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An Act of Radical Vulnerability

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

I actively avoid writing now. It bothers me to sit down like this and put my thoughts down into words. It used to be as comforting as a steaming mug of coffee on a cold winter day. Now, much like how my body processes that caffeine, it makes me jittery and anxious to let my fingers take a stroll across the keyboard. I think, “well, who cares about my thoughts anyway?”

I barely care about my own thoughts, why should another human being? The point, however, is not that I have anything new or provocative to say, it’s that I am being real. I am honoring myself and my own authenticity. Anyone who thinks that they have something truly novel to say, is either grossly undereducated, or living in a very small bubble. I’m fairly certain that there is a book, magazine article, literary journal, or wiki page for every single topic under the sun.

And yet we all have opinions and a desire to share those thoughts and feelings with others. We need to be seen and known. We need it like air or food. And like some of us, with disordered eating pasts, we starve ourselves of these things in some mistaken assumption that no one wants to know us.

People make entire careers of making themselves known and vulnerable. Glennon Doyle is one of my favorites of these people. Her words are deeply vulnerable and moving. She resonates with so many people because she lays herself bare on her pages and says “well, guys, take it or leave it, this is me.”

And we love it. We love the audacity of a woman being her full, true self. In this week’s podcast, We Can Do Hard Things, Glennon, Amanda, and Abby address creativity, writing, art, self-expression, and all that’s juicy that goes with that. Amanda spoke at length about the fuel for creativity laying dormant inside and awaiting that spark and oxygen to set it aflame. In my own chest, I felt a small breeze and the whiff of gasoline ready to ignite.

I rushed into those quiet places in me and shored up the defenses there. I snuffed out the pilot light that threatened to burn down all my carefully constructed walls that keep me squarely centered in my own imposed confinement. And to what end? Who do I think that I am protecting from me? And what on earth am I even protecting them from?

Then it dawned on me with all the gentleness of a hammer dropped on my foot: I’m protecting myself from myself. If I don’t allow the flames of hope (and at the end of the day, that is what creativity is for me) to warm me, how do I expect to do this work and warm others?

My teacher said something yesterday in class. She said that part of the beauty of intuitive work is that it is a constant self-work. She said it much better than that, obviously, but that’s the gist. In some fields of work, you can go on autopilot. You can kind of rest on your knowledge and just cruise control your way to success. And I suppose that to a small degree, you can do that in intuitive work as well, but you’re missing half the point if you do. We effectively take the intuitive part of the title out of the job description entirely when we do that.

What’s the point of this rambling, you’re probably asking yourself by now? Honestly, vulnerability. I’ve worked extra hard over the years to cordon myself off from feeling vulnerable, let alone actually being vulnerable. These blog posts, as frequent or infrequent as they may be, are going to be a way for me to share myself with you. You might learn something, you’ll hopefully laugh with me from time to time (you’ll definitely laugh at me on occasion), and I’d love it if we could all feel just a little less alone on our paths in this life.

A lovely human said to me today, that we need to stop putting off living the lives that we dream of, and instead own this life and make the most of it. To that, I humbly add, we’re on this trip together, alone. So, let’s sit next to one another, cheer each other on, and live our dreams instead of just surviving one day to the next.

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