A friend of mine and I like to exchange writing prompts, and last month, she gave me this prompt: “Write about why you have a hard time being vulnerable. Not saying that you aren’t, but just reflect on what vulnerability means to you and why you may or may not express vulnerability.” She sensed that I was holding something back in a conversation we’d been having over lunch, and felt that perhaps I had chosen not to be vulnerable.
So, I’ve been reflecting on this ever since, and I really did go through a deep thought process–am I not vulnerable? Do I not open myself up to people? Have I not shown who I really am? And then I went through lots of thoughts about my past and why I may have ended up not being a vulnerable person. I wrote this huge thing that sounded like such a mess a crap that was fake and forced in order to try to come to terms with some unconscious energy at work.
Then, I came to realize (through conversations with my husband, another friend, and a deep self-reflection) that it isn’t that I’m not vulnerable, it’s that I don’t often have things that upset me or trouble me or sit on my brain for a long time that require me to reach out to people for advice. And I often come to people once a conclusion has already been made. So, it’s more of a recap of my vulnerabilities and how I’ve solved my situation.
To those who are closest to me, I’m truly sorry. I don’t mean to leave you out, that’s just how I’ve always lived my life. My grandma put a journal in my hands when I entered third grade, and I’ve never moved away from that space for self-reflection. The journey of life is so incredibly important to me that I savor that time with myself to figure it out, feel those emotions and gut wrenching twists and turns in any situation, and ugly cry. Because ultimately, I am the only person, with the help of solitude, that pulls that all out of me. I promise I’m not afraid of showing weakness. I promise I’m not hiding. I promise I’m not cold. I just don’t talk about it with you because I likely have yet to realize something’s wrong or I’ve already figured it out.
So, to those of you out there who lean on yourself for advice, I feel you. Sometimes it’s isolating because you’d like to reach out to people, but ultimately, you trust your own intuition more than anyone’s. I get it. It doesn’t make you cold, and it doesn’t mean you don’t give of yourself to others. So, go ahead and ugly cry alone in your room, because chances are, someone else somewhere is doing it with you.
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