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?

Thank you Mr. Lewis

Some hate him. Some worry about what he’s written and wonder about the man’s sanity. Some say he couldn’t possibly be a Christian due to what he appeared to believe on several topics. And others love him. He had that uncanny skill of putting into words with clarity some of the deepest language of the heart, melding logic and mind, heart and emotions into something that made sense.

Lewis comforts my heart. He makes me smile and say “Yes, That is what I wished to say but had no words” He captures a beauty and elegance of the language he loved while being precise and cutting to the very core of a subject.

I am sitting on the balcony of our hotel viewing a FL Beach this AM. I watched the sun come up. Been a long time since I watched a sunrise. This proverbial night owl traditionally would far rather watch the sun set than rise. I decided to drag myself out of bed this AM (I bribed myself with two cups of coffe. Yes, I bribe myself and yes, it works. Don’t judge me)  and it was very worth it. The beauty in the sound and motion of the waves combined with the delicate and then boldly brilliant light of the sun made for a morning that fed my soul. And made me think of Lewis. Since my efforts at putting some of the thoughts and concepts that ran through my head would fall woefully short I am instead going to dedicate this post to Lewis and fill it with some quotes of his that capture some concept, feeling, thought or idea that rings true within me.

Thank you Mr. Lewis for saying what I cannot.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

“This moment contains all moments.”
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained”

“The very man who has argued you down, will sometimes be found, years later, to have been influenced by what you said”

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again”

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

Hope you have a wonderful day. Take moments to enjoy something beautiful. Slow down enough to take a deep breath and smile. Enjoy a simple pleasure even if it is something so small and utterly precious as the spontaneous hug from your child or something as simple as watching a colorful leaf twirl to the ground. Call it your mini vacation within the moments of an otherwise hectic, stressful, sad, busy or blah life. And if you are one of fortunate of the moment like me luxuriate in a day filled with beauty, laughter, joy and relaxation.