It takes so much effort to go out. Or at least it feels like it takes so much effort. Once I'm out there, I'm usually fine, but the getting out is hard.
Today when I started to try and back out of the plans I'd made with my sister, to pick up a cake and some bread at our favourite bakery (the cakes were reduced today), then go to a favourite secondhand bookstore in a local college town, she wouldn't let me. So out we went!
We spent a lot of time deliberating over the cakes, and I got pretty stressed out by it. I think it's hard for people without anxiety issues to understand how something as seemingly small as choosing a cake can lead to such stress, but the small questions of what if my father doesn't like it (he'd been the one especially excited about the cakes)?? What if I don't like it?? How can we get a cake the whole family likes?? Quickly gets blown up into actual stress. It's like when you're starting with a high baseline of stress, just from existing, small extra stressors up the overall stress levels enough that it actually becomes hard to do even the simplest things.
But the choice was finally made, and we headed back out into the bright and chilly afternoon.
The secondhand store was a bust, as apparently most things in that aforementioned college are closed on Mondays. But having determined we were going to have a nice afternoon out no matter what, my sister and I found the only open cafe in the entire town to hang out in.
You know how sometimes if you live somewhere (or close to somewhere), you're almost less likely to try out new restaurants or cafes? You find a favourite or two, and then all the other places nearby become just part of the scenery? Well, deprived of my usual go-to coop cafe, we instead tried a place that's been there forever, and is really popular, yet I've never been to in all the years it's been open. Apparently I've been missing out on a cozy little place with mosaic floors that serves locally sourced vegetarian food and a long list of coffees, most of which I have no clue what they are. Who knew!
We sat back in our faux-leather armchairs, my sister Emilie with her sweet potato soup, both of up sipping our cappuccinos (pretty sure my first time having a cappuccino... Most of the time I just go for the cheapest coffee on the menu oops). We talked for over an hour, about mutual friends, fantasy novels, how much we hate Steven Moffat, and what it's like being friends with people who are at different points in their lives. When you live with someone, you often take each other for granted to the point that you don't have real in-depth conversations as often as would be nice, so actually making the mutual decision to just go out and spend time together can be so very nice.
Back home, I find myself pondering just why it's so hard for me to just get out. Making sure I don't turn into a complete hermit has been a struggle of mine for years, yet hermit-ing is so bad for my mental health. As hard as the prospect can be, and as draining as it sometimes is, I need the stimulation of workshops to attend and cafes to try and thrift stores to look through, and just having people around. It's getting the energy to just do it that's so hard.
But once I start, it gets easier. Just as it gets harder the longer I let myself hide at home, the more I push myself to be out and about the easier that gets. I made a start today, I suppose, so now I just need to keep it up!