I wore my compression mask for two years after the fire.
Day in, day out, all day, every day.
I had to wear it. It helped my skin recover …. but it absolutely SUCKED to wear it.
1.It made me super conspicuous. Like, tell me you wouldn’t notice someone WEARING A BLACK BALACLAVA AT THE SHOPS.
2. I like making people laugh. I like having earnest conversations. My mask detracted from all of that. People couldn’t read my facial expressions, and so, if I cracked a joke “Hey! I’m like the friendliest bank robber around town!” without people being able to see my big smile with my big white teeth, the joke worked about as well as a wetsuit with a broken zipper.
3. It was extremely uncomfortable. It was tight – that was the point. Tighter than a wetsuit and tighter than a stocking. It was so tight that I couldn’t really move my face underneath it. So, when I had my mask on, I couldn’t move my jaw enough to chew food. I took it off, ate my dinner, and then put it back on. Not being able to eat at will was extremely irritating. I like to do things when I want to do them and not a moment before, thank you very much.
4. Imagine trying to fit all of my Tahitian hair within the confines of a compression mask. Not easy.
5. As a sweet surprise, Michael bought me tickets to go to a show. Guess which one? THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Extremely poor choice on Michael’s part ?
But the thing is, if we do something enough, we get used to it – and if we wear something enough, we get used to that too (g strings, I’m looking at you).
So, eventually, I got used to my mask. I became habituated to it. It was like my hard, non-pliable security blanket. It was a literal barrier between me and others. It inoculated me from the world. With my mask on, I felt like I could face the world. Without it, I felt like Peter Parker with no radioactive spider bite.
And then the time came for me to take it off. Was I terrified? You bet. Was I scared that people would scream and point at me? Yep, of course. Was I petrified that I would repulse my family and friends? YES.
Sooooo, how’d I do it?
I started small.
I didn’t just fling the front door wide open one day, rip off my mask and strut down to the beach in a bikini.
I stopped wearing my mask around my family for thirty minutes at a time. Then I tried taking it off when I had girlfriends around. Then I tried not wearing it on a walk around the block. Then to the post office. Then to get groceries.
Tiny, baby steps.
That’s how I’ve achieved everything in my life.
By taking teeny, tiny, baby steps.
And if you’ve read my new book Happy, you’ll know it’s the approach I recommend when it comes to YOUR goals too.
See, I believe you really can do anything (yes, opening that swimming school, writing that kids book, learning to roller skate…. ANYTHING!) when you break it down into baby steps.
It’s not realistic to expect to pull on those roller skates and be zipping around in them in cute Instagram videos tomorrow. Aim for a successful trip around your driveway first!
And if you need more tips on how to make your roller skating dreams happen (or any dream really, this is not skate-specific advice! ?) I’d recommend checking out the ‘Goals’ chapter inside Happy. I’ve condensed the very best of my goal-getting strategies and tips into this chapter, and I reckon it’ll help.
You can grab a copy of Happy here ….. and you can send me a video of you falling over in your skates tomorrow. Yes? Excellent. Can’t wait ?
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