Monday, May 7, 2018

Vulnerability

Guacamole by the beach with my beloved. Heavenly!
This year I’ve been pretty much laser-focused on my writing, to the point where I just unfollowed a bunch of sewing/crafty blogs so I’m not distracted from my goals with other fun stuff for this season of discipline. (Don't worry, I archived them in a place where I can re-follow them next year or when I want to make that my focus once again.)

On Saturday, my husband and I went to lunch by the beach for Cinco de Mayo, and over guacamole and fresh lime soda, I confessed that while I’m having no difficultly getting my daily word count goals met (it took awhile but I found a rhythm and strategy keeping me productive), where I am struggling, and struggling deeply, is with the raw vulnerability of spilling out part of myself and committing it to the page. 

I’m not even writing about anything all that intimate or raw or exposing. I'm not writing anything that I wouldn't share with someone (if they asked) over a first or second coffee date in real life. But it's still part of me, something that I nurtured and labored over and created.

It’s May, and this strange feeling hasn’t diminished over the last four months of dedicated writing, it’s only increased. Writing is such a solitary thing, with no collaboration to spread the success or failure among many people... it’s all on me. I'm the only one with skin in the game here, and to my great surprise, my skin isn't getting any thicker over time.

I saw this quote that in a slightly different form has been attributed to Aristotle: We become what we practice. What if, by opening myself up to being vulnerable, it's simply making me more of the same? And can vulnerability be a superpower, instead of something to wish away?

Brene Brown certainly thinks so. In her book, Rising Strong, she makes the point that vulnerability--the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome--is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. I love that. It resonates deeply with me. Because I certainly want more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. Don't you? And if putting pieces of myself out there is the way to get there, then allow me to spill myself all over the page (or screen). 

At that Cinco de Mayo lunch, my husband was beyond supportive. I know what a huge help it is to have someone cheering loudly over even the minor successes. And sometimes that is hard to find. If you take a moment to google "why your friends don't want you to succeed" there are over 12 million hits. I definitely have had my share of friends who have loved me when I was miserable, but pulled away when things were going really well. They were only interested in watching me scratch at the wounds that had finally scabbed over instead letting them turn into fading scars. Or who questioned (and discouraged!) even a tiny step I made to improve my health through daily walking. With friends like these, who needs enemies, right? 

Yet to bring you back around to the point of this post... I'm grateful for the unexpected lessons I'm learning through my disciplined focus on writing this year. I am absolutely certain that without this focus, 2018 would have been like 2017, or 2016, or every single year before that when I said, "This is hard. It's hurts. It's easier to walk away now by choice than to continue not knowing if I'll even succeed. I'm tired of justifying myself to everyone, I'll just do something else creative instead." Just continuing to write at all (in my own private journal, for this blog, for my book, or for other websites I work with) is perhaps the most vulnerable position I've ever willingly placed myself in. 

It's exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. And it's also made me the biggest cheerleader of other people on a similar journey of putting themselves out there in big or small ways. I will not be the person who tries to convince someone that their goals are too hard or too lofty. Life does enough of that without my help!

Let me know what you're up to right now... we can have a virtual dance party to celebrate! And then maybe some guacamole? That photo up there from lunch with my husband is making me hungry... 

2 comments:

  1. Love tbis... And you. <3 --- Cassi

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  2. I actually made a huge bowl of guacamole (yes, made, it's super easy) for a bbq last Tuesday with 8 people in total. It disappeared within 15 minutes. Amazing. you can never eat too much guacamole. What I'm up to right now - I'm just done reading your wonderful blog and am off to Ikea to buy towels, bottles, and the likes. Oh joy.

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