I have found out recently that I am not actually too vulnerable with others.
And this is a rather shocking thing, because I thought I was, and probably you think I am, coming here and reading about my life and essentially noticing the veritable heart-on-my-sleeve and “we’re in this together” tactics that I like to employ. Believe me, they are not a falsehood. More than anything, I want it to be true that I can share a piece of myself and it will mean something to the world.
Still, I have noticed the slow retreat inward. At first, it was confusing and I disguised it behind rest and busy work. But next I saw a loss of boldness; and then somehow that gave way to a lack of confidence. Then I found myself in the tangled mess of analyzing how to share and who to be and what to say--that mess that always ends up being fear. I somewhere along the line started becoming too afraid to really speak any more. I think I have been afraid of a myriad of things—criticism, being wrong, oversharing, failing, not being enough, not being liked. And it’s a disappointing turn-of-events in light of just turning thirty and all that wisdom that was meant to afford me, and etc. Plus straddling the lines of fear and doubt having just come to the place of my dreams felt rather inconvenient to say the least.
This is the part where I'm supposed to present the revelation, the epiphany that is saving me. Maybe I know what to do in theory, but I’m not there yet. I’m still sorting it out. I’m still swallowing pride. I’m still searching for courage.
One time someone (whose opinion I valued very much at the time) said to me, “I can tell you have something to say. I think you have something important to say.” I do.
The Creator has been gently nudging me to do the same—to create—in the face of all this fear. I hear in my mind “Keep going.” And the articles I read are about perseverance. And the teachings on Sundays admonish me to speak out and be brave. Heck, I just found out we are going to be studying the empowering effects of vulnerability in my women's group. (I hear ya, Universe!)
Yet it still remains quite in process. I have not shut up the desire to proclaim; but perhaps I’m still mulling over the "how" piece. Of course, it occurred to me that we all must face this in some way. So for starters, maybe it is true that I can share a piece of myself and it will mean something to you. Maybe just this does. And if you are fearful of where to go, if you think your voice is too small to pierce through the negativity or doubt or hate, remember that you too have something to say.
Because I don't have the words of experience yet, I'll share one last fear. But this one is my motivator. It scared me more than whatever else has seemed frightening lately. I thought about how easy the ride is if you just sit back, an observer more than a participant; and I considered doing that for a long time. Then I thought about two little girls watching me do that--seeing their mother shy away from herself, noticing that maybe her words and actions don't always match up. The fear of that was stifling, heart wrenching. You see, all I want for them is the exact opposite. In fact, if they ever know anything from me, I want it to be this: Be brave enough to be weird. Be weird enough to stand up, to speak out, to feel free, to find your way, to turn a head, to draw a smile--to realize that all of this is both your beauty and your gift to the world.
I may say those words over and over again to them, but they'll never hold weight if I don't believe them for myself and put them into practice. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.