What does vulnerability mean for me?
-the radical idea that transparency and openness can be healing, in and outside of yourself- with the power to heal and connect the world.
How does it show up for me?
-it shows up in my capacity for growth. I’ve found that any hindrance or hesitation I’ve experienced that has prevented me from personal growth, was rooted in my fear of being vulnerable. When you are unable to be bare and honest, you run into dysfunction because you’re concealing the truth, or you’re lying about who you say you are.
This year I decided to stop lying. I know it sounds like whaaat, bitch you’re a liar? Yes. I was a whole liar. For example, in the past if someone was trying to talk to me, and I was interested, girlllllll, I would be putting on a whole performance of ‘perfection’. I was scared to be myself, scared to be vulnerable, scared to speak my truth, because I didn’t want to be rejected.
“Nah, I don’t talk to anybody”,
” I don’t know why I’m single either, shiiiiit”.
“Yeah, Friday sounds good” – knowing damn well, I ain’t coming.
So, story time of how being vulnerable (honest) really showed up for me in a small way.
So I’m in Miami, out to eat on Collins with my cousin. This guy sits down at the table next to us, and he’s by himself. At this point I got one of them big $25 drinks in front of me, and I’m feeling a little out-going. So my cousin goes to the bathroom, and I’m like alright, this is my chance to talk to this dude, I really didn’t even know what he looked like ( he was sitting next to me, not across from me, so I would have really had to be in his grill if I wanted to like, get a peek, you know?) I just knew that this year, I was *trying* to be more outgoing. I don’t know what I said, but me and him just start talking, and we never stopped talking (my cousin was so annoyed by the way).
Anyway, I’m sitting here having a great conversation with this man. He was interested, he was honest, and very pleasant.
THEN IT GETS REAL.
He’s like “Are you talking to anyone?”
I was like “Yes”.
He just looked away and started staring off into the road all dramatic and shit, and in my head I’m like wow, that felt good- to just tell the truth and not care about the outcome.
Then he’s like “Have you ever cheated on someone?”
I was like “Yeah”.
Then he does the same dramatic look-away, and I’m dying laughing on the inside because its like “n*gga of course I have”. People have this weird fantasy of meeting a woman who’s perfect, and Mother Teresa-like.
Anyways, so then he says ” I hate that you’re so honest, I’ve never had someone be this honest”.
At that moment, I could’ve jumped for joy because I didn’t have that feeling of like , damn I just lied, now I gotta remember this lie, I gotta keep up with this lie, etc. etc.
So now, I just had a great dinner, great conversation, and I’m feeling hella good because I just told the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and this guy still is looking at me like the sun shines out of my ass.
So while I’m putting my number in his phone, I guess I was feeling like “Sis, let him know who you are”, so I put my blog site in the website spot in the contact. For me, that was a very vulnerable thing to do because I write about a lot of personal things on here. The miracle was that my perspective changed from ” What if he reads my blogs, and doesn’t like me anymore?” to “I love my writing, and it’s important to me”.
Lets get back to the point. Vulnerability.
Why do I need vulnerability?
Without vulnerability I would never be able to write, and I would never be able to connect with the amount of people that I do through my writing. My transparency has been groundbreaking for me. The writing saves me in the same way that it saves the reader. I know that my pain will be useful. When I am vulnerable with other people, they feel like they can be vulnerable with me too- and because of that, I have more connections with people on a soul level than on an ego-level; And yes- I think those relationships hold more value and importance because I know my friends’ hearts. I know what they’re going through, I know that they are not *bad* people because they didn’t answer my texts, I know them at a depth that I can understand, I know them at a depth that is familiar to me.
I asked three or four people that I knew who were struggling with being vulnerable, what their objections were, and why there were against it.
This was their answers :
- Trust– they felt like they couldn’t be vulnerable with everyone because they didn’t trust them.
- Betrayal– they feared that by giving people information about themselves, it could easily be used against them, and it has before in the past. (people throwing things you’ve said in your face, using deep things you’ve told them against you)
- Accusations– people invalidating your experiences, your feelings, your pain, your trauma, etc. (I understand this one deeply, because I actually had a psychiatrist tell me that he thought I was lying about trauma that I experienced, and that made me closed off for a long time)
- Weakness– they felt like being vulnerable made them weak.
- Possibilities– being opened leaves us susceptible to all forms of energy, dangers, toxicity, and abuse. *
This is my response (which took weeks of digging deep inside myself to find answers)
There is a lot of anxiety attached to the idea of being an opened book because of ways people have treated us in the past because of it. The fear derives from an unpleasant experience that we had while being vulnerable, and because of that we have chosen that the best way to avoid pain and abuse is to put our walls up.
This is what I know for sure:
Being closed doesn’t serve us in any capacity. It leaves us hard and closed off. It creates a barrier between us and love, and more specifically-between us and anyone who is trying to love us.
If you prefer comfort over vulnerability, you will get just that. You won’t suffer much, or enjoy much- but for the rest of us we will know what victory and defeat feel like because we’ve dared to live outside the gray area.
To circle back to my story about the guy I had met- I could’ve easily used my past experience with men as a guideline for how I interacted with him. I could’ve been like “nah I know this n*gga ain’t sh*t, because none of them are”, “something gotta be wrong with him”, or “yeah he’s definitely broke, that’s what it is”. But I didn’t. I know now that I can’t allow my past experiences to sabotage new relationships. All those thoughts were thoughts of fear, none of them were thoughts of courage or vulnerability. “When you hold on to your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny“-Bishop T.D. Jakes. Sis, don’t nobody want a woman who’s holding onto so much baggage that she doesn’t know a good man when he’s standing right in front of her.
Kill the narrative that you’ve been telling yourself about men. Men are not the enemy. You are. You choose what you want to see in men.
Vulnerability is strength. When we are vulnerable with someone, we have no idea of the outcome. We don’t know if they are going to reject us, we don’t know if once we share our truth, and our wounds, if someone is still going to stick around. Being vulnerable is the most courageous act of love- to me at least. If someone can show me themselves- whole, even “the ugly parts”, I want that person. Now me and you connect on a level that you don’t share with most people.
When I am vulnerable with someone, and it’s an unpleasant experience (which I’ve been experiencing a lot), it doesn’t make me want to be less vulnerable, it just doesn’t. What happens though, is I get to say “WOW, you are not for me, and I’m happy that now I’ve realized our relationship can’t go beyond the surface”. Being vulnerable has only allowed me to weed out the people I do not want in my life. Sure, it can be painful if you tell someone about a wound, and they downplay the significance, or invalidate you- but it’s always worth the risk.
Vulnerability connects us. It is those painful truths that we have that will connect us. Most of the time when I can be be vulnerable and tell someone about who I am- and it is something that I think may make them feel uneasy, uncomfortable, or unsettled, I am scared. I am scared that if I tell them I struggle with communicating, or that I am not doing well financially – they won’t want me anymore. But the space that you create by being vulnerable provides comfort. Usually the person will respond by saying “me too”, or “I’ve been through that, and this is what I did…”. There is a lot of relief that comes with vulnerability. To have that weight off of you, to finally tell that truth that you’ve been scared to tell, is liberating.
Be free. And if there is ever any rejection that comes from you being free- then you’ll know to let go.
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