Vulnerability is a tremendous stick of dynamite. It can dismantle social barriers and personal defenses instantly when used correctly, but I feel it’s underestimated. Often, vulnerability seems like less a social tool and more like an obstacle to avoid, a bomb to be disarmed instead of utilized. It can be scary to open up, but it can also be immensely rewarding.
Once you see a person’s struggles, what consumes them and keeps them trembling… well, that’s when they become real. They go from another actor walking the streets to a part of the human family.
Obviously, everyone goes through turmoil. There’s maybe 13 people in the world going through perfect lives right now. That’s a completely unfounded estimate, but the number is definitely low. For the rest of us, we get twisted by our unruly minds. Whether it be the loss of a loved one, having our hopes dashed, or those moments when we doubt every inch of our being, we all have suffered.
And the very silly thing is that many of us never share an ounce of any of this. We keep it locked deep beneath the floorboards.
It seems to me that a key piece in the pursuit of happiness is finding someone who understands you; to have someone who can see you laid bare, as nakedly unprotected as the day you were born, and still care for you. Vulnerability is the key to unlocking the possibility of that.
When I see tears well in the corner of a friend’s eyes, that’s real. When I feel my throat swell with emotion, that’s real. You can feel it, and though it’s tough to face reality, tough to face actual emotion, does it not feel good? Is it not freeing?
To me, it’s a pinch, a snap into reality.
Life can be brutal sometimes. But there’s no greater relief than the moment when you’re holding up the titanic, barely keeping it from crushing you, then feeling the load lighten and looking into the eyes of the friend helping you lift.
The honesty that vulnerability demands cuts right through all the bullshit. The atmospheric shock of tears brings everyone onto an instinctual level of care. We can all put up barriers to protect our feeble cores, but they’re pure bullshit, constructed by an assumption that those barriers will keep us alive. The opposite is the more accurate story. The barriers we establish to keep people from seeing our shriveled, weak selves only keep us weak when reality, whether we want it to or not, hits.
I don’t believe the puffed chests, the egos that strenuously keep their heads up. Everyone has problems. They take various forms, someone’s problems can even be someone else’s desires, but everyone struggles. (please comment if my generalizations are getting out of hand)
I’m guilty of the same façade that I’ve criticized over the past couple paragraphs. So, I’ll try to dispel it now for the sake of vulnerability, for the sake of reality.
I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. At points, I feel I’ve come to an understanding about life, how to navigate the waters and swim happily along. But then I’m slapped back into reality. My heart sinks and my mind gets tangled trying to figure out where the hell I went wrong. What are the reasons that at times I’m so utterly helpless in the wake of the ocean. This is all about my connections with people. I don’t know why I doubt myself, because I don’t think I need to, but I stumble over my own happiness trying to figure out how to be there for others and how to get others to be there for me.
This is all in reference to my connections with people. I don’t know why I doubt myself, because I don’t think I need to, but I stumble over my own happiness trying to figure out how to be there for others and how to get others to be there for me.
And I’m sure others have the same problem. And I’m sure others have so many other, different problems. So why don’t we help each other? Why don’t we open up and show to each other that we are all just small specks of crying dust on an odd rock, floating through the universe? We’re all part of the same beautiful family, with all the necessary tools to support one another. We just need to take off our masks and say “I’m tired, and would really love a friend.”
Because I’m tired, and would really love a friend. And I’d love to help some other people out too.