While some things are solely ours to bear or rejoice in alone, I’ve
been surprised to find on occasions too numerous to name that
some of those things weren’t mine alone. . .
These epiphanies have come in those moments I have let my heart or mind (whether contradicting each other or together in unison), talk me into ignoring the fears of deeper hurt, fears of being perceived as too boastful, fears of rejection, and/or just plain old fears of judgement. It’s those times that I have momentarily quieted the anxiety that steels my guardedness and allowed for vulnerability, that have lightened my step, unstooped my shoulders, and/or turned the corners of my mouth upward as the swelling in my heart became a good kind of too much. It’s those times that have allowed for the shedding the heavy and/or sharing of the joy. That’s a wonderful thing for me – for my soul. However, it’s usually not just me who reaps the benefits of my vulnerability, when the “Me too!” happens, there’s another soul or souls on the other side of that interaction who in also allowing vulnerability in themselves, make a connection. Those connections are an amazing gift of healing and/or happiness. It’s not that all parties are able to unburden themselves necessarily, the burdens remain. Yet, their individual heaviness when borne alone, despite not always becoming less, some how becomes lighter just in the realization that other shoulders are bearing a similar load and that there is another soul who can relate to you and feel what yours does. Divine intervention is the only way to explain these happenstance meetings that come along at just the moment you are hanging by a very frayed thread or about to burst at the seams – be it in person or through a faceless author.
That’s a wonderful thing for me – for my soul. However, it’s usually not just me who reaps the benefits of my vulnerability, when the “Me too!” happens, there’s another soul or souls on the other side of that interaction who in also allowing vulnerability in themselves, make a connection.
Here’s the caveat – not every vulnerable moment eases our burdens and lightens our loads. We’d never be guarded about anything in the first place if we had never experienced times when we allowed for vulnerability that was exploited and/or led to deeper pain. Opening your heart and baring your soul is a lot like rolling dice. It’s a gambler’s game and usually there’s no way to know the odds. I’m not a gambler. I’m a second guesser, I’m a fearer of losing or being rejected – sometimes to a paralyzing extent. I’m not brave either. My heart feels big. It swells BIG with happy news or good times and sinks just as BIG with sad news, rejection, failure, and guilt. I’m pretty sure I’m what some describe as an empath. Whether it’s mine or someone else’s, I feel it. So, when the vulnerability results in dashed happiness or salt in my wounds, it’s heavy – really heavy. The thing is, though, I can usually muster a brave face (false bravado, you can be absolutely certain) and keep plowing, just with a more guarded awareness. What I’m not always able to do is completely evict the kind of deep hurt that causes anger, resentment, hopeless feelings, and loneliness. Sometimes perspective on a situation blurs and it’s hard to draw it back into focus. Sometimes reaction to hurt and the feelings about and toward the perpetrator of the hurt (intentioned or unintentioned), are hard to soften. Sometimes perspective and clarity come quickly and empathy and/or compassion come quickly when the reasons behind the hurtful words or actions are revealed. Sometimes, only time can begin to abate the hurt/hard feelings, sometimes it takes A LOT of time. Like the kind of long time it takes to read one of my well-intentioned, overly verbose, and seemingly endless missives. You might even be wondering at this point if I’m just rambling or if I’m actually getting around to something. Just give me a few more sentences. I promise I’m going to close the circle.
Tying the neat and pretty little bow… (Drumroll, please…) Despite the chance that vulnerability can make me feel even more vulnerable in a way that hurts deeply or leaves me feeling betrayed, it’s only vulnerability that has ever brought relief from the 20lbs of emotion I attempt to keep crammed in a 10lb box. Even when I think I’ve successfully pulled off that impossible feat of engineering, I’m only fooling myself. Like a bowl sitting under my running kitchen sink faucet that I’ve left unattended, I can ignore it all I want, but the water will eventually exceed the bowl’s capacity and begin flowing out over the sides. I maybe successful at ignoring it for a while, but that doesn’t keep it from overflowing. Same with a boiling pot. Again, I can ignore it for a while. Like human emotion and our souls, though, it can be prone to boil over, then if allowed to boil long enough, eventually dry up, leaving nothing in the pot. Just like the overflow of the bowl can be stopped by recognizing the source and turning off the faucet and the pot replenished by pouring more water in, we can stem our overflowing emotions and replenish our dried up pots. So what does any of this have to do with why I decided to blog? For me at least, sharing the human experience, finding kindred spirits, and being vulnerable enough to stumble upon the “Me too!” souls who can identify with my hard and/or happy times and can share those in a way that only those who know the circumstance in a personal and intimate way can are what more times than not keep me from drowning or replenish me when it feels nothing is left.
If this is you too, and you find yourself relating to something, please don’t feel shy about raising your hand and saying “Me too!”. If you feel like your “Me too!” is busting at the seams, please don’t feel stupid about sharing how you relate. That’s how connections are made, loads get lighter, and even how many cherished friendships begin.
If this is mindless drivel and a bunch of poppycock that’s not the least bit relatable to you, cool! Living life as individuals with differently wired brains and different experiences is what keeps the whole thing interesting. If you’d still like to read, despite not relating (whether for yourself or someone you know), awesome! I have chosen to share these musings in a public way, thereby welcoming you to read away.
The only thing I hope is that relating happens in a positive way and is an outlet to ease a burden or share joy and pride. Also, I am open to different perspectives, it’s how we learn! That said – I ask that any dissent or disagreement here or otherwise is done in a productive, mature, and thought provoking way with the understanding that many times different experiences tend mold and shape our differing opinions AND it’s completely acceptable most of the time to agree to disagree rather than be hateful or alienating. If this is a challenge for you, challenge yourself to try it that way, you might be surprised at how empowering this is. This is not intended to be a forum for forceful opinion sharing, bullying, hate, disrespect, or unnecessary and extensive use of foul language or negativity. Lastly, any and everything I’ve ever read or heard, whether it was included or not, that couldn’t be written or said just as impactfully, perhaps even more so, without “the ‘f’ word” or damning the Lord.
If you’re still hanging in with me, YAY!!! Cheers to you, and maybe even a useful, relatable, or thought-provoking bit of charming drivel and dandy nonsense!
“Belle of the Babble”
(Maybe not the “Belle of the Ball,” but ever a proud torch carrier for the overly verbose and word-loving, say-a-little-in-a-lot-of-words-ers.)