What does vulnerability look like? What would I even want to be vulnerable? How can I break through the bullshit and fake vulnerability into something real?
I feel like I always quote Brené Brown when talking about emotions, vulnerability, shame, etc. And why the hell not? She’s the best when it comes to this stuff, and her books were kind of an entryway for me into this realm of self-help and personal development. My adoration of her work has only deepened as I’ve gone along further in my own journey of healing my soul. Here is what she says:
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
True belonging. That is something I have craved ever since I’ve known I had desires. While I have a handful of half-siblings, I was never close with them. I spent a lot of time alone as a child. While on one hand my childhood was enviable because I was able to spend a lot of time with my parents and travel around the country visiting fancy places, I was extremely lonely. My time was spent with adults, not my peers.
All I wanted was a group of friends that I could have a deep and lasting connection with. Perhaps this is why I was so broken hearted when leaving places like summer camp. While other kids were excited to head home because they were homesick, I wished having pillow fights and spending time with kids my own age would be every day.
This lack of interaction with my peer group left me incapable of knowing how to truly connect with them. I only knew how to connect with adults. To this day, even as an adult, I have a hard time making friends with people who are my own age, even though we are the grown ups now.
Why? Because my primary interactions were with adults, I was not able to truly be myself. A child. I had to be a mini-adult. I had to sit at dinner quietly. I had to go to the places adults went. I had to go golfing and not get mad that it took me 15 strokes to get the ball in the hole. (that’s what she said.) My interactions were never authentic. They were faked. False. Full of absolute shit.
And I learned to play this role so well. I learned to hide my authentic self so much that I eventually was not able to show her to anyone, not even myself.
So now I must re-learn. I must return to that girl, and meet her again, though it feels like the first time.
I’ve had this calling to open up, and to find a way to be as purely vulnerable and authentic as possible. So here is my attempt.
I’m going to have to actually do something that makes me cringe as I type. I’m going to have to go out into the world and try to make friends. Even though I am a total extrovert, this kind of terrifies me! I am absolutely afraid of being rejected.
Because the truth is that I can share just about anything here on a blog or social media, and I don’t know if I am truly being vulnerable or entirely authentic. I can still edit. I can still hit that delete button and change what I will say. Plus, although shame is a huge issue in my life, I also feel no shame about sharing fairly intimate details about my life or feelings.
However, what feels like it will take courage from is to actually go out into the great big world and learn how to be a 31-year-old mom of three. To talk to other moms. To brave their judgements and disapprovals.
Don’t worry. I’ll share how it goes.