If you want a tour of Chicago, I’m not your (wo)man.
(apologies, Mr. Cohen)
Certainly I’m Chicago born and raised – born in Highland Park, lived in St. Charles for most of my life – hell, my apartment is straight off the dirty banks of the Mighty (Gross) Fox River, which I understand is not this gross everywhere. That was the beginning of the day.
A couple of days ago, my friend Dawn, who I call my boyfriend because, well, she is, said, “Hey bitch, you’re coming to Lollapalooza with me. I have an extra ticket and this can be your monthly “road trip.” It’ll be fucking awesome – Black Sabbath is playing.”
“Say no more,” I said, although my stomach was churning alarmingly with fear. “I’m in.”
Now, in my old life, I’d have said no.
Or given a wavering “maybe.”
Not because I didn’t want to do it, but because it was out of my comfort zone, which approximated about three feet in any direction around me. I’d made sure to start doing things that scared me – every teeny step I took was a minor victory. Yesterday, for example I braved the post office, which is one of those places – like the DMV – that makes me want to vomit because people always treat you as though you have an IQ of four because OMFG why did you stand in that line – IT’S THE WRONG LINE?
After signing my lease, I swung by the post office to pick up some of those “click and ship” boxes or whatever, so I can hunt down someone who is localish and send them shit to sell on eBay (which is scary as fuck). I’d planned to use the self-service kiosk and be in and out. The kiosk was down, which meant I had to talk to a real person and show what a post office moron I was. I sat with my anxiety as I waited in line and managed to do it.
One thing I’d been afraid of is no longer something that makes me weak in the knees.
Aunt Becky: 1
Post Office: 1 (The boxes I got to ship shit in were WAY too small for a “large” box)
For being a Chicago native (North SIIIIIIIIDDDDDEEE!), I’ve not spent much time doing the touristy shit around here. When I play tour guide, it’s all, “Here’s the dumpster I once threw something away in,” or “Sometimes I like cheese.” Not exactly the reception people are looking for.
I’ve never, for example, gone to the Taste Of Chicago - which we just call “The Taste” - which is this gigantic thing that always goes on during the dog days of summer (I don’t know HOW they predict the dog days of summer, but whomever does should be a weatherman). It’s one of those events that illustrates JUST how serious Chicago is about their food (answer: as seriously as they take to voting in corrupt governors).
I’ve also, oddly enough, never been to Lollapalloza, despite being an avid music lover. It’s always been too much, the crowds too big, and frankly natives know better than to try and go to festivals unless they feel like complaining bitterly about the tourists.
This time, though, I don’t care.
I’m not just going to see rad bands (although I will). It’s not about meeting a musician husband. It’s not even about being able photograph names of the port-a-potties (seriously, The Honey Bucket?).
It’s about taking a risk. Doing something different. Stepping outside the comfort zone I’d created for myself. And working on becoming free to be you and me.
Each time I do this, it gives me the confidence that I can do more. And I can.
Right now? That’s what I need.
Well, that and a cabana boy, but you can’t have it all.
(I’ll probably be tweeting a lot about Lollapalooza, so if you want to follow me, I’m shockingly @mommywantsvodka on the Twitter.)
Pranksters, how do you step outside your comfort zone? Do you try? What are some things you’re weirdly afraid of? Any advice for how to continue stepping outside this comfort zone?
Also: I love you.
PS. I love you MORE.
PPS. Don’t forget that tomorrow is another edition of “Shit I Found Saturdays,” a culmination of the awesomest shit on the web, ever. Best part? You can join in!