Comfort zones are difficult territory. They are safe and controllable but by their nature, they are a symptom of privilege. So what happens when we force ourselves outside of our comfort zone or - as many millions of women have found across Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan and other war torn parts of the world - are forced out by factors beyond our control? Written in collaboration with charity, Women for Women International, and UK fashion house, Jigsaw, Comfort Zones is a collection of essays from female writers who tackle the topic of discomfort. Curated by storytellers Sonder and Tell, each contributor has deliberately left their comfort zone behind to write about something new, challenging both themselves and the reader. Rather than finding roots in fear or insecurity, the essays are brave and full of promise as the writers embrace unfamiliar ground. Author Marianne Power shakes off the shame of wanting to be rich, while journalist Gillian Orr faces her fear of becoming just like her mother. Each reflection is thought-provoking: some exceptionally moving, like Lindsey Hilsum’s goodbye letter to her late friend and some hilarious, like Ariane Sherine’s meditation on aging. Vicky Spratt’s essay on why society’s approach to change isn’t enough embodies the sentiment of the collection as she explores how curiosity and hope can be the most powerful catalysts. The collection opens up a dialogue on the limits we set ourselves, both personally and collectively, as individuals and as women. While the confines of our comfort zones are so predictably tempting, a big bold breath of bravery might just be what we all need to realise our full potential.
Comfort Zones, Edited by Sonder and Tell. Jigsaw, 2019.