself within the sidewalks, tall buildings, office workers, cafes, green spaces, hipsters, public art, street performers, pubs, shops, and patios. I can find my way around (well, metaphorically speaking anyway…I actually suck at navigation!) and gravitate toward those places where I fit in and feel most like myself; just like we all do.

I am apparently not comfortable at fancy, international film festival parties. This was not my tribe, these were not my people, and I felt as though I stuck out like a sore thumb as we stood in line awaiting the magic text that would transport us to the front of the line and whisk us inside like VIP’s.

I felt as though my dress was not fancy enough, my shoes not high enough, my jewelry not sparkly enough, and my makeup…well, I don’t even wear makeup so there was no comparison there. I had dressed up to try and fit in and I felt like I fit in less than if I had worn my regular, if-only-the-slightest-bit funky, going out on the town, outfit.

It’s not that I didn’t have a good time, or that people weren’t anything other than super kind to me, because I did and they were. But I think I would have stood a little taller, felt a little more confident, and had an even better time if I’d just been strong enough to just be myself.

In the end the evening was a blast. I rubbed elbows with people that I wouldn’t normally rub elbows with, enjoyed post party drinks and conversation with a great friend, and got to spend some time in the city.

Lesson learned. Absolutely say yes to everything that comes my way but don’t forget to just be me.

 

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12 Responses to “On Saying Yes And Trying To Fit In”

  1. Ross Says:

    Excellent post Gillian and I can relate to many of the things you discussed but the one that stood out for me was the your description of how when we travel we push our comfort zones but still manage to stay “comfy”. It’s funny to me how the human mind works with its love/hate relationship with routine and its desire/fear for the new and exciting. I agree that saying yes to things that excite you, especially when you are nervous or scared, will translate to a much happier and full life. :)
    Ross recently posted..Why One Day at Angkor is Not Enough Time

  2. Ali Says:

    I think we often say no when we should say yes, and yes when we should say no. Different fears that push us to say one or the other. I certainly do both. I often try to fit in too, and I’d love to be more comfortable with just being myself. I’m glad you had a good time with your friend!
    Ali recently posted..Our Big Berlin Announcement

  3. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures Says:

    LOVE your message!!! Soooo glad you had a blast!

  4. Ann Marie Says:

    My question is how to be yourself, which of our many personas will come out first? Do you take time to figure it out? If so the moment may pass. Comfort zones are funny things, I have been going to coffe mornings with strangers, and to the military gym filled with muscle bound tattooed guys.

  5. Darlene Says:

    Great article and lesson

  6. Hogga Says:

    love this post!

  7. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) Says:

    No matter the outcome, I think life is so much more interesting when we say yes rather than no. Even if the night didn’t go completely seamlessly, I think that often it’s those moments of discomfort that cause us to delve deep and ultimately allow for growth. It’s a big step when one can be confident in one’s own skin… I think that’s what we’re all striving for!

  8. Nicole Says:

    you get a whole lot more when you say yes, than no. people respond better to positive, rather than a negative. =)
    Nicole recently posted..Wednesday’s Wonder: Prague (An Overview)

  9. Shirley Says:

    I say when I really feel like I’m gonna like it or if I really wanna try it, whatever it is being offered.. but I say no when I already envision its result. It’s not just being cautious, it’s how you protect yourself from something you wanted to avoid. That’s being ‘true’ for me.

    • Gillian Says:

      I hear you Shirley but sometimes I think we say no envisioning the wrong result. I’m thinking that, maybe, we avoid more than we should and that we can learn so much more if we just push a little harder; that maybe the end result won’t be what we think and that the journey to it might be worth it.
      Gillian recently posted..On Saying Yes And Trying To Fit In

  10. Carmel Says:

    “But I think I would have stood a little taller, felt a little more confident, and had an even better time if I’d just been strong enough to just be myself.”

    I can so relate to this statement! I feel very awkward in certain situations, but I’m probably not as out of place as I am in my own head. I have been practicing trying to feel more comfortable in my own skin in various situations. I love big cities, too, but have noticed that in trendier or fancier cities than my own laid-back Pacific NW cities, I shrink. Even here in UB, everyone is walking around in heels (HIGH heels) and cute boots with skinny jeans. It just makes me want to go buy things to fit in…but it’s not the clothes. It’s just me. I need to be ok with me, even if on the surface it doesn’t appear that I fit in. I’m glad you said yes and had a great time! It inspires me :)
    Carmel recently posted..GOBI DESERT TRIP, PART 2

  11. Stephen Says:

    I agree! I have had so many unforgettable experiences, by saying yes when I did not want to because I was tried, or had my own plans. Saying yes in those moments has given me some of my best memories!
    Stephen recently posted..Mongol Rally: How To Drive 7,000 Miles Without A Clutch