Hygge here, hygge there, lots of ladies are hyggeing it up everywhere! Fun, if not a bit difficult, to pronounce, with the benefit of cozy socks and a full heart, Hygge is giving a lot of us all the lovely huggable hygge feels. But here’s a rather controversial and unpopular thing. I’m NOT comfortable. Not emotionally, mentally, and certainly not physically comfortable. Everything in my life is at complete odds with Hygge. And I don’t necessarily think that is a “bad” thing. For the record: I love Hygge! I want to get Hygge with it (yes, I know that is not how Hygge is pronounced but just roll with me, and roll your eyes if you must, it’s okay I do it to myself, too). So, to be clear, this is not a Hygge bash.
For those who don’t know, Hygge is a Danish concept: to live well. To take genuine pleasure and enjoyment in simplicities in life. In short, Hygge is pretty fantastic, and in better, nay different, circumstances, is in the realm of life goals in lifestyles that feel increasingly harried and rushed and so dang busy. I want to immerse into the comfort my fuzzy alpaca wool socks, a mug of hot Trader Joe’s peppermint tea, and yummy floral candles burning around my (no longer existing) condo. But, I just… can’t… get Hygge right now.
Right now, I’m profoundly uncomfortable.
To curl up and snuggle in soft textiles in this moment in time feels, to me, antipodal. Hygge is rooted in an absence of annoyances and emotional overwhelm. Well, my dissertation, alone, excludes me from falling cozying up to Hygge! Hygge, essentially, is against controversy, foreign ideals and values, and is gentle, calm, with a nod toward personal social censorship. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m saying. But that’s not where I’m at in my present, with my experience.
I’m politically uncomfortable.
Call me a snowflake because I’m still pissed Hillary lost the election. Heartbroken, actually. And tremendously worried for my country. Well, let’s add the world. Hygge doesn’t exactly jive with the kind of discomfort and frustration needed to be truly itchy enough to be civically engaged. Snowflake, here! I moved to Mexico. I marched. Even before the election I volunteered for Hillary’s campaign. And I don’t want to get comfortable. I want to act. As much as I’d love to snuggle in those fuzzy socks and a sweater and listen to Edith Piaf on Spotify I feel more obliged to move and act on the benefit for civil rights. I am deeply opposed to nearly everything our current administration promised and represents.
But let’s go beyond and let’s talk about awkward.
How about calling legislators from Mexican payphones? Oh, I can be stubborn as an ornery burro when my mind is to it.
Even more uncomfortable, we must, no matter how left, right, or “I just want to see kitties and puppies and babies on my Facebook feed again” we may lean, it is essential for us to openly listen to and receive the point of view and discussion from others who believe differently than us. Expanding our views, being willing to shatter our own comfort zones of beliefs and understanding, is the way we stand to make sustainable progress. For my fellow fair skinned, hetero lovelies, that means we, especially, need to gut check our views of feminism to insist on and represent advocacy for intersectional feminism.
I’m personally uncomfortable.
Well, on my best day, in my home town, I was socially awkward. INFJ MBTI type, here, folks. I’m not only a snowflake, I’m a weird, obsessive, overthinking and over feeling snowflake. We won’t even go into the nearly constant catastrophes that my oversensitive and analytical little ego embarks upon while dating.
I’m experiencing a different type of awkwardness. One anyone who is or has been an expat can relate to feeling.
I’m quickly learning and improving my Spanish by the day, but right now I’m also in that stage where I can hear, as I’m saying or immediately after saying, exactly what I’m doing wrong. Like the day I told my little old (conservative and Catholic) lady neighbor I’m pregnant instead of embarrassed. Talk about “embarrassing.”
I have no hot water, and that’s accounting for the days I have water. Bienvenidos a Oaxaca! I’m taking the quickest showers of my life! Whether the gecko in my courtyard, neighborhood dogs barking, the bells of the basilica, or my neighbors blowing up firecrackers at night (they love to blow things up), I’m not getting that much sleep. Crossing the street has become an extreme sport. I’m cold in the mornings and a hot, sweaty mess in the afternoon.
There’s a weird outsider isolation I feel. I’ve always been proud of my words and my ability to access language. The level of frustration I feel for my inability to express myself in my new language is infuriating. More than once per day I want to clam up and shut down in the middle of conversation. I miss my condo and my little balcony with twinkle lights shaded by a giant ficus tree and overlooking the Spanish style fountain. And I miss my quaint little neighborhood tucked into a mountain preserve. I miss my little pup. And my friends. I have thought – for maybe half a minute at a time – of moving back and immediately work to rebuild my savings. This could have been a massive mistake I will regret in time. But, no.
We grow in discomfort.
Think about the times you stepped out of your comfort zone. Even in failure, there is a lesson, that lesson itself is a win, and in that win is a growth opportunity. And what of the times we step outside our comfort zones and we succeed?!
If we stay in comfort, and stay doing what has always been done, we might keep what we have, but likely not to get any more. What is the biggest risk in asking for that promotion for which you have been working your butt so hard? Train for that Grand Canyon hike. The waterfalls, the stunning force and power of the Colorado River, the quiet… worth it. Striking up conversation with that cutie you see every Sunday at your coffee shop? Well, you never know….
What about saying “no” to the happy hour invitation you really don’t want to go on, anyway? There’s a ton of value to saying “yes,” and “leaning in.” We retain and generate so much positive power in saying “no.” There’s power in not apologizing for stuff that isn’t yours owing apology.
There’s warmth and comfort in seeking small pleasures, and by all means, we ought to celebrate them. We have a lot – a lot – of benefits to seeking safety and security. But, dangit, I think – right now – we have so much more to gain by seeking a bit more discomfort.
What do you think?