The first story of how I'm learning to be like Hippo (read "You Should You Should" here)
Halloween Decorations Drama
Hippo Challenge #1 (read the challenge here)
I just put up all my Halloween decorations right now, after my roommates went to bed! Ha.
I've been avoiding putting them up since I brought them from my parents' house. They've been sitting in a bag, on the floor, in the living room, for days. Why did I wait til tonight AFTER everyone went to bed, even though I have to get up early tomorrow, to do one of my very favorite annual activities?? Because my mind decided something else was more important - fear of what my roommates think.
They might hate it.
They're very interested in our apartment looking CUTE. And it does! One recently went shopping for really really nice home decorations at Hobby Lobby and my other roommate has a set of cute decorations she carries with her from apartment to apartment. Our place is neat and tidy and trendy and real cute right now. Which I quite enjoy. Point is, right now our apt's appearance is very important to my roommates - they've recently invested both time and money. Which for me, right now, means pressure!
I, on the other hand, have the mind of a 7-year-old when it comes to holidays. Clear up until I moved out of my parents' house, I use to build a fake man with my dad's old clothes, stuffed him with crumpled newspaper, and put him outside on an old chair with a hidden sensor that talked when people walked past. I hung up little ghosts all over our house that I made out of paper towels and string. I smothered our living room and front door with that gross spiderweb mesh and hid spiders everywhere. I'm all about what's fun!
Once all the bedroom doors closed, I began the festivity. I doubt they'll love the super green skeleton I hung on the wall, or the purple spidery swirls hanging from the ceiling, or the plastic shiny pumpkin string falling in a swoop from our blinds, and the orange and ghost strings of lights might be a little much. They're also not perfectly aligned along the furniture, at all. But... I love them. I love them all, and I love them a lot. Pretty much looks like a party in my living room, and I'm so excited about Halloween right now. I'm typing at this moment in the eerie orange glow of Halloween lights. Bliss.
Now. We'll see how long I can stand having it up. Which will win? - My worry or my will? My worry and fear of what my roommates will think? OR my decision to not worry, and to realize it's just Halloween decorations!! To realize if they hate them, it's only for a month. To realize that just because they don't love my decorations doesn't mean they don't love me. To realize that if I end up needing to take some down it is O.K. Not the end of the world. Again, it doesn't mean they don't want ME.
To realize that I'm jumping SUPER FAST to negative conclusions, and to realize that there's also a chance they'll LIKE them!
Now, stepping out of my drama queen brain, let's look at real life. Reality is ... it's not even a big deal. Like, really.
But that is not the point I'm trying to make. My point is this - if I let anxiety win, I will be going to bed afraid afraid afraid of the morning. When we awaken, I'll spend every minute waiting for someone to say something negative, wondering what they're thinking, and trying to read their mind. I'll avoid eye contact, and assume hidden meanings behind every word, or even silence, believing it definitely has to do with my surprise midnight Halloween attack. If someone clears their throat, I'll die inside because I'll just know it's their secret language translating into, "I hate it, what were you thinking, why did you think you could decorate, you should have let someone help you, you child." (my wonderful roommates would never ever say anything like that) If we do talk about it, I'll probably make them tell me 10 times over that they're SURE they like it. And then I'll continue to worry all day at work and then the next day and the next day, and up until the time I take them down, and that type of worry isn't worth it, which is why I might have to take them down in the next 5 minutes!
If anxiety does not win (which doesn't mean it's not still there, it just means I kicked it out of the driver's seat), then it means I am practicing the arts of risk, trust, letting go.
Letting go of what others think.
Letting go of assuming I know what others are thinking.
Letting go of depending on acceptance and constant reassurance in order to feel at peace.
Letting go of trying to control what others think of me by being someone I'm not, or hiding who I am.
Letting go of worry and letting things and people, including myself, to just be what they are, and feel what they feel, without inserting unnecessary meanings about me. (how self-centered is that?)
Letting go is an art I'm still learning. We can talk more about that another time.
(cue worries about roommates reading this blog post!....)
A couple days later:
Well, they're still up. I haven't asked anyone what they think, because I'm practicing letting go (and I'm still a little scared of the answer). Nobody has told me what they think, and I'm trying not to care/worry/analyze/overthink it because I'm practicing letting go! Random people from other apartments have come over and said, "Cool decorations," and still no roommate comment, at all. Except: "Hey Gin you should turn on your Halloween lights for dinner when our friends come over." And "Ginny your skeleton scared me this morning, haha!" Cool. I'll take what I can get, assume the best (they probably love them so much they are speechless, haha - ooor more realistically, they have other things on their mind and haven't thought to say anything), and let the rest go. :) I'm feeling MUCH more at peace today, and I think I can get through the rest of the month just enjoying them. Take THAT anxiety, take THAT dependent personality!
Two years ago this would have played out much differently. I wouldn't have even brought my decorations to my apartment at all. So, yay!
Well, that was kind of embarrassing to share, but oh well. Come back tomorrow to read about a heated in-person-argument I had yesterday (a huge step for me) in which I learned a very valuable lesson.
If you have similar experiences to share, would love to hear in a comment!