Vulnerability

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A friend and I have been having an open conversation on Facebook this morning about vulnerability and its role with the artist. Vulnerability is an important asset when communicating, creating, or acting out a part or role. It allows you to reach an emotional depth that you cannot reach by being too safe or avoiding thinking about uncomfortable things. Vulnerability helps us delve into those areas of self that we might not want to explore, but that help us understand ourselves better. Sometimes exposing those vulnerabilities, and embracing them even is the best form of therapy. 

Somewhere along the lines in our society we have been told that vulnerability is wrong, weak and not something we should project to others. Perhaps it was your parents or your grandparents who told you to never show your weaknesses. Maybe you received that message from society or indirectly from the people in your life. However you received it, you are not alone. I would say the majority of people on this planet do not want to show their vulnerabilities. Often when you look at the most popular bloggers, business leaders, and public figures they like to present themselves as being in control, having it all together and being very confident (sometimes overly so).

But why can’t we admit when things are going wrong in our lives? What is so wrong with that? It is through the honesty of vulnerability that you find the most support and compassion in others. And it is through the honesty and vulnerability of others that you are able to connect and offer your compassion to them. We don’t connect to positivity robots and artificial confidence. We connect with what’s real, that is why we come together so strongly and profoundly through times of hardship and change. Pain has the ability to heal us, and allows us to embrace our vulnerabilities, together as human beings. 

So instead of thinking of something awesome to post as your next Facebook status about how wonderful your life, job, clients, kids etc are… Why not post something honest and vulnerable. Just watch what happens. It will resonate more with your friends than “I am so lucky to have the best life ever”. It is great to express gratitude for your life and be happy (that’s the sweet spot), but dont forget that the vulnerabilities are necessary too. You wouldn’t truly be able to appreciate happiness in your life without knowing the contrast of pain.

Here are some of my honest vulnerabilities:

I have struggled with my weight for the last several years and can never seem to lose more than ten pounds or so. The way I see myself in the mirror is not what others see.

I have horrible self-esteem and often feel like a failure. It prevents me from putting myself out there a lot.

Social situations often make me very uncomfortable and I need to have a drink or two just to be able to talk to people without panicking. 

If I am too happy in my life, I cannot be creative or write. I become blocked. So I need a certain amount of vulnerability and hardship for my creativity to thrive. 

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Shiny Penny

I used to be a shiny penny
Happy go lucky and brighter than any

But then one day my shine went dull…

And when I say dull, I mean that I didn’t even feel like a penny anymore.

I didn’t know what I was, but the closest thing I can think of to describe it would be… nothing.

Yes… I felt like nothing. Not even a penny.

Not even a shitty penny.

Just nothing. I craved to be a penny again, if even a penny LOAFER.

But my worth didn’t come
My feelings went numb
My answer was rum
My outlook was glum

So… I went to my doctor and I told him:

“I don’t feel like a shiny penny anymore”

“Every time I try to raise my worth I hit the floor… My boyfriend just wants things to go back to the way they were before… My mind is like a post-apocalyptic carnival of war… These racing thoughts make me want to put my fist through a door…”

“Doctor… What’s wrong with me?”

And he looked at me sympathetically
(Or at least I thought so anyway)
And said “take these for 2 weeks, and then take these”

As he wrote me a prescription and said “ Don’t stop them though, please.”

And that was that.

My prescription was made. After all, he is a doctor…

He wouldn’t wish my copper to fade… my darkness to invade… or my life to be betrayed.

But why didn’t he tell me that I’d be shaking like a crack head, or that my favourite place would be BED… and that my TOTAL ABILITY TO FEEL ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING would be dead.

You fucking DICK HEAD!

You never cared about me, or helping me get my shine back. You didn’t care that my insides were black … and my emotions just whack.

You just wanted a shiny penny didn’t you?

The whisper in your ear of that new drug debut. Pharmaceutical conditioning encapsulating you… echoing in your mind as I hand you my life to chew.

And with the stroke of a pen you made it so… turned a once shiny penny into a stale cuppa joe and don’t act like you didn’t know. Just because that Hippocratic Oath of yours is a little slow.

Maybe you don’t remember that oath… OR CARE about my healthy emotional growth, but I assure you this:

The success of my life does not rest upon a bottle of pills. The mere thought or mention of that is enough to give an Eskimo the chills.  Without the highs and lows there would be no journey to take, and surely no hills.

I want my highs. I want my lows. I want the passion that makes me write prose.

Because…

I am a shiny penny… Not just some prescription for you to write & dispose!