One LDS BYU junior explores how to take the reins of her own life.
What I am about to say, I say with caution, as I know that I am very suggestible, and anything that I say that I am, regardless of its original truth value, is liable to become true if I continually tell myself that that is the way things are. But some part of me (even in its smallest measure) is a recluse. Though I am at BYU where social opportunities are familiar and frequent, when you, my beloved friend whose company I seek, call me to do something that is appealing to me in every way, I am still liable to say no, choosing instead a night of private cinema screening and quiet contemplation.
That weird, almost foreign inclination to spend time only with myself is not so prevalent that I don’t know how to function socially, however, and so even as I sit there, browsing Netflix’ watch instantly, I know in some part of my heart what I’m missing out on. It was in light of that sentiment that I deemed this past week my ‘social instigator’ week. From Friday to Friday I decided that I had to accept any social invitation that was presented to me and that, should I feel a sudden urge to be around a particular person or go do something, at that very moment I would need to do whatever it took to follow that impulse and make it happen.
This week also boasted a bit of an unheard of miracle, as the director of a play that I didn’t get cast in, suddenly called and ask that I accept a role in her show after all. I dove into rehearsal a week late, but ready to take on the role and the world. The play rehearsals sort of call for a pair of heels from the get go and though we are far from costumed runs, I generally walk to campus barefoot, heels in hand and quickly slip them on just before I go on (remember how I am very north of six feet tall with heels on?).
It’s fairly common practice in rehearsing for a show to wear the shoes your character will eventually have on from the beginning of the production process. Maybe it’s just paying homage to that old homage about walking a day in another man’s shoes, but particularly with heels, it’s stunning how much a simple pair of shoes changes the way I walk and therefore the way I feel, and therefore how I present myself to others. Heels, for example, instantly give me a bit of a strut that I would humbly label “sassafras,” extra emphasis on the “sass.” I interact with people differently when I wear heels and my confidence (and maybe a little pride) is as elevated as my feet, from the moment I slip them on.
Being a social butterfly, just for the week, was a lot like slipping on that pair of heels. Knowing that I had made that goal, I actively sought opportunities for social interactions and the decision to be the instigator rather than the benchwarmer completely changed my level of confidence around the people in my life. When I was no longer seeking social approval and instead jumping at the chance to approve other people socially, I suddenly found myself, for the first time, to be the leading lady in my own tale rather than my standard friend and friend of a friend role.
The results of a week so spent ranged from promoting the Pleasant Grove Players by performing a scene from The Importance of Being Earnest, which I had never looked at before, at a community fair to spending the night on the sidewalk outside of Earth Fruits’ Yogurts, in the hopes of being one of the first one hundred customers who would receive free ice cream for a year. We didn’t get it by the way; we were ready with our brass knuckles and baseball bats to bum rush the door when they opened it, but it turned out they took down a list of the first one hundred people twelve hours before we even got there.
I’m being taught and retaught this concept of taking back the reins on my own life. I know in some depth of soul, the power contained there, but I’m just now realizing that that power is allowed to, and probably delights in manifesting itself even in seemingly trivial things like whether I watch a movie alone or with a friend. I think unleashing your own confidence and abilities in the little things is the first step to unleashing real, truly awe-inspiring power that can change the face of your world. So, go ahead, slip on a pair of heels and make dinner for a cute boy. I did, and it’s working wonders.