Vulnerability: Why it’s a big deal to Me

This blog is usually all about the latest foodie creation, natural remedy, nutritional discovery or about parenting related topics.

Tonight it’s about me.

31 Year Old Me

31 Year Old Me

31 one year old me.

WifeMom. Homeschooling Parent. Business Owner. Nutritionist. Doula. Wanna-be-photographer. Wanna-be-author. Wanna-be-midwife. Foodie. Researcher. Reader. Wanna-be-Cafe-Owner. Easily bored. Easily Distracted. Wanna-be-Herbalist. Coffee snob. Mama to angel-babies.

These are all true things about me, yet, they really don’t tell you much about me at all.

Vulnerability is tough for me. For most of my life vulnerability meant weakness. Weakness meant someone could hurt and exploit you. Therefore it was worth me bending over backwards, jumping through hoops and avoiding and obfuscating to be anything BUT vulnerable. Vulnerability means I allow something, anything be known that someone could judge you for. And by judge, I mean say judgmental things, pronouncements of negativity over the why and where and how of who and what one is. At some point, in the past couple of years there was a series of moments came together to equal an epiphany of sorts for me.

Judgmental people judge. Mean people say mean things. Opinionated people will tell you their opinions, sometimes loudly and carelessly and in a hurtful manner. And somebody somewhere will have issues with who and what you are no matter how real or fabricated their perception of you is. This should go without saying but for me it was a total ah-hah moment that led to the following realizations.

I cannot prevent people from disliking me. Getting angry with me. I cannot protect people from who they are or who I am. 

Through the years most of us start to figure out who is safe to tell what. Who can be trusted with the real stuff. The nuts and bolts things. All the various quirks, foibles, fears and loves that powerfully drive, define and motivate who we are. I’ve been extraordinarily blessed with dear friends all through my life who have come along beside me and been a safe place for me to share parts of who I am. No judgment zone friends have been an incredibly healing experience for me. They may laugh and look aghast as I delightedly blabber about placenta encapsulation but they understand and love me despite the fact that I randomly find miscellaneous mostly gross and health related things fascinating and share worthy.

And a few, I can contact crying. When I’m at my darkest. When life has me at a new, all time low.

When that pregnancy test is positive and the feeling of doom instantly settles on my shoulders, anticipating the game of wondering if this baby will survive the dangerous obstacle course that constitutes being grown in my body.

When it’s one of those times in a marriage when I’m not sure we will come out on the other side stronger. When I don’t know if there will even be another side to come out on.

When the mirror reflects back my puffy, exhausted face and dark circled eyes and my clothes tell me that my body is in stockpile/auto immune crisis mode again.

When I can’t get off the couch due to yet another health issue or pregnancy or post partum that has rendered me literally incapacitated past the pull yerself up by the bootstraps will power I used to be known for.

When I’m so stressed with business, life, kids and personal challenges I want to crawl into a deep hole and never come back out.

Sometimes it isn’t just listening. It’s the jumping in the car to come help. The dropping off a meal. The praying for me and sending me messages of encouragement. The showing up and herding children outside to play. The every day, ordinary extraordinary things real people do to help others out and make the world a better place.

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Yet despite the love and even more than love, acceptance I’ve been so beyond blessed to receive…

I still second guess leaving the house looking like a slob and wonder who will think mean things about me with my unwashed hair pulled back above my makeup-less face, wrinkled two day old clothes and slip on-shoes.

I still won’t invite people over way too often because the house is a wreck. No, I mean it. A WRECK. I live with a human wrecking ball in the form of a giant, furniture moving toddler and I hate cleaning house. It’s a terrible combination.

I don’t like anybody to know how much of my parenting life is spent saying “Not now…” “Later after I get xyz done…”Mama doesn’t have time…” 

I don’t like talking about the times when the kitchen projects don’t get done and there is store-bought Kombucha in the fridge instead of homemade or ::gasp:: No Kombucha or anything else trademarked healthy or crunchy at all.

And I definitely don’t like talking about the times when supper isn’t made, there isn’t much to eat in the house and my man goes out and brings food home. Fake food. Fast food. Sometimes fried food replete with trans fats and MSG seasonings. It doesn’t happen often but every time it does a little part of me cringes and wants to hide every time it does.

But all that self consciousness, fear and hiding isn’t vulnerable.

Not even a little bit. 

I’m afraid of talking about those things. Of showing my inner slob. My poor household organizational skills. Or having a rip roaring conversation in which my opinions and beliefs about doctrine or any other potentially deep and divisive subject comes up. Because, along with the amazing friends and family who have shown me unconditional love through the years there have been those who cut me off. Sometimes with explanation. Sometimes without. Those who have stabbed me in the back. Spread reputation ruining lies about me and those I love. Taken a small truth and turned it into a large and harmful gossip point of deception. Friendships and family relationships have been destroyed. Gone up in flames. And it’s hurt. A lot. The after effects of these various life pain points are still evident in my every day life even though most of the main events happened years ago.

But despite the fear, uncertainty and risk, I’ve come to respect vulnerability a great deal. Some quotes from one of my favorite ladies will define why I view vulnerability as being terribly, powerfully crucial to my life and why it has gone from being something that probably should be cultivated to an actively defined priority in my day in and day out life.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
― Brené BrownDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

“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

“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.”
― Brené BrownDaring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

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I don’t really fully grasp what vulnerability is supposed to look like in a fully implemented sort of way in every day life. Hoping to learn by doing over the next few weeks and months.

How do you feel about vulnerability?

3 thoughts on “Vulnerability: Why it’s a big deal to Me

  1. I’m right there with you, Steph. It took me years to learn how to ask for help, and I’m still learning how to not fall apart into an emotional mess (at home, privately, of course) when my requests are rejected. Or worse yet, I am rejected. It hurts to be vulnerable, whether rejected or accepted, but it is truth and I value truth and honesty a lot.
    I appreciate you sharing so much of your life with us. Hugs ❤

  2. I didn’t know you had a blog. Oh it’s so neat to “see” you as the Momma of three! I remember you coming to dinner when you just found out you were pregnant with Noelle. Learning to be ME has been my biggest battle. I’m getting there. People judge. I try not to. Getting there with that too.

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