10 Rules for Coping with Panic: Rule #7 (Part 1)(Note: this post is part of a series about navigating my way through the 10 Rules for Coping with Panic, which is a nifty little list I keep in my wallet. To read the introduction to this series, check out this post: Coping with Panic: Why I Can’t, and Why I Can.)

Every woman deserves a good bra.

Yes, I’m making a public blog post that begins with a bra-related anecdote. No, I’m not ashamed. Really. We all wear them.

And if I can spill my mental health foibles to you, dear internet-land, then I can comfortably tell you a story that begins with an undergarment, thank-you-very-much.

Moving on.

I ordered a bra from the Victoria’s Secret website. I’m a bargain-hunter, but their most recent catalog included a voucher for $10 off any online order.

“Offer not valid in stores,” the voucher said.

“Perfect,” replied my agoraphobic side. I wouldn’t have to leave the house.

A few days later, my bra arrived. But it wasn’t my bra. It was pink (ughhhhh, I’m not a pink person) and it didn’t really look like the purple-y one I’d added to my electronic cart and ordered a few days prior.

So, feeling a bit ballsy, I decided to test myself by going to the mall and returning it to my local Victoria’s Secret store.

The mall. Yeah. That big echo-y marketplace of chain stores that scares the living something-or-another out of me. Even though my local mall is relatively small and compact, a typical trip to the mall includes the following panic triggers:

  • a 10-mile highway drive
  • a walk from the parking lot to the mall entrance
  • a walk from the entrance to the desired store (with no easy escape once you hit the middle)
  • waiting in line and a transaction at the desired store

So, how did I develop the ballsiness (really? Is that a word?) to return my bra to a bricks-and-mortar store instead of simply shipping it back to Victoria’s Secret with a return slip?

Answer: by repeating Rule # 7 in my head. Over and over:

It [panic] is an opportunity for progress. Remember that the whole point of practice is to learn how to cope with fear — without avoiding it. So this is an opportunity to make progress.

I wanted so badly to make progress. That “want” transformed itself into confidence.

So, off to the mall I went. Pink bra in tow.

Stay tuned for the second part of this post.

Creative Commons License photo credit: eleanor ryan