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Is Comfort Worth It?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

It is exhausting putting this mask on every day. It makes my stomach constrict, my feet ache, and my shoulders hunch. If only I were smaller, softer, smooth, and sweet… but I don’t feel alive when I scrunch. Why does society only accept me when parts of me are dead? Don’t get me wrong-- I’m a chaplain and kind of love the entire dying process-- but the more I come alive, I encounter continual “shushing.” From strangers, from bosses, from my first rapist.


“Don’t be so angry,” they say.


I like the way my body feels when it starts to heat up, sway outside the lines, and test the boundaries of the conversation at hand. Anger is usually categorized as fuel for me. It’s the only thing left to draw upon in the middle of a yoga class or at the conclusion of a sweaty hike. It gives me drive, gusto, conviction, power, determination, and even a reminder of self worth. Tell me why it’s bad again??? Oh, because I’m supposed to be a good white woman. And what is the society’s goal for my identity? TO MAKE EVERYONE COMFORTABLE.


Smooth my edges, giggle at their jokes, don’t bring up the cisgender, straight, patriarchal, white supremacy we’re all swimming in. In high school, they’d avoid me. For fear I’d be passionate, want to share my opinion, and challenge theirs. For the record: I have some grace, and ease, and poise, and giggles for the actual funny jokes-- but I wonder who I’d be today if I was allowed to be my full self from the beginning. I have spent years apologizing for the space I took up in the room or a relationship.


What is it about being comfortable that outweighs being alive?


Comfort isn’t worth it. Name a moment in history or personal experience that matters to you... was it comfortable? No. Who would we be today if we stopped avoiding conflict and dove into those few seconds of discomfort? It’s usually not easy (at first), but practice makes perfect, right? Life is messy anyway-- why not lean into it? So much of our discomfort comes from pretending everything’s fine and the goal is comfort.

Maybe it’s time to change the goal itself? Society pushes the status quo, but there are ways to integrate other paths. You could burst out all in one day, like coming out of the closet! Or you could leave breadcrumbs to a river and test the water over time until your paradigm is entirely ready for a shift. Or you could do my personal favorite: the start/stop. Allow your entire being to shine boldly somedays, with some folx, and other times just wallflower-it-up and observe.


It’s 2019 and I’m announcing a cultural change: comfort is no longer the goal. Let’s find a new one! That’s why I’m officially (on the internet, so it’s really real) launching myself as who I am. No apologies. No pretenses. No bullshit. If you’re ready for a year of trying, failing, and trying some more to be your whole phenomenal self, connect with me. The discomfort is worth it.

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© Kate Newell 2019                                Create the space. Hold the space. Use the space.

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