Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stand Out in a Crowd

     I have a very small comfort zone. It usually consists of some earth tone clothing paired with very normal denim. Though I am getting better about stepping out into bold color, it is something unfamiliar and thus not my favorite thing to do. Blending in is more my forte.

When everyone is doing something, I have no trouble participating. Like when we all got dressed up in poodle skirts and pony tails for a 50s party in my mom's honor. My grandmother made all of the costumes with my mom's help, and the party was a blast, complete with 50s party music and glass soda bottles. My husband and I were the carhops serving food and drinks out of the "diner".

Last weekend for "Turn Back the Clock Night", the Seattle Mariners held a costume contest for best 50s attire. I figured it was more than a coincidence that we had tickets for that exact night and I just happened to have a carhop costume. I imagined we might forget the year, with all the fans dressed in fifties fashion.

We walked to the game from our hotel, so I toted my costume in a bag. Arriving at the gates to the stadium, my nerves rattled as I looked around at the fans dressed in Jerseys, Jeans, and baseball caps. No one was dressed up and I was fitting right in. Should I change my mind? My grandmother was so excited....of course she was sure I would do well in the contest, but I didn't even know what the prizes were.

We found our seats, and I made the decision to run change and be back in my seat before too many arrived at the stadium. Perfect! No one would see me. But then there's drinks to buy and bathroom breaks to take. People saw me. To deal with that, I mostly avoided eye contact, but some really sweet people stopped me to say they enjoyed my costume.

Though I didn't place in the contest, putting myself out there as the only car hop in the ballpark was an amazing experience. I learned, at least temporarily, to suppress my fear of people's thoughts and opinions. Maybe they thought I was crazy, but so what? A couple wearing a poodle skirt and a letter sweater won two round trip airline tickets. They looked great! Uncomfortable and hot, I ran and changed after making it all the way to the eighth inning.

Do you ever worry about what people think and shrink from putting your true self on display? The willingness and strength to stand alone is one ability that should be practiced and mastered. Is it okay to practice it by being silly? I think so. I am convinced that those who master the skill of being themselves without running over others become truly comfortable with who they are.

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