“To be human is to be excruciatingly vulnerable.”~ unknown
Excruciatingly vulnerable. Interesting choice of words to put something that is recognized to most as pain and place it next to something that should give us freedom. As a human though where we see and do judge too often, being vulnerable doesn’t always bring freedom, it very often brings pain, sadness, fears.
My ex loved that I was open with who I was and how I felt. I became very vulnerable with him because he made me feel safe in that place. Then when he needed to feel powerful over me, or make me feel small, he used those vulnerabilities against me. He would spit back words in a way that made me feel diminished, less than and no longer loved. He didn’t embrace my edges and my fears, he slowly used them to the point that I was on eggshells daily, never knowing which man would walk through the door; the man who loved my honesty or the man who used my fears.
The entire experience with him made me wonder if I could ever be vulnerable again. Could I ever open my heart up enough for someone to look inside and embrace who I was at my core? And at my core can be a bit scary. I’m a mix of love and sass, throw in some fear and honesty with a fear of not being liked. Holy moly my core can be a scary spot, it can also be a beautiful, creative, fun-loving, caring, joyful and grateful place.
It took almost 5 years for me to finally begin to allow my true self show up in a friendship with a man. It was a man who I had a connection with like no other and began to feel safe to be vulnerable. He made me feel so good about my core, the real me, the one I had hidden from most after being told I wasn’t good enough. Now I was told that in numerous ways through my marriage, from some friends afterwards and some family. Nobody actually said “You are not good enough.” I heard it other comments, in comments made to me supposedly about others, I heard it in actions. I felt not good enough and he made me feel like I was great, not just good. He loved how my mind worked even when it worked in it’s twisted way. He loved my sarcasm, even telling me once that he loved everything that came out of my mouth. Through this time we became best of friends and I felt free. Free from judgement, at least then.
I don’t feel that now, that man and I barely speak for various reasons that I hope to understand some day. However the relationship and friendship helped me to open up again, to be vulnerable again. As I sit here today I think about that. Can we truly love someone at their worst? Can we allow people to be open with themselves without judging? Can we be compassionate and embrace people from a place of love so that they feel fearless and allow themselves to be vulnerable? It is a great gift, but how many of us give it freely?
I may no longer speak with the man who allowed me to be vulnerable, and I hope at some point I do again, he gave me a beautiful gift. He embraced my quirks, and allowed me to be open about my biggest fears, my moments of ugliness and my greatest triumphs and joys and never used them against me. He allowed me to see that I could be that vulnerable and be loved.
I can now embrace my vulnerability, and that is a step to true authenticity.