unmarried. a blog
"Tell the truth about what it's like to be human."
- Cheryl Strayed
There is something that will never change for me despite any best effort and that's the shower of "vulnerability panic" after being brave.
I have this habit of acting in the name of bravery, enjoying the process and the high that being brave affords, only to then wallow in the vulnerability that ensues.
For me, bravery looks like publishing a piece of writing. Or stepping onto a stage or into a bookstore and doing a public reading. Or getting up in front of high school students (in all of their judging glory) and deliver content they know nothing about.
Bravery could also be announcing life events on social media.
I love doing all of these things and will never stop.
But I need a better handle on the vulnerability beast.
Once the piece goes live (as they say in publishing), once the reading is over, once the lesson is delivered, the act of bravery morphs into vulnerability.
Vulnerability has many faces.
It's so easy and cool and incredibly convincing to say that I don't care what other people think. But that's not my reality.
I do care.
Just recently the news of my current relationship "went live."
Many people gushed/are still gushing along with me; so many supportive and loving. And there were a select few who reached out to express "a bit quick?" or "are you sure?"
At first vulnerability began rearing its ugly head: racing thoughts, galloping heart, sweaty palms.
My initial (and very instinctual) reaction was to ponder their inquiries. Until the maturity of being 44 kicked in.
A beautiful friend of mine named Denise died a few years back after a rapid cancer diagnosis; would she'd have thought my happiness were too quick?
And to recollect the conversation I had with Alanis back in 2014 about criticism and bare-naked exposure, she replied:
Dawn, many people will love you, many people will hate you, and many people will be indifferent. It's what you're willing to give and receive that's your business.
Yes. That's my business.
And so, after stepping off the stage of announcing the next new phase in my life, I've come to take the approach that I'm going to enjoy what is happening right now. In this moment. And I'm going to share it. And, if it doesn't work out for whatever reason, I'll share that too. Because failures are also part of being brave and vulnerable...
If we don't start living life now, then when?