I’ve had a scary realization. I’m at my best when I’m vulnerable.
A lot of people were surprised with how personal my blog is because I’ve made a practice out of being stoic and reserved. I once went 5 years without shedding a single tear and loved to brag about it. I used to proclaim, “I don’t cry!” as if it were something that deserved an award.
I didn’t start out that way. When I was younger, I was very sensitive. I would readily reveal my feelings (in many aspects of my life–love, friendship, etc) expecting that the other person would respond in kind. Wow, did I get burned.
When I was in elementary school, I found a friend who wasn’t really a friend, and she announced to the entire class that I had a crush on the most popular boy in fifth grade. Let’s call him Billy. I remember feeling betrayed when that girl came over and whispered, in a snakelike fashion, with blood practically dripping from her lips, “I just told everyone that you have a crush on Billy.”
My heart stopped. Would my Prince Charming finally announce that he’s interested in little old me?
Then Billy came sauntering over and said, loudly and proudly, “Just so you know, I DON’T like you.”
Everyone laughed, and I cried for the rest of the day. IT WAS AWFUL. I can put myself back into the feelings of that scene very quickly.
This pattern repeated itself time and time again, and I retreated further and further behind a protective outer shell. At a certain point, I’m not sure that I even knew what my real feelings were, and I certainly didn’t reveal them to anyone else.
Over the past few years, the concept of vulnerability has kept popping back into my life, and I’ve finally become more willing to explore it. I became vulnerable when I found a partner in life who I can tell anything to and not fear his opinion of me. And thank glory I found him. I dated a string of zeros before meeting Dan. I also became more vulnerable when we had children, one of whom has medical issues that make me worry every day. And then I started to open myself up to new experiences, new people, and a level of openness that I hadn’t touched since childhood. And my life started to take on new, vibrant colors.
It’s scary to be vulnerable, but I have no doubt that it’s where I’m supposed to be.