The Comfort of Discomfort

Growing up, I was often nervous. The home time bell at school coincided with my biggest sigh of relief: I knew that soon I would be wrapped in the comfort of my family home or cozy in my gran and papas living room being fed a stodgy dinner. This was the biggest comfort. The certainty of routine was present in my life from as far back as I could recall. It meant warmth, a full belly, being tucked into bed every night, cuddles whenever needed, and a place to shed tears freely. Until everything shifted.

As an anxious child, my greatest fear was change. I basked in the monotony of tradition and dreaded the day I would have to say goodbye to these childhood comforts. Then I turned sixteen and realised the reality of change brought by looming adulthood and unavoidable circumstances. I abandoned my previous ideas of comfort, thinking that they’d been spoiled by family separation and grief. Comfort still existed. But not as it had. The home I had grown up in became nothing more than a memory; my dad moved out and the house was subsequently sold. My gran and papas’ living room no longer held the same warmth when my gran passed away.

So busy grieving for my old comforts, I abandoned the search for new ones and accepted that I had been thrust, against my will, into a permanent state of discomfort. I fumbled with my new life, unsure of where to place myself, my focus, and my vulnerability. It wasn’t until chance led me to someone that I had known forever but left in the past, that I found comfort and safety again. Finding him again and letting myself feel vulnerable brought me home in a way I didn’t know was possible.

I now find comfort in places I would once run from. Being able to view yourself as someone who loves you does will create a kind of comfort that makes you invincible. Yes, I take comfort in cuddles from my parents and from favourite dinners, from Saturday nights in with my boyfriend, and from being in a room with all of my family – the way it used to be. I’ve learned that comfort comes from within. Until I accepted my discomfort and allowed myself to be in situations that provoked this feeling, I failed to see the comfort in my own existence. In order to be truly comfortable, you need to be prepared to get a little uncomfortable first.

[Beth Cook – she / her – @beth__cook]

[Image Credit: Daria Sannikova]

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