For Chris, for always pushing me to write. It will never feel natural to have my secrets and thoughts open to everyone else instead of just you. But FINE!!!
For Tracy, your vulnerability is what makes you beautiful and draws people to you, don’t worry about anything.
For Janet, because I have always looked up to you, for the past 11 years. Sunny days ahead, and not just because you’re in the Bahamas.
For Wendy, for becoming a little more like me and and making me a little more like you. I’m still learning, Mr. Miyagi. Tell Erica I say Whats up.
(Originally I wrote this around 03/02/2015 10:37 AM, but as a Master Procrastinator, it’s been sitting in drafts till now but the relevancy is valid, as I got my ass kicked by some invisible ninjas hurt my heart recently and will continue to throughout my life until I take a dirt nap)
I feel like I’m in my own movie or music video because sometimes the days pass by in a blur, kind of like when you are on a carousel as a kid. Watching the scenery outside of the carousel spin by in a blur but occasionally spotting an object, focusing on it till you turn your head to stare till the carousel spins and its out of sight.
February sucked ass. So many shitty things happened in my professional and personal life and kept happening continuously before I could catch my breath. Before I could process what happened something else would happen. Now I start March, processing but already rubbed raw and down to the bone trying to recover, trying to get up off the floor after getting knocked out. February kicked my ass and the constant theme that kept popping up was being reminded of how vulnerable I am and naturally I hate it.
My natural self defense mechanism is to harden up and put up walls to protect myself because I feel vulnerable to everything life is throwing at me. I HATE feeling vulnerable. I don’t know if it is culture or self preservation, there is a part of me that wants to remain bulletproof to hurt, pain and shit because we are told we are supposed to be strong and invincible. But I know that isn’t natural either, extremes never are the proper solution to any issue. I’ve been struggling with vulnerability since I was a teenager constantly going through cycles in my life of trying protect myself and subsequently becoming cold and unable to feel anything including joy and trying to thaw myself out and find the right balance of being open enough to connect with others but not a complete idiot to be screwed over or taken advantage of by assholes, because assholes are always nearby circling like sharks.
In case you are wondering, I still haven’t found the perfect balance, but it’s gotten better as I have gotten older and wiser and it’s still a work in progress. So I know it’s my personal challenge to try and fight that being my natural tendency of wanting to being cold and protecting myself while trying to be a better, more open person, which makes me better person in all realms of my life whether it be professionally, personally, privately.
One of my best friends and I had an interesting conversation last year regarding vulnerability as she was struggling with it. I think she had the impression it was easy for me or something. I realized a long time ago not admitting I had vulnerabilities didn’t make it easier to deal with or any less true. I told her it never has be easy or natural but felt like exercising in the sense it got a little less difficult over time, but it has never been easy and I don’t imagine it gets easier to the point of feeling natural either.
It is something I struggle with it daily and sometimes feels like a battle but I realized a long time ago it was essential for building relationships around you. Any successful relationship requires one person to let their guard down enough for the other parties to realize it is a safe environment (fostering trust) for exchange which can grown into a beautiful relationship by creating a genuine connection. In my life this has applied to friendships, romantic relationships, family and work relationships. It is hard to admit to someone else that you need help, something from them or have weakness and being able to do so takes courage to lay your shit out on the line knowing you may rejected anyways or the first simple act of trusting others. If you are like me where you hate asking for help and would rather find a way to do things yourself (like learn how to change the spark plugs on your bike very poorly) then you know the act of asking is difficult in itself for people like us.
This is why I say vulnerability is like the elephant in the room that you know is there, that occasionally when things get hard, sits on you and tickle fights you making you fight for your breath. It is always there lurking in the background whether you are conscious of it or not ready to pounce when you least expect it or are able to handle it.
If you were to ask me what my favourite TED Talk was, I would say Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability because it drop kicked me in my heart the first time I heard it. It explained to me how I had been dealing improperly with it all my life by numbing, perfecting, controlling my way out of vulnerability’s reach or so I thought. It never did a damn thing and made things harder in the end. The part where she talks about numbing emotions so they hurt less but also good emotions like joy and happiness struck a cord for me since I first realized it when I was 15 but didn’t understand it until I watched this talk. Sometimes we numb to manage the pain, but living in the purgatory like state of perpetual numbness isn’t healthy or fun either.
I think the reason this talk fascinates me is that it deals with emotions which is an interesting topic to me for the reason society/people shy away from extreme emotions, yet are drawn to emotions and EVERYONE has them whether they try and deny them or not. We try and limit ourselves and others from being over emotional, yet we don’t want to be around cold robotic people. Instead we are drawn to people who can stir postive emotions within us. Emotions are a rather peculiar topic, which is why I believe that Brene’s work is amazing and applies to everyone even if we don’t realize it; we are all numbing with something whether it be drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, internet/social media, sex, porn, food etc. There is a reason her Vulnerability talk is in the top 5 of all TED talks. Her talk on Shame is also related to Vulnerability and is worth watching too.
Brene also did Super Soul Sunday and Life Class with Oprah and there are some short clips that further explain Vulnerability, Shame, fear and Foreboding Joy. They are worth checking out to understand how we function and how we try to deal with it by numbing, perfecting etc. It’s a TL:DR version since most people probably won’t read the book she wrote but this stuff is great for understanding yourself and human nature in general and interactions with people around you.
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