Too Scared To Do the One Thing

If you read my post a few weeks ago, you know it’s my goal to follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice:

I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone a ton in the past year. 

I’ve served dinner in a soup kitchen

I’ve conducted intake interviews for drug addicts. 

I’ve wandered downtown streets giving food to homeless people. 

I’ve coordinated dinners for couch-surfing teens. 

I’ve attended a writers conference.

Only last Saturday, the one thing that scared me turned into a panic attack.
Earlier my husband, Edd, received an invitation for the two of us to attend a fundraising dinner benefiting Self Enhancement, Inc. I jumped at the chance to go. 

You may think my excitement was due to the event taking place at The Nines, a chi-chi hotel in downtown Portland. I’ve been dying to dine in its upscale restaurant, Urban Farmer, since it opened. Justifying the money to eat a meal there hasn’t happened yet. 

While the location appealed to me for sure, I was truly thrilled about attending an affair benefiting this non-profit supporting at-risk urban youth. I’ve never been to a high(ish) society fundraiser before. Local celebrities would fill the room, Portland Monthly would photograph the event, networking opportunities would… would…would…

Wait a minute.

Networking? Small talk? People with lots and lots of money? This isn’t my kind of gig.

The realization hit me at noon on the day of the fundraiser. I panicked. I couldn’t breathe. I started crying. Bawling, actually.

Months of therapy unraveled. 

What was happening to me? I prayed to God and to Eleanor Roosevelt. Why am I acting this way? 

“It’s okay,” I tried to self-soothe, “you’re just apprehensive. It’s out of your comfort zone. You blog about ‘out of comfort zone’ . Get it together!”

I didn’t convince myself. 

I admitted my anxiety to Edd. He comforted, “Sweetie, we won’t go. Nothing is worth the stress of this. Don’t worry about it.”

(I’m sure what he really meant was, “Thank God. Now I don’t have to get dressed up.”)

So last Saturday, instead of fine dining and rubbing elbows with the Portland elite, we ordered pizza and watched The Princess Bride with our girls. I wore my sweats and relaxed in my comfort zone. 

But I can’t get rid of the feeling that I failed. I failed to do the one thing that scared me that day.

Sorry, Mrs. First Lady.

What do you think? 

Did I totally blow it – making a mountain out of a molehill when I really had nothing to worry about? 

Or is it okay to “just say no” sometimes? And if so, when is remaining in your comfort zone justified?

Comment below and don’t worry about hurting my feelings. (If you don’t want to log in, you remain anonymous.)

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  1. Iowa Organist says

    First of all, you shouldn't feel guilty.

    Second, I'm finding out we are more alike than I realized.

    Third, follow @prodigalsam on Twitter. Read some of his tweets and you'll realize why.

  2. says

    First of all, thanks. That means a lot from you. Truly

    Second, we are totally alike. Except I have no musical bone in my body and you can't quite understand my love of the Mouse. Other than that, identical.

    Third, done. And ohmygosh I've laughed harder in the last 30 seconds than I have all week!

  3. says

    You definitely didn't blow it. Sometimes if you're not ready for something, you just have to accept the fact that you weren't. Then, take time to reflect why and what you can do to be prepared for when a similar opportunity comes up.

  4. says

    Andee, I love this post. I can really, truly relate! That quote of Eleanor's- it's been on my refrigerator for several years. Sometimes I think the thing that scares us the most in a day is admitting we can't or shouldn't do something- I think you actually practiced her words of wisdom in the choice you made.

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