I have a comfort zone and I like it very much. If I travel too far away or out of it, I tend to get antsy. I’m not so bad now that I am older and wiser, (it is probably really cynicism), but when I was a lot younger, I had my routine and if it changed in any shape or form I got the jitters. A new environment with strange faces filled me with unease. I can still vaguely remember my first day at school. I had no idea where I was or indeed, what the place was about. And as for the millions, because it certainly seemed that way, of other kids also gathered there, my mind just boggled. I was a bit of a sheep. It’s what I do best when I am unsure. I just follow the crowd. Where are we all going now? The bathroom? Grand job. What’s this yard and why have we got these plastic boxes? It’s the playground and this is my lunch? Oh, ok. What’s happening now? So on and so forth until some sort of recognition arrived and I settled in. Recently my nephew started secondary school. He has gone from being a big fish in a little pond to being a tiny fish in a massive ocean. It brought back distant and uneasy memories for me. Secondary school was a shock to my system. It was all one big huge adventure until I discovered that I had the wrong school bag, I was supposed to wear my socks down, not up to my knees and as for timetables? What the hell were they?? Then shock piled straight onto horror as we were separated up into three classes. I was aghast and mildly panicked to discover that there were only three, three faces that I knew from primary school in amongst 30 other alien people. I hadn’t been expecting that at all. When I moved on and out into the working world it took me the best part of six months to settle into a new job. I stayed in my first going nowhere fast job for five years because I was afeared of the wide blue yonder. But I struck out and took the bull by the horns plus every other awful cliché you can think of and got myself another job. I well and truly not only left my comfort zone behind, but discovered what life without a safety net, cushions and hot chocolate is really like. I like my bubble; my nice, familiar, safe and warm environment where I am surrounded by like-minded people with the same or similar thoughts and beliefs. I don’t like confrontation. But when it lifted its ugly head I stood up for myself and with a heart that ran the very real risk of bursting from stress and anxiety, I stood my ground and had my say. Then I took shelter in the nearest bathroom and shook for twenty minutes whilst ordering myself not to break down and cry. Tribe. Family. Clan. Kin. We’ve all got one yet sometimes it can be hard to feel connected. I think we all need to move out of our comfort zone to really discover who we are and what we are capable of. It is stress making in the extreme and you’d better be prepared for a lot of second guessing. Second guessing yourself, that is, but it is worth it. Your bubble is always there. It is a lot stronger than its filmy appearance and you might return to it a little bit different but it is nice to take something from a new experience. I have a lot of bubbles. I have a lot of places I go to for shelter, advice, inspiration and solace. I know I am in good company in all of them and that I can speak my mind in a way I know I couldn’t elsewhere. We, all of us, are multi-faceted and these are just my other dimensions. The really good thing about bubbles is that we can pick and choose. One bubble does not fit all. But there is one bubble that always makes me feel safe, secure and right at home. It is in the most unlikely of places; under the stairs. It’s a new development. I call it my club house for the simple reason my two older boys have one on the half landing. Underneath our stairs are two not too soft, not too hard, but just right armchairs and mama bear likes to seek refuge under there. There is a large window overlooking the back garden so there is a view as well. Mama bear has been known to creep under the stair and set up camp on one of the chairs. Sometimes I will take my large brown hard backed notebook and a pen, sometimes a magazine, other times a coffee but the best times, I go in there by myself. I have gotten ten minutes of solitude, just me and my nothing thoughts, before I have been discovered. I couldn’t honestly tell you what I was thinking about. But I can reveal there was stillness, peace and calm. Both mentally and physically. Then the cubs, woken by their sixth sense, came in search. The first time I sat under there, and they came looking, I didn’t move. But their radars found me. “Mammy! What are you doing under there?” Sixth senses are strong and so are the sat nav’s on their bubbles. I am their bubble. Their shelter, their refuge and solace. And, it appears, they are mine.