Monday, April 1, 2013

"Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage"

I love Brene Brown. I was listening to a Ted Radio Hour (NPR) about "Making Mistakes" and Brene came on. It reminded me of something that started me down the road where I'm talking to the internet about my crazy relationship with my body. This reminder is important because I've been noticing myself restricting again: having liquid meals, not eating enough, and having to watch myself really closely so I don't dive back into other symptoms.
It's when I start thinking of myself as being invulnerable that these things come back up. But when I do allow myself to be vulnerable with people who can support me in that, that I feel like it's okay to be me; to be the flawed, overly-attached, extremely emotional*, slightly mad human being without being ashamed of my body, my actions, my soul, or any of it.
I feel the safest when I'm with people who can be vulnerable with me. These people are my peers. I respect and love them, and if I pull myself away from them I lose everything. So when I take a brave step and ask a question that's been on my mind, one that risks a lot, and my query is met by a comforting hand I feel safe. And it's a kind of safety that hasn't really existed very much in my life because I was taught never to let them see you sweat; just go along and get along, if things are meant to be they will be; don't make waves; don't let anyone know that you are emotionally attached to them because they'll use it against you.
Society is really fucked up like that. We, as a culture, do use it against others when they become attached. Attachment is weakness. I don't know how long this idea has been popular, but the people who practice this are not strong. They're not put together. If you think you can do it all by yourself you're doomed, and I know this because I've been reliving that doom cycle and I've climbed up out of it to the realization that you have to be vulnerable if you want anything out of life.
I keep thinking back to my director talking to me about Jesus. She seemed so invulnerable there. So tough. So certain. And I know this had the opposite effect on me of what was intended. I already know that invulnerability, or thinking that you can do anything because of some magic thing you've got doesn't work. It's never worked. All that is is pride, and pride is just a slip-cover for shame. I think back on this experience and realize I don't want to be like that. I never want to be so sure of myself that I can tell someone else what to believe. I never want to be so certain that everything is exactly one way because that takes the mystery out of life**.
I want to be vulnerable with the people who can handle it, and graceful with those who can't. I have always been raw and emotional. I have always needed other people in my life who can be where I am. And this is a deep, primal need on the level with food; when I deny myself that vulnerability and openness, I start to deny myself other necessities as well. And then my hair starts coming out in clumps, and I spiral into a place where there is no safety and no joy.
There is a difference between preaching to someone, and sharing an honest, vulnerable moment with them. I always get more inspiration, comfort, and motivation from those who share their scars with me. I'm not interested in your certainty now, I'm interested in your uncertainty then. You can connect with someone emotionally this way, rather than bludgeoning them with what you know to be true now. This is a lot of why I share all this stuff with you, because I know that there are people out there who feel this way too, but don't think it's okay to share it or think they can do it on their own.
You can't. I don't mean that as in it's not possible, or you don't have the strength or whatever. You do have the strength to deal with shit on your own, everyone does. But when you discover this amazing thing called vulnerability, and ask for help and forge a connection to other people who believe in your shared goal as much as you do, well... you stop wanting to do it on your own. It stops being possible because so many people have surrounded you to make it happen. You have partners in whatever goal you're trying to reach, and that's much more fulfilling and world-changing than doing it by yourself. Even if it feels unsafe to ask for help. 
All that comes from vulnerability. From bearing your heart one question at a time, and seeing the vision come to life through other people reaching back. Sometimes those people do say "stop, you can't go this way, it's not right for you", but you keep that growth even if you lose the connection to that person. Most of the time though, it's people reaching back with love and support.
I want to live that way. I would rather have that life than be skinny.
*And my emotions have fucking weird side-effects.
**And with it, g-d.

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