Many times I have seen Brené Brown’s first TED video circulated, on Facebook and email lists, and I am endebted to the ever-wonderful Judy “Twoblogs” Wall for her second. I also recommend Dr. Brown’s blog. Vulnerability is a good thing. Vulnerability is the bravery which speaks to people, which elicits the Yes, the Yay, the true connection. What other words apply?
Strangeness. I get the feeling of being more alive, more real, and this is a strange, heightened experience. A good one, I want more of it, I want to play in it, get to know it, get to trust it, and that needs time. (Not necessarily effort. Let go the effort. Let the experience bed in in its own way, I tell myself.) And “strange” may be a better word than “good”, because I still name some emotions unpleasant, or difficult, and I can find those there too. This does not make it “wrong” or “difficult”.
Authenticity. I link these experiences to my first sense of the Real Me. This is a word Dr Brown uses at least once in her videos, and I prefer it to “vulnerability”- because how vulnerable are we? We are not being Defensive when we are being Authentic, but how many people want to attack us anyway? And if someone does, perhaps it is easier to block an attack in a state of relaxed aware authenticity than of fearful, clenched defensiveness. Or the block may be proportionate to the attack, whereas an attack out of the defensiveness may be too violent.
Bravery. Dr Brown also says this is brave. Trans women habitually deny bravery- I transitioned, we say, as a matter of survival, not because of great courage. I feel like that here. My masks are just too constricting. I cannot live like that any more. And yet, OK. Why should I deny a good quality in myself? Yes, it is difficult. Yes, it is brave. Moving forward in unknowing, where I may feel even illusory fear, is brave.
Openness. This vulnerability makes us open to others and to experience, which looks beautiful and inspiring, and invites connection.
Receptivity. Not monitoring so much in myself in order to hide it, I am more able to see what is around me: opportunity and beauty, and human beings more as they really are.
The word “vulnerability” is scary. It may be a way in to the state I crave. The rewards I may get from it encourage me to seek that state out.
I love this photograph, public domain via Wikipedia, because I do not see foundation or other makeup on it. If there is, it is subtle. That is a vulnerability many women find testing.