Step One: Coming to Terms with Inevitable Vulnerability

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. – Brené Brown

Starting is the hardest part. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. And, truthfully, it’s been true in my experience. I have been sitting in front of my opened computer (getting up and down to do various things that have been required of me), moving the mouse occasionally because the screen shuts off due to inactivity. (Starting is the hardest part.)

I read once that writer’s block isn’t because someone doesn’t have something to say, but rather, it’s that someone has too much to say. Too much to sift through. It’s too much to narrow down. And when I read it, I realized how much I completely agree. I’ve got things flying at me left and right. My life. It’s an interesting game. For many years I’ve avoided writing about it because it takes a deep vulnerability to be able to articulate all that continues on a consistent basis without the nagging fear of what will happen if I discuss it. (My mother’s words echo, Say it, forget it. Write it, regret it.)

I’ve always been a writer; as a little girl I’d sit with an opened diary and document all of my thoughts about my life and circumstances. I wrote all throughout adulthood, but when I became pregnant with the twins my writing slowed quite a bit. Partially because I was overextended, partially because all I could think about was the maxim, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” (My pregnancy with the twins was an instigator of great humility for me. I had never experienced so much pain in my life!)

I continued to write, albeit sporadically, as writing is a therapeutic tool for me. It helps me to sort what needs sorting and process my emotions about my circumstances in a healthy way. Writing nearly altogether stopped when I was going through the divorce with the twins’ dad. It was an agonizing ordeal that literally changed the way my brain processed every single circumstance for years and years and years. I was attacked on so many levels due to the aggressive nature of its proceedings; it was confusing to me as I’d never experienced so much deliberate persecution. I had to hide everything I did or said or wanted to do because I was under such severe scrutiny and most all of anything about me was twisted. Day in and day out I walked on egg shells. I felt that I was strapped in a straight-jacket full of dynamite that could go off if I even breathed incorrectly. It was traumatic for me. That experience made me unwilling to be vulnerable. Because, at the time, vulnerability meant certain death. (Not physical death, per se; but that there would be some loss in some regard if for some reason I said just the smallest thing that could be twisted.)

Each time I tried to venture out into vulnerability, I’d get bitten, so I stayed quiet for many, many years in terms of what was going on in my life and what was going on regarding the emotional processing of my circumstances save for presumed pithy anecdotes and mundane complaints via Facebook status updates, my safe and preferred mainstay.  (By the way, I’d get bitten due to a lot of growth that I needed to do; I was not processing all of my experiences in a healthy way because I literally did not know what was healthy, though I didn’t realize it at the time.  I just didn’t see what needed to be seen.  I used the tools that I had available to me, which wasn’t much to speak of, even if I felt — at the time — I had been properly equipped.  Life is generous enough to offer us the opportunities that we need in order to develop and grow, no matter how difficult those experiences might be for us at the time.)

So now I’m here, faced with this Large Task called My Dream which requires…. Vulnerability.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ― Brené Brown

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