On Vulnerability

I have issues.

I’m one of those who schedules “have a good cry” on my calendar. (which I always can find an excuse to push it back to a later date)

When it comes to being in touch with my emotions, well... let’s just say few of my closest friends sometimes think I have none.

Yeah, I have vulnerability issues.

It wasn’t apparent to me until I met someone, who, instead of clapping along as I retold my travel stories, asked me this instead: what are you running from?

I scoffed it off and thought he was the one with issues.

But to him I am eternally grateful. It sparked my journey, not around the world, but into my heart. It was about time I face my own humanity/reflection.

I think somewhere in my subconscious I knew I was running away from something every time I left for a trip. It was a subtle pattern: Get into any uncomfortable situation, then leave for a trip. I was weak, and not brave enough to face reality with the situation. So scared, that I’d rather go out and risk it all in some foreign land (where I can do whatever I want; I’m leaving anyway right?). Coming back home after a few months, it felt like things reset, and I learned more about myself and grew as a person. Grew in my mind and spirit. But I did it again and again. Has my heart been healed?

With each trip I grew more daring and pushed my limits even further. Everyone looks at me in awe, “Wow, you went there alone? That’s so BRAVE.” Those were the words I longed to hear. I smiled and thought, this is my chance to inspire people to follow their dreams! To follow their heart! But, something deep inside felt off. I didn’t know what it was, or rather, I denied it to be true. I didn’t feel brave. I didn’t feel awesome. I didn’t feel accomplished.

Actually, I felt kind of inferior.

At some point in my life, I had separated my heart so far away from my head. Each emotion that welled up inside, it became my mission to “neutralize” it. Stay guarded. Stay level-headed. Stay rational. Avoid sad movies like the plague. Before I realized what was happening, I lost the ability to connect heart to heart with another human being. Any sign of vulnerability from another and I immediately rationalize it out for them, forgetting the reason why they were vulnerable in the first place was for the rare chance to connect as friends.

I missed a lot of special opportunities in life because of this. I need to come to terms with that. And I need to let them go.

Vulnerability, is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Even when you work that muscle until it tears, it has the ability to mend itself again. Right now, I feel like a baby learning to walk.

So, here’s a loving note to self: Vulnerability is not showing up as imperfect, but as humans. No one is perfect, especially you. Use your emotions to be vulnerable. THAT is strength. That’s bravery. When you feel, share. Express. The expression of your emotions is what makes you human. And humans are perfectly imperfect.