Hello hello, #fashionablehumans! Happy 2018! We made it! I dunno about you, but I am ready to crush this year super hard, in all aspects of life. I mean yeah, it is only January 5th, but whatever- I got this, and so do you! My first post of the year is therefore me chatting about stepping out one’s comfort zone and detailing how I personally do it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. (By the way, my husband thinks this is a ridiculous expression, and he promised me $10 if I ever said it in public. I think we can all agree that this absolutely counts. Pay up, Rish!)
I have often said in my posts that everything worth having is on the other side of fear. I really stand by this little quote; the things I cherish the most are the ones I worked very hard for or the ones that took a leap of faith to accomplish. While pushing your own limits is hard, the rewards are just ridiculous. There is no greater satisfaction than doing things you thought you could not achieve. From squatting your own weight to public speaking or buffalo riding, new things personally give me a rush of happiness, especially when I NEVER thought I could do them. Unfortunately, I don’t take the “new shit” leap all the time, but my goal for the future is to take more chances on myself.
Why do we tend to stay in our comfort zone?
It’s great for me to yap about breaking boundaries and shit, but the truth is that it is HARD to do, and even harder to do continuously. Moreover, I do not see my love for my comfort zone as an enemy, but more as my brain acting like a well-intentioned but slightly overbearing parent. Think about a mom who tries to steer you towards a safe career because she assumes that’s what you need (I told y’all about my story), a dad who insists on you going to college close to home, or parents who worry themselves sick when you travel. These are not bad people at all! They are instead loving people who just want you to stick to what they KNOW works, because uncertainty is… well, uncertain.
Staying in my comfort zone works the same way, at least in my head. I equate it to my brain keeping me from trying too many new things, so I may avoid disappointment. I would hence argue that one can go through life always making choices that never toy with that equilibrium, and still be perfectly content.
What I am wearing: Lilly’s Kloset jacket: here, Steve Madden sandals: here, Ambiance SF dress: Boutique here, Insta here.
Yet, why should we fight that urge?
The issue is — we should fux with the equilibrium!!!! While the above course of action guarantees us a safe and sheltered existence (to a certain extent), I honestly believe that boundary breaking is necessary to live a truly full life. I have personally learned the most from the people who were dissimilar from me, and I have felt the most enriched by traveling to places that looked nothing like home. In my personal life, forcing myself to do weird shit has helped me REALLY open my eyes to the world. I think that makes me a better Dafra and a much better conversationalist (Cardi B tales can only get me so far at a cocktail party).
Professionally, the willingness to be uncomfortable has allowed me to stay relevant in my field. I will admit that, as a person, I HATE the status quo and am naturally obsessed with improving processes. That forces me to always question myself (in a good way), and to actively look for better ways to do what I do. While it feels like I am constantly running a marathon (I am generally looking to improve something the minute I implement it), I assure you that it has made me a better professional.
How I kick my own butt out of my comfort zone in all aspects of life
Truth is, I likely haven’t told you anything you don’t already know. However, the pull of the comfort zone is just so strong, and warm, and familiar and cozy! How do we trick our brain into letting us explore new things, so we can live our best lives??? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but the little things below help me make fearless choices every day.
To take on new challenges: I remind myself that I have not found my purpose yet and need to keep grinding.
I am pretty big into purpose, and I live in the constant (and I mean CONSTANT) panic that I will die without having found mine. For me, purpose is what each of us was put on this Earth to do; some people were born to be musicians, some to be doctors, some to be teachers. Think about it: can you imagine the great MJ as ANYTHING ELSE than an entertainer? Tiffany Haddish as anything else than a comedian? Mother Theresa as anything else than a humanitarian legend? Jackie Aina as anything else than… well, Jackie-Jackie-Jackie (the YT fam knows)? There are some people who just FIND their calling in life and thrive for all of us to see, while blessing the people around them with their gift. I want that for myself, and for everybody I know.
I’m not sure what mine is, though. So I keep experimenting with new things all the time, because my calling may very well be under one of those unturned stones. Finding my purpose is the reason behind this blog, and honestly the reason behind a lot of the new professional and personal challenges I take on.
To excel at things I am already doing: I trick myself into trying “just a little more”.
I do not ever recall starting anything thinking: “I’m going to be the best in the world at this shit.” Nah.
Instead, I often start things with the intention of simply being as good as I can. However— when I find a decent fit, I always end up pushing just a little more… and then a little more… until I cannot help myself from trying to excel. The thing is, we usually end up liking things we are good at. That pushes us to try to be even better. As a result, once difficult tasks end up becoming much easier. That progress, for me at least, acts as a catalyst and makes me even hungrier for excellence. This virtuous cycle is to be used to our advantage! For example, if you want to get better at reading, start reading books that you find fun. Then, pepper in some new genres, while making sure to have fun in the meantime. Next thing you know, you will be reading a healthy balance of serious and funny books in your free time. Ta-da!
To try new fun things: I tell myself I need to try everything at least once. Also YOLO.
While I am very disappointed in myself for using YOLO, it does summarize how I feel when presented with something new. First of all, let’s all agree that regret has no place in 2018. None. Therefore, we need to take a hard look at whatever keeps us from living our best life and tell that thing (or person or hurdle) to kindly fuck off. Trying new shit is our birthright, and nothing should keep us from it— not even ourselves. I do not have kids, but if I ever do, I want to be that mom that will always be telling them tales of the places I went or the foods I ate, so that they will WANT to do the same when they grow up. That can’t happen if I stick to fried plantain.
Right now, I will admit that I am OK at this; I am trying to get WAY better. I want to plan fun dates, know all my neighborhood bars and overall live a fun life within my means. Counting on Groupon and Johnny Funcheap to help me hack the Bay Area on the low low.
Annnd, that’s kinda it… Those are the three little tenets I live by to keep myself on my toes. Let me know in the comments how you achieve constant discomfort in your life, and whether that helps you thrive!
On to the outfit of the day!
The jacket: Let’s be real here: for a card-carrying member of the “All Black Everything” club, this coat is the epitome of discomfort. I mean, it is fucking yellow. I hate yellow with a passion (unless featured in Ankara, in which case it magically works). I never thought I would own anything in this color ever. However, I do follow Lilly on Insta and this photo of hers gave me something to think about. I mean look at it! It is heart-stopping!
I will not lie to you and tell you that this number is a rational purchase; it’s not, and I made peace with that shit before even hitting the “Buy” button. It fails at being an actual jacket—it is made out of NET, for crying out loud. It does not protect my body from anything: the cold, mosquitoes, the wind, fuckboy stares— all of those go right through. But look at it though!!!! It elevated my basic ass strappy dress and sandals to a level it could NEVER reach. That’s enough for me.
The Dress: I got it majorly discounted the day after Black Friday, from Ambiance boutique in SF- it was like $20! I liked the boutique because they have a huge selection of non-basic shit- I recommend checking them out. Also- the top part of this dress is supportive enough that no bra is needed. YASSSSS!!!!!
Dassit humans! I will see you next week, and I will work on posting more than once a week I swear.
Until next time,
P.S: These photos were taken by Rachel Radcliffe at the Embarcardero Center in San Francisco.