Nice to see you again.
To know me is to know that my favorite part of the day is putting on my house pants. There's nothing better than home wrapping its walls around you. House pants are the epitome of that comfort. They're cozy, they're breathable, and they signify that it's now time to relax, unwind, and take care of you.
My incredible fellow storyteller, Heather, shares her comfort story below. As she puts it, "There are always going to be compromises...The important thing is to keep working on being comfortable with yourself."
I'll let Heather take it from here...
As a woman prone to anxiety, almost nothing is as important to me as feeling comfortable.
During anxiety, your body, nervous system, mind and emotions are all in a state of getting ready for battle (or perhaps peacing the fuck out and saving yourself!). Either way, your sympathetic nervous system puts everything on high alert, even if you're not aware of it. As a result, everything is tense, rigid, and panicky. Your parasympathetic nervous system cannot do its job, which is essentially to allow you to rest and digest. In other words, it can't make you comfortable.
As with anyone on a health journey, I'm constantly trying to find the right balance: enough alone time without being too isolated, enough rest without being too inactive, and eating the banana in that few-day perfect window of ripe, BUT NOT TOO ripe! It's such a delicate balance, don't you agree?! #sweetspot
Comfort is also a balance. Life = constant change. Love = uncertainty. How can one distinguish between the things that make you uncomfortable and should therefore be avoided versus the things that make you uncomfortable in a good way and enhance your growth?! (If you have the answer, feel free to shoot me an email now. Seriously, stop reading and let me know ASAP!)
The other day I was working at a major health conference. Thought leaders and inspiring medical professionals gathered from near and far for this two-day event to speak to over 1,000 people at Jazz Lincoln Center. Needless to say, it was kind of a big deal. As such, I had to dress the part. Enter my fancy pants: perfectly stylish, professional, you-should-give-me-a-promotion-yesterday pants.
My clothing style has always been a great metaphor for compromise and comfort. You see, as a woman with a slim figure, I've had the luxury of fitting into many of the trendy, sexy, stylish clothes designers make. And, as confident as I may be at times, I still want to look elegant, sexy, fashionable, and I'm not ashamed to admit that dressing up makes me feel good about myself.
So what seems to be the problem? The problem is, I am almost NEVER comfortable in those clothes. Ask me any day of the week and my answer will always be House Pants, a.k.a yoga pants, a.k.a pjs, a.k.a anything that doesn't have a zipper, belt, buttons, and can easily stretch. House pants also save a ton of time. I can wake up in them, go in them, and go right back to sleep in them.
This is not about my weight, or my size. This is about pure comfort. I absolutely HATE work pants, button down shirts, heels, and anything form- fitting, unless it's made from spandex! Oh how I adore how I LOOK in heels (insert tiger growling sound here), but walking in them? HELL NO. But, balance, right? I'm still a grown-up. So there I was at this conference, greeting guests with the upmost professionalism in my fancy shirt which hid
my little secret: I could not button my fancy pants. So rather than walk around with unbuttoned pants for everyone to see, I simply masked it. What were my options?
Unbuttoning the pants was not simply a matter of preference. It bordered on health concern. After a quick visit to the bathroom that morning, I was disturbed to see that the tightness of the fancy pants had created an unhealthy indent in my waistline. My entire mid-section was deep red. I thought, "This can't be good for my circulation." I could have probably tolerated it for the remainder of the day, but I chose comfort.
Yes, I'm THAT person. I will absolutely take my shoes off when I'm working and eating (Thanksgiving anyone?). But what bothers me about our culture is that we are even in a position where we have to make these decisions. If it were appropriate to show up to work in flip flops all the time, I wouldn't HAVE to take off my shoes and give my feet a rest. If wearing yoga pants to a conference wasn't frowned upon, I wouldn't HAVE to unbutton my fancy pants!
I say all this with the obvious knowledge that there are plenty of workarounds to this. Yes, I'm aware that there is such a thing as fancy clothes and shoes that are ALSO comfortable. And perhaps the solution lies in simply needing to spend more time shopping and investing in these hybrids. But who has the time for that!? I'm the gal that winds up with a REAL messy bun, rather than the sexy-just-woke-up messy bun that
other woman (and men, I might add) seem to have mastered. How does one achieve this level of comfort in clothes, hair, and life? How can one unbutton the top button of their life-pants, to allow for breathing room, without taking their pants off entirely?
I believe the answer to this riddle lies within. The comfort we all seek starts with us, internally. Just like an outfit, which has the capacity to either look great if you feel confident and sexy on the inside, or look terrible if you feel insecure and uncomfortable in your own skin, feeling comfortable in life has a lot to do with knowing yourself internally and adjusting accordingly.
Once we get comfortable with who we are and what we need, we can then seek out situations, people, and wardrobes that truly fit (pun intended). Getting clear on our inner comfort doesn't necessarily mean that everything will be comfortable. On the contrary! It can also make us keenly in-tune with people and situations that may not be right for us.
From there, we can make the right decisions to either lean into or avoid, to achieve the maximum oooh yeaaaah feeling (that's what I say when I'm stretched out on my couch in yoga pants after a long day).
There are always going to be compromises and a need to find balance in life. After all, sometimes we have to wear fancy clothes, unless you want to move back in with your parents. And we won't always be able to fart freely in front of others. Both are okay. The important thing is to keep working on being comfortable with yourself, finding that balance, and in the meantime, get yourself a good pair of jeggings.
Thanks for stopping by. And keep sharing your stories, because someone wants to hear them.