Friday, February 12, 2016

Chronicle 61: Vulnerability

What is sooo great about being vulnerable? Why would anyone want to be so transparent? Or seen as an open book? Or worst of all, honest with themselves about the state of their affairs? Doesn't anyone have an agenda anymore? Don't you people know how many years it took to build these walls?

I have labored and toiled, brick after brick, applying mortar thicker than the bean soup that's been in my fridge for a few weeks. Blood, sweat, and tears, y'all (It must be important to me, because I don't like any of those things). To my credit, I did build a few doors, and maybe even a window. Those doors have been kicked in and those windows smashed, so they are few and far between. I constantly ask myself, "Is this fear or protection?" It's the gun control argument of my soul. Or perhaps a precursor to the zombie apocalypse. Just sayin'.

Happy-go-lucky left my vocabulary in middle school, when I was ridiculed for inheriting the worst possible trait, like, EVER: liking to read. Or my hobbies: Reading under my desk during school, reading on the playground, and reading on the bus. 
That's also when trust took a hike. As an 11 year old girl I learned that who I was didn't hold value in other people's eyes. Letting myself be who I was didn't make me any friends. Without knowing it, I steeled myself and thus began an anti-vulnerability campaign that rivals Kim Jong Un's.

I made it through high school with a few close friends, but also lost several along the way. I didn't allow myself to grow close to them. I listened to them, their earnest hopes and honest fears laid out before me like a buffet. I gave solid advice that I would never apply in my own life, because I knew it would break down my walls. I was the one that left before I was left. There's not one ounce of pride in my body for those actions. The lesson I learned was: this is working. You have control over who hurts you, and who doesn't.
The friends I chose understood me, had even been through similar life situations and didn't feel the need to hash everything out all the time. These people have always been there for me and only recently, after 20 years, am I allowing myself to be vulnerable with them.

What changed for me?

I suppose it was equal parts getting older, finding a spouse, having children, and getting tired of isolating myself. The sad part is you really get what you want behind those walls: solitude, and literally no one to blame but yourself (technically, part of my wall building was motivated by Sensory Processing Disorder - which I know now).
While this is a habit that is incredibly hard to break, I'm working on it every day. I started with my family, and the friends I've made since we moved. They see the real me and all of my earnest hopes and honest fears and crazy dreams. All my melodrama and heartbreak and joy. The ugly parts that I thought would push people away... In reality, it brought us closer. It's the human connection and I'm so glad I let it in. 

The Hot Mama 

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