Amy Crow
Designer / Illustrator / Maker


Being Uncomfortable

So it's been an interesting week, actually couple of weeks. Part of this post stems from a conversation I had with my friend Zoe last week about writing; the importance of this medium of communication. She said to me "you have some great insights and opinions, how come you don't write more?". I think there are two reasons for this, the first is when I sit down to write there are more filters and barriers put up between me and the content. Questions unrelated to a topic I want to discuss like what's my writing style, should I be funny, who do I want to talk to, will they care? The second reason is available stimulus. When we talk to one another we offer up topics for discussion and while I'm aware I'm opinionated, it's really only brought out when questioned. 

I think when we speak it's obviously casually conversational and when we write it switches to formality. Likely derived from when we were in school, when we sit down we structure our sentences correctly. I don't think I even know how to do that anymore! I feel like I can't communicate in written as well as I can verbally.

Due to aforementioned issues, I haven't written in some time. Having thought more on what Zoe asked, I've downloaded an app called Dragon Dictation voice to text app to bypass that main issue of sitting down and physically writing. I'd never thought I'd be doing a blog post like this, I am currently walking around my room, stiffly, talking into my phone like an idiot as if I were contacting an alien on another damn planet. I do think this alleviates some of that fear around sitting down with my thoughts that are churning in my brain, to my hands and straight onto the Internet. Interestingly enough, even though I feel uncomfortable using this technology, I feel very comfortable having a one way conversation with my phone.

So we get to the damn point of this post, finally. This was not supposed to be about my apparent inability to write cohesively without an app, I actually really want to talk about being uncomfortable, because I think being actively uncomfortable is extremely important. 

In the last couple of weeks I've been feeling incredibly uncomfortable and I'd like to think that it's helping me become a better human, a better communicator, designer, artist, dancer etc. In the last four weeks I have picked up two new dance classes, both of which challenge me in a good way. To learn to laugh at yourself when you can't do something correctly or properly actually becomes an exercise in pushing yourself, not about being the best. I also recently landed a new job which is surprisingly fantastic, it's been incredibly rewarding knowing that I can add value in my own way.

On an emotional level I have also been feeling brutally uncomfortable. I've accidentally developed feelings for someone and it has really made me consider things that I wouldn't even think twice about in terms of interactions with other humans. The way that I speak with my friends is different to how I interact with this guy. I annoyingly, critically assess the inner workings of my mind which makes me aware of how I really feel, highlighting my insecurities and doubts and about how frenetically I process layers of information. Couple that with some anxiety and you have yourself a blood bag of fried nerve endings constantly experiencing extreme "fight or flight" mode. Surprisingly I don't hate the feeling of snakes crawling up my throat in fear because I'm sure there's some hard core lessons to be learnt here about how not to be a creep or just when to shut up.

I recently revisited the Ted Talk by Emily Wapnick discussing multipotentialites; which describes a personality type who are so comfortable constantly sitting in that learning phase by trying new things that it no longer dissuades them. They see always being new to something as thrilling and exciting, as opposed to scary and uninviting. I'd like to think I'm close one of those personality types with a "fail fast, fail often" mentality. One of my teachers talks a fair amount about the disparity between learning as a child vs learning as an adult. Our overall mentality seems to change somewhere in the misty waters of young adulthood, perhaps after structured learning like school and university. It's almost like we actively ditch the real ability to learn and take constructive criticism as a stepping stone to betterment. Maybe it's ego driven or maybe it's steeped in wanting to achieve a preconceived "level" where we think we don't need to learn anymore. We become professionals or an expert in a field, rejecting the inclination to revert to sponge-mode and take on new information.  Having observed this behaviour for awhile now it has influenced my general maxim for life over the last few years which is, nothing is as hard as you think it is. It might present inconveniences in patience, practice or instruction, but it's not actually fundamentally difficult.

If you absolutely couldn't be bothered reading until now, basically my message for today is, it's important to be uncomfortable, sometimes. It's good for you.