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What Losing My Dad Taught Me About Myself

What Losing My Dad Taught Me About Myself


The comfort zone is a psychological state in which one feels familiar and safe, at ease and secure. But here’s the thing: You can never really change your life until you step outside of it. My whole life, I’ve been a tomboy. (I still am; that hasn't changed.) This is my comfort zone. No stress or girl drama; just soccer games and laidback shorts. It’s a life so comfortable, I would not trade it for any other. 

We create these comfort zones to protect ourselves from parts of reality, the unknown stuff we don’t want to see. Because the sad fact is, nothing is perfect. Everything in this world is messed up. How we face and work through stuff is what matters. Hiding in a shell is a coward move. I learned this lesson myself not long ago.

When I was 13, my dad got pretty sick. In that moment, I created a comfort zone for myself. Deep down, I of course knew he was sick—but I never really acknowledged it. I kept telling myself life was just as it had been before, and that all I cared about was soccer and school. My comfort zone. When my brothers and sister had conversations about Dad, I would just shrug it off. They accepted what was happening with him. They accepted what was already happening to him. But not me. To me, everything was still perfect—the same. I kept reminding myself about the happy endings in movies. They existed somewhere, so they could exist in my life.

Everything came crashing down in early 2015. Dad seemed to be getting better, and then he just got worse. That’s when I realized in the past four years, I’d been oblivious to what was actually going on. I focused on my illusions instead of what was real. My sister thought I just knew how to be calm, but all I was doing was blocking out anything that would cause an emotional outbreak. 

For this same reason, I have close friends but not best friends. Some people think I’m mean; some say I just don’t have emotions. But really, it’s that I don’t want any emotional attachment to people. If anything happens to them, I don’t want to be affected. The feeling of having lost my dad is enough. The scar’s too fresh to be wounded all over again.

Recently I’ve realized when I force myself far outside of my element, I experience life in ways I didn’t know were possible. I’ve uncovered a feeling I didn’t know existed in me. I see myself, and I like this new me. Coming out of your element is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end…because in the end, you see a whole new world. So, try. If I can do it, you can, too.
  

By Maggie Garret, 20

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