Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous ~ Brene Brown
A few days ago I lost my proverbial, and actual, shit. I ran the gamut of sad, to profoundly hurt, to despair, to anger and back again. I yelled, I insisted that my voice be heard and I ugly cried; sobbing, into my cell phone, while walking down the street, into my apartment building, into the elevator and finally, the comfort and privacy of my own apartment. I did not let the person on the other end of the line get a word in edgewise and, truth be told, I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. It didn’t matter. I needed to stand in my truth; the messy, ugly, insecure, anxiety-ridden and yet beautifully vulnerable and authentic, truth. And stand there I did. I let it all out, in between tirades of anger and sobs of pure despair. I completely lost my shit.
Earlier that day, I sat with my wise and enlightened girlfriend, my soul sister if you will, and told her how I was feeling. I told her how I was really feeling about events that were unfolding in my life. I laid bare all of my sadness, hurt, insecurity, anxiety and despair surrounding a situation that was playing out. I explained that events were unfolding and decisions were being made by someone in my life, and that one decision, in particular, had the potential to affect everything. I told her that I wasn’t sure I could ever come back from it, should the decision go a certain way. When she asked if the other person knew this, I responded that they did, kind of. I had expressed how I felt to a certain extent, but had downplayed it and certainly not expressed the fact that I was feeling profoundly wounded, or that I did not believe I would be able to ever get over that hurt. In an effort, to not affect the outcome, to have the other person make their own decision and to remain in the role of the ‘cool chick’, I had not put it all out there. Of course, in hindsight, this person was making a decision without all of the information, as I was not being completely forthright. I didn’t want to risk not being the cool chick. I was afraid of the perception of my true feelings and the effect that they would have. My friend’s response was simple, “Fuck the cool chicks. Fuck ALL the cool chicks. They are failing themselves and failing every other woman while they’re at it.”
Right there I made a decision to stand in my truth and to stand my ground. What did I have to lose? Nothing. Did I affect the outcome? Definitely. Did I expose myself in a raw and vulnerable way? Absolutely. Was I a cool chick? No, but fuck the cool chicks.
You have to be willing to fall down, get up, look stupid, cry, laugh, make a mess, clean it up and not stop until you get there. No matter what. ~ Jen Sincero
I considered the reasons why I have suppressed my true feelings in other situations. It has been because I don’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable, or in an attempt to control others’ perceptions of me, or in an effort to present myself as someone I’m not, the “cool chick”, so I will be better received or well liked. It’s embarrassing, raw, and vulnerable to reveal my true feelings about something, especially when those feelings are wrought with anxieties, worries, fear, insecurities, anger, and all those “bad” words. But those feelings are what makes us human.
I have also avoided speaking my truth so as not to influence someone in their decisions. As in this case, in part. I have falsely believed in being passive, a peacekeeper, in not rocking the boat. And also to be passive aggressive in expressing my true feelings on a matter in hopes that the other person just innately “gets it” or figures it out on their own. Then being hurt, upset or angry when that person didn’t figure it out, because the Magic 8 Ball didn’t actually read my mind and inform them of the information. Is it fair to expect an informed decision without all of the information? If someone I cared about told me that my actions were painful for them, I would alter my course of action, or at least have a discussion about it. Without a doubt.
I’m not proud of the way I presented my truth. There was room for a more mindful approach and grace. There was no need to yell. There was no space for not allowing the other to express their truth, that was disrespectful. I was present and I was brave, but I failed on the kindness. And that’s hard to swallow.
Revealing myself in the purest, most stripped down, form of who I am, complete with insecurities, contradictions, unreasonableness, passion, silliness, fierceness, faithfulness and unending commitment to love, means removing my armour. It means really, truly, putting myself out there and standing behind that, with no ability to backtrack or option to hide. I said I had nothing to lose in my revealing my true self, I was already unravelling and the other option was to face a decision that I knew, in my heart, I could never get over. Part of me wanted to say that I had everything to lose, and likely that is partially true. I could lose my sense of security, or my “coolness factor”, or I could end up with a broken heart. For me, being truly brave, is stripping away those false pretenses, the desire to be “cool” and unaffected, to be vulnerable and risk it all. The alternative is to live with the knowledge that I didn’t put myself out there, that outcomes could have been different and that in essence, I devalued myself and my feelings by pretending they didn’t exist. For me, there is no greater joy than to stand in my truth, in the glorious mess that I am, and have another look at me with love, respect, admiration, and true acceptance. I’m perfectly imperfect and I’m awesome.
It’s just as easy to believe we’re awesome as it is to believe we’re giant sucking things ~ Jen Sincero