The quirks experiment – the results are in!

For those of you lovely people who sipped a cup of sweet something and read my last post, you may be wondering if I did in fact keep up my end of the bargain and carry out the experiment I wrote about. I did, did! One thing you should know about me is that I generally do what I say I will; whether it is to make you a cup of tea, start a business or have a baby even if I can’t carry one. So incorporating three uncomfortable things into my week was a sure thing. I stand by my word.
My three tasks were:
1) Do not clean up the sea of toys across the living room during my daughter’s day sleep
2) Drink tea from a tea bag (blerg!)
3) Wear thongs to the supermarket
Now these may all sound like very inconsequential, tiny, random acts to you. However as previously discussed, we all have our quirks, our set little ways that keep us feeling cool, calm and in control and these three are some of my many. Here is how I felt upon venturing out of my rigid routine:
1) Not cleaning up the toys
I walked out of my daughter’s room and surveyed the mess. And my stress level rose. I can’t stand mess. I have learned to accept it as a mother. But only a certain level. And once my child is gone, the mess must be gone. I had to recalibrate my expectation of the next two hours. I lit some essential oil. I took a breathe and stepped over and around the unicorn, dolly, Fisher price eggs and other weird and wonderful play things and into the kitchen to make my tea. The mess was out of sight. My stress level began to equalise. I returned to the living room to watch a bit of trash TV with my tea and spied the mess again. This time, instead of stress, I experienced just slight annoyance and then found acceptance within 10 seconds. Good progress. I also had another realisation –the tea and rest had come 5 minutes quicker due to lack of clean up. A huge benefit!!!! The tea, oil and trash TV started to work their calming magic. While I glimpsed the toys out the corner of my eyes I started to think ‘This isn’t so bad. Maybe I can live with this adjustment to my day’. With my new found Zen, I got up for a pee break, only to stand on infernal Fisher price egg shell and howl in pain. Stupid freaking toys. My stress levels rose again. Along with a surge of anger. This is why clean up! However I was calm with 10 seconds. My rational: Perhaps just the egg shells need to be put in the carton. After my pee break I pondered during my precious couch time. My conclusion is the extra 5 minutes rest is worth mess on the floor. Big tick; phase one of experiment successful.

2) Tea bags
I openly classify myself as a tea snob. I love tea. I drink it all day as many times as I can. I remember when my daughter was a little new born. The thing I missed most was not being able to drink enough tea because you can’t hold a hot drink with a little baby – very irresponsible. And of course I would much rather be cuddling my beautiful girl than drinking tea… but I did miss that sweet hot liquid swooshing down my throat. But I digress…. I only like to drink loose leaf tea. Or those Tea Too loose leaf tea in a bag doodads. Because those manufactured teabags from the supermarket leave the taste of the bag in my mouth. I may sound crazy (or like a snob as I have just self-classified), but that’s just how it is. This makes my habit very expensive and can at times make it a bit difficult at some cafes or at other people’s homes that don’t have the particular tea I like. So as part of my experiment, I decided to try drinking a cup of bag tea, to challenge my taste buds and perhaps make life a little easier and even cheaper. Blerg. Yuk. Nope. I sat in my lovely rocking chair during my daughter’s music time. I even bought a fancy jasmine tea infused with pear to make it as likely as possible to be a pleasant experience. I could still taste that bag. My tea time was not my happy place. My lower lip even jutted out and down-turned involuntarily a little, like it does on occasion when I am really not happy or about to cry. Conclusion. Don’t fore yourself to consume food or drink that you really don’t like. Simple.
3) Wearing thongs to Woolies
Shoes have been a great love of mine. In our home in our twenties, the living room had bookcases lining the main walls and my shoes were on display as foot art for all to see. My yen for footwear has turned down several notches in the past years, but I still have a few standards, one of which is no thongs anywhere except in the house, garden, beach or pool. It’s a silly rule and I wanted to break it. The first step was to take my tootsies for their first spin in thongs outside the home. What better place than Woolies or the local shopping centre? My hubby kindly offered for me to get a foot massage while he did the groceries on the weekend, so I decided to take my thong challenge a step further and wear them to the shops and into the massage centre. Funnily enough I felt because my feet would be so casual the rest of me need to be a bit more dressed up for balance. Black skinny pants and a black and white Country Road t shirt with earrings and a necklace. My thongs were white. Just as I was about to leave the house I realised the pants were completely inappropriate for a massage – they were too skinny to roll up my leg. I grabbed some black shorts and off we went. Parting ways with my two favourite people at the shops, I was very aware of my footwear, the sound they made ‘flip flop flip flop’ rang in my ears and I could feel each step I took, reminding me that I was wearing thongs to the shops. Goodness me! What a cheek I had! But my toes felt lovely and free and light and airy! As I looked around I saw families with trolleys full of groceries, teenage girls giggling to one and other, people talking on their mobile phones and then I realised. No-one cares one bit what is one my feet right now. So neither should I. Ahhhhhhh. It was a lovely internal exhale. I walked into my foot massage with feet that were already happy. And came out with them feeling even happier. I had forgotten about my thongs and the experiment completely. I was in a state of bliss. I was however now wearing shorts, a t shirt and thongs. Again – not my style, or comfort zone. Back at the car with my hubby and snotty (but gorgeous) daughter and shopping trolley in tow, we were greeted by stylish ex neighbors. I was dragged out of my hazy bliss and reminded about my attire. ‘Oh no! Why did I not change back into my skinny pants? And why did I not wear ballet flats and put my snotty daughter in a tutu today of all days?’ This thought was only for a nanosecond. After a rather large exhale and a sleepy post massage smile I realised I didn’t really care. I am a mama with a child who sometimes gets sick and we can all wear shorts and t shirts and thongs to the shops. Judge away. For me in particular, this third phase of the experiment was hugely liberating as I am very visually driven and care greatly about what others think. Perhaps now, a little less.

I completed the experiment. Here are my findings:
Sometimes if we push our boundaries we may feel a little stressed at first but discover we can be a whole lot more relaxed or benefit from pushing through the initial discomfort. However if you enjoy something, why stop doing it? And don’t force yourself to do something you really don’t like. That’s it for now. Be well x

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