It's really hard for me to be vulnerable. A friend once told me that I could be transparent, but not vulnerable, and at the time, I was like, but aren't they the same thing? I've come to realize that they're not. Being transparent means that I can be real about what happened but being vulnerable means that I can be honest how I felt about what happened. For example, you and a close friend fall out. Another friend comes along and asks you what happened. Transparency says: we had a fight about the fact that she said I look fat in my jeans. Vulnerability says: I was hurt by the fact that she knows I'm struggling with weight and she made that kind of comment without being considerate of that. See the difference? Although transparency can include a level of vulnerability, it doesn't have to. But what I'm noticing about this stage of my life is that vulnerability is important and downright essential to growing up. It has to happen in some way, shape or form. Some of us think we can do without it but we don't realize the things that have happened to us are following us. If we haven't dealt with them, they are leaking as we walk. Nothing goes away--buried yes, but not disappeared.
Vulnerability is important because it's important to realize that it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to be hurt, to feel pain, to ask why. It is okay to say that things didn't necessarily go the way you wanted to. It's okay and it's necessary. In order for us to grow, there is a level of shedding that needs to happen, and shedding happens with vulnerability. I find that I'm in place where I no longer fight the tears and no longer tell myself to be strong. I feel. And it's overwhelming and messy and painful, to the point of feeling like my insides are literally aching. It's no easy thing and even when I want to revert back to being superwoman, I just realize I can't.
Now, I have a super long way to go, and it doesn't happen across the board (for now), but I'm proud of my process. I remember getting angry when I met people who had a parent that died, especially a father. Recently, I've begun to immediately tear when I hear their story. I remember feeling insecure when I wanted to tell people that I missed them out of fear of "feening" or "looking dumb". Recently, I've allowed myself to reach out, if only for 30 seconds to let them know. I remember saying I'm fine when I really wasn't. Recently, I've begun to say, actually I'm not, I'm somewhat overwhelmed but I believe I can get through it in time. I'm changing. And it's scary and weird but necessary. I see myself being the better for it. It's a lifelong journey and I'm okay with that. One day at a time, one step in that day. This is not the end.
To be continued,