“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Somebody shared something vulnerable with me today and it made me feel comfortable sharing something very vulnerable in return. The thing I realized about vulnerability and why it takes courage is because somebody has to give it first. It’s like a first kiss, somebody makes the move and it’s either reciprocated or denied.
I don’t have a lot of experience in giving first kisses because to be honest I like when a guy kisses me first. I say that now, maybe one day it’ll change, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m open to being vulnerable first. I’m open to sharing pieces of myself that I don’t necessarily think are shiny or beautiful. They’re dark and they’re broken. They’re rooted and they’re festered. The weight of them. It isn’t for the faint of heart. This burden. It takes a warrior to be able to hear it and not jump to save me. It takes a Warrior to know that I am broken but I do not need fixing. It’s in the hearing that the healing happens. It’s in the receiving on the other end. The releasing it from myself. Each time it gets just a little bit lighter. It’s in this sharing of space that I am healed. You do not need to try and take it from me, it will never be yours, it’s mine. I’ll likely never be free from it. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay. I don’t know anybody that is.
“It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.” ~ John Steinbeck, Cannery Row
I want somebody to know me. Fucked up truth and all. I don’t want to hide anymore. I’ve spent my life hiding. Trying to be everyone that they wanted me to be. The world will suffocate you with labels and expectations if you let it. Conditioned identities. I don’t want to hide anymore. Please. I’m tired. I just want to be me.
Somebody has to be the brave one. Somebody has to share first. I’m okay with that being me. I can take a leap of faith. It won’t be THE leap, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But. It’ll be of significance. It will be a meaningful sharing. I will be vulnerable. I make sure to test the depth of the water before I jump from the cliff and plunge head first. It must have the right depth and a heart that welcomes adventure. You’ve told me where you’re at. Your words have said you’re ready. But. They always do. Invulnerable people use invulnerable words. These words always say they’re ready.
It’s okay. I can share first. I can be brave. It takes courage. I can have courage. It isn’t until the sharing, it isn’t until I’m vulnerable that I will know whether you have accepted or rejected by attempt to elicit an exchange of truth. Vulnerability.
"The truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Technology a tool. Holds no power except in how it is used. Either for division, manipulation, and control. Or. Inspiration, expressions of shared humanness. Connection. Truth. Where are you deciding to be vulnerable? Where are you choosing to hide? Can you identify your illusions?
I have a curiosity.
When I have been vulnerable. When I have shown courage. When I take that leap. Not THE leap. But still. A meaningful one. When this is rejected and you are not vulnerable back. You are not ready. You have been hiding from yourself. I know. I’ve been there. You haven’t touched the depths of your own sorrow. Tell me. How could you truly see mine and not run from it? You’ve spent your life running from yourself. I understand. I have too. But. I’m tired.
Vulnerability, he beckons me to take my clothes off. He is not forceful, he is inviting. He does not help me. He waits. I stand before him, undressed. Naked. He puts his hand out, but he does not grab me. He waits. This vulnerability. He’s patient. He offers me the warmth of his large hands. I place my cupped hand inside his. Connection. He leads me. I am afraid. Terrified. He pulls me. Gently. Further into the fog. I am cold. Shivering. I can’t see. I know where he’s taking me. The bridge of offerings. Where those I love have the tendency to turn their backs on me. Where I have turned my back on so many. It is not my fault. It is not theirs. There is no one to blame. Shrinking back to safer shores. Where you cannot feel the trembling of water beneath your floors. Unsettling. Our choices. understandable. This hurt.
“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” ~ Aristotle
The truth is I’m selfish. I want to know you are trustworthy. I want you to be vulnerable with me so that I know I can be vulnerable with you. Completely. I crave to be seen. I’m tired of hiding. Beautiful words, incredible sadness. Where does it come from? I want to tell someone. I want to explain in a way that can’t be designed or plotted. I want to share the truth. Dark. Cold. Terrifying.
I often wonder. I am filled with wondering. Questions. I have a curiosity. We’re more connected than we’ve ever been and yet. I wonder. Are we actually getting closer to people, or has technology merely given us the illusion of such connection? Whilst pulling us closer to isolation. Anonymity. Detachment. Narcissism. Sickness.
"The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." ~ C.S. Lewis
This vulnerability. He does not grab me. He pulls me, gently. Into this fog. I hear the water move beneath me. Soft. Swirling. Clean. I cannot see. Eyes are not useful in seeing here. On the bridge where vulnerability leaves me. I do not need to see to know that I have arrived. I can feel it. The heart always feels when we have arrived on the bridge. This vulnerability. He lets go of my hand. Gently. He places it over my heart. He knows not what will follow, for the bridge of vulnerability takes offerings and it’s gifts are unpredictable. Joy. Anger. Gratitude. Incredible sorrow. He smiles and whispers, playfully: “I’ll see you when I see you,” and disappears out past the fog.
Will you meet me?
At the place where vulnerability has you undress. Standing naked in a fog you can’t see past. Alone when vulnerability leaves you. Waiting. Warm fog. Cold body. Shivering. Terrified. Alone.
Will you place your hand over your heart and accept whatever gift is offered you?
Will you choose courage over the comfort of your fear?
Please, my dear. I am here. Filled with fear. Wonder. Questions. Doubt. I am alone. Cold. Open. Vulnerable.
Will you meet me?
“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.” ~ Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
When I have seen that you will not meet me there, that you will not be vulnerable. That I am standing on the bridge alone. And. You’re somewhere out there. Looking at me. Gazing. Spectating. You see me and I can’t see you. Voyeuristic. Out there. Past the fog. It’s dark. Here. Alone. Again.
When I realize that the words are not matching the action. When I feel the truth, that you are not ready. My burden. Too great. It is not for the faint of heart. I ask you. How can I trust you with great secrets, when you only share with me calculated offerings on the alter of vulnerability. You must be willing to get your hands dirty. You must open yourself to hurt. Vulnerability requires courage because it implies risk. Vulnerability is not produced. It’s cultivated.
You are not ready to be vulnerable. That is fine. Take your time. I am ready. I am not interested in this hiding. I want to share. Naturally. There’s a flow to its natural progression. When there is readiness. It is palpable. Undeniable. Powerful. This sharing. I have experienced this. Rarely. Spontaneously. In moments. I told you. Vulnerability isn’t produced, it’s cultivated.
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." ~ Helen Keller
Tell me. How are you opening yourself to life? Where are you choosing to be vulnerable?