naked.

[vulnerability & happy]

So I’ve been trying to figure out why it’s hard for me to write recently, why there are a couple of (completed) drafts in my folder, ready to be published…but not.

I think it’s because I still feel naked.
…no, not like that. Let’s explore.

I went on another weekend away. This one was different, but equally exhausting in its own right. This time, I ended up speaking more than intended, invited for various moments. Each time, I felt a little more drained. It wasn’t the getting up in front of people and speaking that did it. I’m okay with that now. Somehow over the past few years (unbeknownst to me exactly how), I have found ease in this (…like seriously, if you can figured out how I’ve come to feel something aside from deep, debilitating anxiety when standing and speaking in front of others, clue me in bc my introverted self has yet to figure it out. I’m even feeling energized in some sort of weird fulfilling way). Anyway, I think the being drained came because I put myself out there each time. …maybe “out there” isn’t quite it. I put myself in itin the words I spoke, whether they were mine or an adapted passage from scripture or the words of others. I felt the words as I voiced them. It was exhausting.

Alright, what does this have to do with happy? Hang in there, folks, it’s coming.

So I think what did it, what really exhausted me and stripped me down to my core was when I shared my story, sharing my self for what felt like an eternity (but was really more like 25 minutes), exposing myself and removing any potential barrier that could be present between myself and those who listened. I shared a story that has sat partially told in my drafts folder since last year. It sat (and still sits) there because I wasn’t ready. I’m not sure I was ready when I shared it with the women during my weekend away but the purpose overrode the fear. I felt called to share, both in the literal and spiritual sense of word. I feel that stirring happening again, a stirring that tells me I’m (almost) ready to put it out there. That stirring is the weird mixture of vulnerability and happy. This is it, friends: happiness and vulnerability may actually be connected. How can you find any semblance of happy when you’re feeling vulnerable? Good question, ma’am (or sir).

Well, I think it’s because pushing past that discomfort gets you somewhere, somewhere new/different/amazing/maybe-not-so-amazing-but-you-went-there-anyway-which-is-a-feat-in-itself-so-you-are-amazing!
be uncomfortable.

Yes, it is amazing. But, I won’t sit here and lie to you, feigning that it’s easy to be vulnerable. Nope. not. in. the. slightest. I was scared shitless. True story. I still kind of am. That’s where the naked feeling comes in. When I said I felt exhausted and stripped afterwards, that wasn’t an understatement. As I spoke, I was okay, too wrapped up in my own words and emotions to care completely what others were thinking, feeling, judging, not judging. In that moment, it didn’t matter. Afterwards? Completely different story. After praising me for my courage and delivery, a kind soul asked me how I felt. All I could say was “…I don’t know.” The truth was, I felt…naked (read: uncomfortable, open, raw, completely. vulnerable). [random ramblings in my head as i write this: i can actually recall the feeling as i sit here and type… the mirror in my room shows a look i can’t quite describe — a pained face wanting to tell others to be kind to those in my story, to be kind to me, to not judge, but also to use me/my story in whatever way will be most helpful. …used. maybe that’s it. the feeling i can’t quite describe..like a vessel there to deliver a message and that was all. ..but that’s not it exactly. plus, i don’t quite like the word “used” since it feels like the connotation is negative. and while the feeling i had wasn’t necessarily a pleasant one, i’d repeat the event in a heartbeat so it couldn’t have been that bad].

Clouds, what exactly are you saying here?

Another good question, my friend […I’m obviously taking liberties with assuming what’s going on in your head as you read this…and I’m okay with that if you are. …you are? great! let’s continue].

What I’m saying is: be vulnerable! be courageous! I’m not saying go and tell your deepest secrets and fears to the world. [While I believe in the kindness and goodness of all human beings, I also believe that there are assholes in the world who are capable of hurting you, intentionally; you have to take care of yourself first]. I guess what I’m saying is what I learned: sharing your self, your real self, in a way that allows you to feel protected, is healing, not only for yourself but for others as well. And that will bring you more happy than doing nothing. Will it be easy? not in the slightest. Is it worth it? more than you’ll ever imagine.

courage.

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