Thursday, November 03, 2005


31 October 2005

Vulnerability. Weakness. Embarrassment. Abandonment, like there is nothing holding me up. Out of control; incapable of deciding what happens to me because someone or something else decides. Naked. Defenseless against physical or emotional abuse. Handing my heart to someone on a silver platter. Anxiety; nervousness; awkward sense of freedom. Hate it. Avoid it at all cost. Necessary. Handing over my feelings and asking someone to stomp all over them. Choking, heart constantly in my throat. Forever going over the edge of a big drop on a roller coaster without the knowledge that the track is below to catch me. Forever waiting for the ball to drop, so I can see that all my fears are justified. Thrilling when reciprocated. Really feeling something and achieving true intimacy. Transparent. Clamming up. Seclusion. Cold, shivers. Small. Regretful. Sick. Like my insides are so twisted I can’t breathe and I feel like my body isn’t big enough to contain the explosion impending within. Hollow. Paralyzed. Lonely. Empty. Exposed. Agonizing and exhilarating. We have all been there.

This is what I have been trying to avoid. But is it really something I can avoid? Perhaps, but at the expense of growth, honesty and peace of mind. I could easily convince myself that it isn’t worth the pain and agony of vulnerability and walk away right now never knowing what the outcome might be if I submit to the discomfort of exposing my soul and thoughts in a spotlight of potential rejection. But I don’t know what the outcome will be. It could be rejection, but it could also be quite the opposite. I always tend to prepare for the worst, so it hurts less. But after evaluating the situation, it seems that the dilemma is this: say nothing which means I am not being true to myself or say something and put an end to the uncertainty.

Uncertainty. It plagues me like a disease incapacitating me to near disappearance. I turn and run from it, desperate for an escape from its selfish and painful grasp but seem to get nowhere while the feeling only intensifies. I try to remember how I got here, how I could have allowed it to happen, how there could have been a faulty crack in the mortar protection. The battle forges on between curiosity, logic and desire each suffering triumphs and losses… each confident in their individual powers of persuasion and ability to stand triumphant as the winner of the war. I keep thinking that if I ignore it, it will go away. But it will never go away. It will continue to grab at my heart, my stomach and my throat until I satiate its hunger for validation, confirmation, resolve. Desire and curiosity talk me into opening my mouth and saying what I want to say while logic talks me out of it. And just when I have been convinced for the last time that I need to silence my thoughts, desires and curiosity, I am painfully aware that by so doing I rob someone of the opportunity to hear what I have to say, to know what I think, to make the choice. Because by saying nothing, I have inevitably made the choice for them. And so the battle continues.

Vulnerability is that platform from which we jump into a realm of greater understanding of ourselves and what our hearts are capable of, deeper feeling, and more intimate personal relationships. Without it, we cultivate nothing but superficial relationships built on distrust and incomplete representations of ourselves and who we truly are. But do we not all avoid these moments of vulnerability? It is common for us to judge every situation and to shy away from exposing ourselves to others when we have no way to duck for cover. It’s like standing naked in the middle of a room where all eyes are on you… only they are not eyes that you can see but rather feel on your skin. And it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, your stomach churn and your heart jump into your throat making it difficult for you to breathe or gain control of the situation because you have no control. With so many things out of our control, the ability to control who sees our most intimate thoughts and our naked soul is sacred. And most of us would do almost anything to protect that. But shielding those things from the world is stifling our ability to live.

I can remember a few very distinct times when I have allowed myself to be vulnerable. It happened because the agony of the uncertainty was worse than exposing myself momentarily. That anxiety, fear and feeling of having nothing to hold onto was worth being able to feel peace and in turn, I allowed someone else the chance to hear something that inevitably changed their world forever. Did I enjoy that moment of feeling like I was on the verge of a coronary? No, but at the same time it was invigorating to verbalize something that had been stewing inside for such a long time that it had practically consumed me. At the end of the day, I have to be true to myself and to my heart. No matter how persuasive my logic may be, my heart will always know if I have been true. And every time I supress it, I jeopardize my ability to feel. I extinguish experiences before I allow them to occur, and I am worse off than I would have been if I had allowed myself to stand alone with my heart in my hands not knowing whether it would come back to me in one piece or a million little pieces. Every time I submit to vulnerability, I am a stronger, more aware and confident version of myself. I learn how deeply I can feel and how much it will really take to break my spirit. Even the most confident person struggles with vulnerability. It’s the most natural way to evaluate our capacity to love and share. And yet we fight it as though succumbing would be the cause of sure death and destruction.

To know love, admiration and passion is to know vulnerability. Those things are at the very core of who we are. They touch a part of our souls that we prefer to keep hidden and locked behind some impossible fortress. Vulnerability makes us transparent. For a brief moment, we are not trying to hide what makes us so beautifully human. Relationships are the epitome of vulnerability because they would never start without one or both people succumbing to some vulnerability and they would never thrive if both people did not allow themselves to be completely open, honest and exposed. Likewise, we would never truly know how we feel if we didn’t embrace our own vulnerability.

So once again I find myself facing the fear of standing figuratively naked, my thoughts exposed to interpretation, my heart on the altar of someone else’s control. It could go wrong and the outcome could very well tear the foundation from underneath my feet and my heart could be shattered into a million pieces. But I know that my heart is resilient. It will mend and increase in its capacity. It could go right and I could experience the kind of intense happiness that only the expression of love and admiration can bring. Either way, I walk away knowing that I was true to myself and my heart.

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