-What are you afraid of?
-My vulnerability.

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. That’s in Mark, and bears the imprint of an editor: some authorities miss out “for my sake”, but the words “for the sake of the gospel” damage the symmetry of the phrase, and the explanation damages its poetry.

I am losing my life. I fritter it. I hate sitting here watching television. I liked going into London to speak at Quaker Quest, taking in several interesting encounters and lots of Art. One told me, gratefully, that what I said was like ministry, at least worship-sharing. That had an air of holiday about it, but in a job I hope I would not merely be ground down, and even now I could go out to encounter people and beautiful things locally.

And, I sit here because I am afraid, of judgment which is so awful as to be as bad as death. I know this is an illusion, but the fear of it is still real. Of course I will die, and I could die in an accident at any time- though fearing death and planning suicide is a strange combination. There is something about the moment of death which is fearful and horrible, but death itself is not. After death, the horror disappears.

The moment of failure, the moment of getting caught out, terrifies me, whether it leads to death or mild embarrassment. I can see I am not being sensible, that I am losing my life, that my way of saving myself is an illusion, but being rational about this does not save me from the fear.

There’s nothing to fear. I know that. I still fear it.

-Why were you screaming?
-Because I felt seen and accepted.

More paradoxes. I rationalised it immediately- it is the delight which reminds me of past lack; but it could be deeper than that. It means I am wrong. If I am acceptable, all I know and believe about myself is untrue and my world falls apart. If I am seen, I will be despised- and judged. None of this is rational, so it could be both, as my madness can survive internal contradiction.

I will tell you here. I could not tell K face to face, but it might be worth working on.

I am beautiful.

Not- this thing, this process, all that is within my skin, whatever- I. People value and accept me. People even admire me, and sometimes express that.

This is all quite binary. All or nothing, Heaven or Hell, the marriage feast or gnashing of teeth, admiration or condemnation. It is also instant. I rarely judge other people like that. They’re mostly all right, I add little pieces of experience with them to a picture, and normally run away rather than cast another out. It’s not a perfect analogy for how others are, but it does tend to refute that all or nothing God-like power I ascribe to them, which only a mother has over a baby.

I am beautiful
beloved of God
highly gifted
facing my difficulties squarely.

Maybe I could tell other people this, and see how they react. I am judged, repeatedly, and cannot anticipate how others will judge me or what consequences that judgment will have for me. I am sometimes seen as wrong or bad, but not in the way I anticipate.

I fear making mistakes. If I can’t make mistakes, then I can’t do anything.

I record my counselling sessions, and this recording was silent. I don’t know why it didn’t work. But these two moments were the core of it- I fear vulnerability, I was hurt when I felt accepted. I want an instant solution, I want things I can work at for self-improvement, but looking back I perceive I am improving (hard though that is to claim).

3 thoughts on “Vulnerability

  1. It doesn’t matter whether one is trans or one is autistic. We will be judged, not in a way appropriate for us, but in a way that fits their criteria. I used to use those same criteria to judge myself, and of course I usually failed to meet the criteria others demanded.

    But shortly after learning I was on the autism spectrum, I began to learn that they and I were using the wrong set of rules by which to judge me. The criteria by which one judges an artistic gymnist’s performance are totally unsuitable for judging a weightlifter. So now I judge myself in a more appropriate fashion, which pleases me.

    Perhaps I value less the opinions of others when I’m certain I’m right. I don’t know if I would process judgement by others in the same manner if their opinions were important to me, but I’m satisfied that by pleasing myself first, and close family and very close friends second, that I can sincerely say that I am made in God’s image.

    As for mistakes, I’ve always viewed them as steps on a learning curve. In themselves, they are neither good nor bad. It’s what we do after a mistake that really matters. I was lucky that I was employed by a rather forward thinking company for 35 years. It was always stressed to us, that the company regarded employees who never made mistakes less favourably than employees who did. Their reasoning was that employees who take risks and are innovative will help the company progress faster than those who always play it safe. There was of course a proviso: Employees who made the same mistake twice could expect discipline.


    • I like the thought of that company. I have no idea how people judge me. I have fear of judgments which make no sense to me: the fear is on a different level from my rational assessment of what is going on. I don’t know how to deal with the fear. Seeing it exists, where I was blind to it, feels like progress. Seeing its irrationality and the harm it could do me is a step forward. And getting rid of it seems difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

      • From what I have learned of you from your blog, you have an amazing ability to analyse your emotions – something most of us fail to do, but should. One step at a time. You’ll get there eventually 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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