Vulnerability is My Superpower: My Life on the Internet

Sometimes people ask me why I share so much of my life on the internet. Can’t you just share pictures of your kid and funny memes? If I am being honest, sometimes I wonder why I do it too. It is incredibly difficult work. I regularly find myself sitting behind a screen pouring out some of my deepest secrets, publicly wrestling with my mess. This work often leaves me emotionally spent, opens me up to lots of criticism, and for what? Rarely is there a clear and definitive benefit. Is anyone reading? Is anyone growing? Does it even matter? What do I hope people get from engaging with my work? Those questions feel impossible to answer at times.

Then, inevitably just at the moment that I think “maybe this is all a waste”, someone reaches out and says “me too”. Sharing my own mess and publicly wrestling with my emotional baggage opens the door for others to wrestle with theirs. It lets them know that they are not alone. It affirms their feelings. It shamelessly invites them in. To the core of my being, I believe that the best thing we can do is learn to be honest first with ourselves and then with others. There is freedom in owning your truth. I believe that a lot of conflict happens because we fail to recognize that we are all doing our best to navigate murky waters, waters that perhaps we could help each other navigate if we’d allow people in. I think lots of us miss out on truly experiencing unconditional love because we won’t let people see our chaos and love us in it. Vulnerability is my superpower, it is the gateway into every single good thing in my life. And that is why I share. I have found a sense of freedom in being unapologetically myself, in doing the hard work of self-reflection. I want you to know the freedom of laying down your facade, letting go of other people’s expectations, and leaning into self-awareness so that you can build the life that you want. It seems counter-intuitive at first, that there is freedom in owning your mess, but there is only one way to let go of the weight of something and that is to learn to accept it.

Thank you for bravely and generously trusting me with your stories. Thank you for engaging with my work. That you for wrestling and for watching the mess of my own wrestling. I hope we all are better for it.

vulnerability is my superpower.png

Dealing With Your "Stuff": The Hard Work of Healing

If you've been following my writing  for more than five minutes, you know expressing emotion is difficult for me. I was never an overly emotional child but then, in my teenage years, I experienced some trauma and being emotionally numb became a coping mechanism. Feeling anything meant feeling bad things and that didn't really sound all that fun to me. The problem is that when we try to bury and forget trauma, it inevitably comes back to bite us. If you need any evidence of that, just look around. The political and cultural times we are living in are the direct result of our being a nation that stuffs the hard and messy parts of our story down. Way down. And now, we are living in a time where past hurts are coming back to the surface to wreak havoc. It's sort of like when you move and you shove a box or two...or maybe five...in the back of a closet, too exhausted to unpack them. Eventually those boxes get dusty, but they never disappear or unpack themselves. Eventually you have to deal with them. But why did you pack the boxes in the first place? And why haven't you unpacked them yet? What are you dragging around with you that's too important to throw out, but too difficult to face head on? 

boxes.jpg

Here's a piece I wrote a while back that I'd love to share with you about how my own box has followed me around. 

"I'm Fine"

I opened my mouth and your name fell out. It shattered on the floor and I tried frantically to pick up all of the pieces and shove them into my pockets before anyone noticed, but it was too late. My hands were covered in scrapes and blood was dripping down my arms but I just kept yelling “I’M FINE! I’M FINE! I’M FINE”, pushing everyone away from my mess. 

Let me help you, they pleaded. 

Let me get a bandage for your wounds. 

Let me stay with you until the bleeding stops. 

But I just kept saying “I’M FINE! I’M FINE! I’M FINE” 

I retreated to my bed with pieces of you all over me and I tried to put it all back together again but I could never get it all to fit quite right. I put you in a box and shoved you in my closet on the highest shelf in the furthest dark corner, hoping I could forget that you were there. At night, when the world was dark and still, I dreamed that you were coming for me. I pulled the covers over my head and I whispered to myself “I’m fine...I’m fine...I’m fine...”

I moved out of that house but I carried you with me. I just could not seem to leave you behind. One day when I was cleaning near the shelf where you lived, I bumped your box and, like a tsunami of black glitter, pieces of you filled the air and scattered all over my life. 

My husband tried to help me dust the pieces away but I would not let him touch you because I was scared he might get hurt too. 

When I visited my parents, I was careful to ensure that I had dusted you completely off of me. 

As I teach my son about how to treat others, I pray that one day he will not be a box on some woman’s shelf while she is a slave to the mantra “I’M FINE! I’M FINE! I’M FINE” 

I hate that box you live in, the one I can’t seem to throw away. Although the years have passed, I keep finding glitter in the cracks and crevasses of my life and I cry as the words I can’t quit saying swiftly move to my lips- “I’m fine...I’m fine...I’m fine...”.