Monday, January 07, 2013

Vulnerability



I'm not sure exactly when it happened, or how it happened.  I just know that it happened.  There was a period in my life (the "ex-gay" days, actually) where I was profoundly aware of the need to be not only open about the goings-on of my inner world, but vulnerable about it to boot.

 Slowly, over the last 4 years, I've reverted back to the self-contained version of myself.  I think it's no good.  It's probably got something to do with this incessant pressure to be successful: successful in my career, successful in my behavior and emotional management, successful in every sense of the word as it relates to my public image.  I decided to embrace my sexuality and marry the man I love, so now I must prove to the world (but particularly my previous church friends and ex-gay companions) that I am in a perfect relationship and am fully whole. False! I'm not and I'm not.  Maybe it's also got to do with how simply excruciating it is to be vulnerable to people - even when you know it's the secret to meaningful relationships.


Regardless the reason, I've had this pestering little voice in the back of my head for some time which scolds me a little bit when I somehow manage to get off of the phone with my dearest friends from whom I've managed to extract their deep emotional struggles, but have failed to divulge in kind. I am extremely adept at it.  My good friends (P and S in particular) soemtimes manage to call me out on it.  Not forcefully, just a simple acknowledgment that they felt like I hadn't shared much, and then I promise I'll do so in our next interaction, but I rarely ever do.

I think it's time to change that. I think I just need to be a bit more honest about myself and my struggles.  For example, my last post (over 4 months ago) was a start in the right direction.  I mentioned how I have been struggling to conjure a sense of meaning and purpose in my life.  That struggle continues - perhaps more so than before.  I am riddled with self-doubt and outright deprecation sometimes: "What makes you think you could possibly get into a grad school like UMCP?", "Why can't you get to the gym a little more, fatty?", "Why can't you manage to care about anything you're doing?", and on and on the little tape player goes.  I need to tell the world about these thoughts.  I need to get them out of my own head and into the hands of friends and family I know can help me gracefully speak sense and truth to them.

In between my leisurely obsession with reading the Game of Thrones series (currently on book 3: A Storm of Swords), I've also picked up Brene Brown's Daring Greatly, a great little book that builds on her TED talk about the power of vulnerability. The TED talk is wonderful, and so far, so is the book.  I highly recommend them, though there is no small amount of pain to discovering how incredibly crappy I've become at vulnerability. Here's to growing...



4 comments:

Jeff S. said...

I hear ya. I was thinking about my own vulnerability this past weekend, at church on Sunday in particular, and I relaized that presently I have no one locally to confide in except for my wife. Online friends, yes, but no one even at church unless I felt I was really in a crisis. I need church especially to be more than that.

Pomoprophet said...

I think about the video you just posted: "The Last Mile" by Noah St. John and how beautiful his story was of the messy relationship his parents have. It's sad we think we have to pretend everything is perfect to find beauty. May you, like Noah, find beauty in the messyness!

Heath Fields said...

I love you.

Stan Edward said...

I *love* that TED Talk! Didn't know about the book... will have to check it out.