I just returned from my first farmer’s market of the season! I get so excited and some times even overwhelmed by all the people, colors and fragrances. The expectation of the full bounty I can choose from but fearful of all the people that are there.
There is something to be said though about loading up the car with a couple of eco-friendly shopping baskets, turning on some MC Yogi tunes, rolling down the window and driving with the intention to find beautiful nutritious goods for the day or even the week.
As I walked around trying to remember what booth was where, I say many yoga friends who too had the same intention.
“Beautiful,” I thought.
There was a time when I would never, ever, have gone to the farmers market alone. What today appears to be beautiful colors and gathering of current and new friends use to be a place of complete anxiety. The crowds, the tents, the dogs, it can all be overwhelming.
"Where is everything? What is here?"
The uncertainty of it all made me so anxious I would have to bring my husband with me as my guide.
I may have had a bit of social anxiety. Never diagnosed, this is what I know. I am still a bit nervous to walk into large crowded areas or go to places that are not that familiar to me. But I had read once a rather simple solution to social anxiety and I began to implement it in to my life.
The idea is to, go, wherever you need to go, for just a few minutes then leave. Keep building from there. Baby steps.
Once I understood that I did not have to commit to any amount of time, at any particular place, I was more comfortable. I felt more in control.
I started this one-day going to the mall of all places. I needed a new keyboard as I spelled water on mine. I knew if I ordered one online, it would take too long to get here. I knew if I waited for my daughters to get home from school to come with me, I’d lose a whole workday.
So I headed out. I did not tell anyone, make a big deal out of it, I just got in my car, drove to the mall and parked my car. I opened the door walked straight to the Mac store purchased my keyboard on the way out I was so liberated! I could not believe what I just did! I go to my car and called my husband.
“You are not going to believe what I just did!” I told him.
“What?” he said.
“I went to the mall by myself!”
At first he was so confused.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I had never gone to the mall by myself before. I went, bought a keyboard all by myself!”
He hadn’t realized that I had never gone to the mall by myself. When I told my sister she too hadn’t realized I had never gone to the mall by myself but I would see my husband and my sister mentally putting things together and they too got excited for me.
Really, I am not sure if I had ever realized that I HAD NEVER GONE TO THE MALL BY MYSELF until I had done it. Baby step. Get in. Get out. Mission Accomplished.
I take this Baby Step approach now to situations where I use to feel anxious or maybe I would even call it a barrier to things I really want to do.
I took this approach at the farmer’s market this morning, too. But now I can take more time, enjoy the surroundings, chat with people because I know that I can leave anytime I want.
I park my car, stroll through the park, noticed the colors of the flowers the people sitting with their dogs. I peruse the isle, chat with friends, “I’m Brave.” I say to myself. I had really come for the portabella mushrooms. My daughter loves my Portabella Pretzel Burgers. I don’t see them this time so I pick up some asparagus and salsa.
As I continue walking I come around the around the corner, take a peek and see a whole new section that they have added to the farmers market. I stop dead in my tracks.
“I have all I need. I can go now.” I say to myself. Anxiety, she’s back!
“But what if the mushrooms are over there? What if them moved the mushrooms and I miss the mushrooms?”
I talk myself into venturing to the “other side.”
And there he was MUSHROOM MAN!
As I walked up now so excited of the possibilities of the mushrooms I see a familiar face. One of my students and her husband are too visiting Mushroom Man. I am comforted by their conversation and the familiarity of it all. Together we approach Mushroom Man and begin to chat about various recipes using portabella mushrooms including one of my new favorites, Portabella Lasagna Cups. Just then an unfamiliar face and voice chimes in that she loves to make pesto sandwiches with mushrooms and begins to explain the recipe.
“Yum” I think I will l add tat to my repertoire.
As I pay Mushroom Man I bid a due to my current familiar friend and my new friend, I head back to the car. Grinning from ear to ear, I imaging all the delicious recipes I will make for my family today thanks to my bravery and Mushroom Man.