Vulnerability : Blessing – Or Curse?

We’re all terrified little babes in the wood, on some level.

We have our pet fears and worries, terrors and anxieties.

They won’t go away. Ever.

So we cope… through pretence and posturing.

Cocoon ourselves in ‘safety‘. Barricade ourselves against life. Surround ourselves with comforting myths.

Tamp down our wilder passions. Hide our core persona.

And act out our chosen roles.

That’s why…

– It’s hard to say “I’m sorry” – because we’d rather hide behind the arrogance of our ego than make ourselves vulnerable, by admitting to a mistake that would make us less than perfect.

– It’s hard to say “I love you“, or declare that you still love someone – because that carries along with it the vulnerability of being rejected. Or not having your affections reciprocated.

– It’s hard to say “I’m afraid to live without you” – because accepting your dependence, emotional or otherwise, upon another person leaves you vulnerable to their response.

And so we build ourselves a shell.

Like tortoises.

It’s tough and protective. Whenever vulnerability threatens, we can retreat within it. And feel secure.

It’s a shell constructed of pretence and braggadocio. Woven from egotism and arrogance. And as fragile as a spider’s web, or a snowflake drifting from the sky.

Because if we’re being honest with ourselves…

Vulnerability is our essence.

Our very existence is evanescent. Our time on earth is transient. Our strengths and weaknesses, fears and confidence, stem from this reality.

How can we not feel vulnerable, then?

When lifetimes are measured in a century, at most. In a universe that has existed for billions of years, at least.

In 2011, a truly special being entered my life. What enthralled me was her vivacious playfulness. And her fond friendliness.

She wore her heart on many sleeves. And dared to dive deep into every relationship, holding back nothing.

It was a heady feeling.

And it cracked the thick, protective shell I’d built around myself.

For the first time I grew comfortable… with being vulnerable. Found a fearless fortitude that led me to experience the highs and lows of life – with a deeper intensity than I’d dared feel before.

It’s why I called her ‘my muse‘.

If I look carefully at my writing over this ten-year span, I see reflections of a carefree transparency that had been lacking before.

But when she died early this year, I experienced the downside of this expressed vulnerability. The first three months were an emotional roller coaster like none I’d ever been on.

And this one went low… and then lower.

Never high!

So I rebuilt my safe shell.

It’s back in place. Still has a few cracks and weak spots. But by and large, it’s available.

To hide my vulnerability.

And let me pretend… to an invincibility I know doesn’t exist.

Being vulnerable may be a blessing.

But it’s a mixed one.

Even, perhaps, a curse.

What do you say?