It was 2012 and my break up was very fresh.
I was sat in a pub in Notting Hill Gate (one that still makes me flinch a little as I walk by on visits to my former home) with two beautiful friends of mine.
They were there to make sure I was distracted and were working hard at it. Sadly, even the thought of good beer and Sunday roast could not keep the gates of sadness locked and an outpouring of tears flooded by Yorkshire Pudding.
I was humiliated.
You see, I was sat there, trying to work through all that had happened. Introspectively analysing me and what could have gone wrong in my relationship. I had to show that I was hurting, that I was in pain, that I was not okay. But in showing this the floodgates opened.
For me, expressing myself is one of my most vulnerable moments. Expressing myself is where I shine. I know that I have a gift for writing and other forms of communication. But with that gift comes the other side, comes a weight I guess. Because I can so passionately express myself, it also means that I pour out everything when I do.
Vulnerability, particularly when it comes to me and how I feel, is not my strong suit.
Don’t get me wrong, if I write a speech and stand up to present it, I am fine. I can jump up in front of a crowd of 10,000 and sing. Cool.
BUT if you ask me to be real with you one on one, or sing in front of 5 people there is a high chance I will cry. Cry or becoming emotionally over wrought.
I have yet to find an article, a journal, a scientific, logical reason for this, but it is fact.
My ability to pour out my heart on paper, in song, in words thrown out into the vast unknown and be vulnerable, but not stand in front of someone and tell them I am in pain or that I like them is like taking me to an executioner is one of question.
Maybe it is because naturally I am what they call an outgoing introvert or maybe I am too sensitive. I just know that being vulnerable when it is something close to my heart is a struggle.
This was proven recently, twice actually when on two separate occasions, one in the Gap and one in a cafe, I cried when having to face conversations about subjects close to my heart.
These lovely moments where I am not actually sad, but, as they say “feeling all the feels” it is easier for me to cry, then to not do anything.
This isn’t actually about my inability to react to any highly-charged emotional moment without crying. It is about the process it has taken to be okay with being vulnerable.
The fact is that I know I will probably always respond the way I do. Yes, I work on breathing through the potential tears so as not to appear like I am 5, unprofessional or not altogether okay…but ultimately I know that my ability to feel the way I do makes me a better me, a better friend, lover, daughter, cousin and even employee.
Being vulnerable has enabled me to be a freer person. I have gotten more jobs, stood up for myself, inspired others, gotten a few dates (and being dumped), let others done better, reached greater levels emotionally, gotten closer to God, to my friends, to my family.
I have even learned more about others through this process.
I would hasten to say that most people struggle in some way with vulnerability and deal with it differently. I could shut down and become emotionally stunted. Instead I cry. oh fabulous.
Some people hide their vulnerability in alcohol, in meaningless sex, in keeping people at a distance.
Websters Dictionary defines vulnerability as the capability of being physically or emotionally wounded.
The fact is many things have the possibility to hurt you. In your life it is inevitable you will feel pain.
Getting into the right relationship takes a great risk because you’re both human and could hurt the other. So, instead we bounce from person to person and when we meet the one with whom are heart connects we try and keep them at a distance so as not to face the fact that maybe things are getting a bit real and we need to change and let someone in.
Or maybe it could be something as simple as not wanting to go back to the gym because one day someone teased you back in high school how you were uncoordinated. Or maybe that you tried to ride a bike, someone let go and you fell off and now don’t want to get back on again.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that vulnerability affects all facets of our lives.
What I have learned is that in order to be more vulnerable I have to learn to trust others more. To trust them with my heart, my emotions, my general well being. When we allow ourselves a position of vulnerability we are not allowing someone power over us, instead we are inviting them to be vulnerable themselves and giving them permission to be open. We humble ourselves so that in return they will humble themselves. It is servanthood.
Sure, people still suck. We’re human. You could still get hurt. But what if you just opened up. Maybe you would learn more about yourself and the person sat in front of you.
Maybe your moment of vulnerability would impact a hundred thousand lives.