I bet I got your attention and even more so, made you miss a breath or two. I get it, the word cunt makes the hair on your neck stand up. It just pierces through you and then lingers for awhile. The word vulnerable does the same exact thing to me. Three or four years ago was the first time I really heard this word being used. My therapist brought it to my attention and commented on how much of an issue I had with being vulnerable. Every time she would use it, it was as if all of my fears were called into action. It was paralyzing. I could’t even read anything about it for awhile without thinking the world around me would burn.
Over the last few years, especially the last two, I have really worked with letting people in and remaining present. I used to be notorious for running. I found it much easier to run and high tale it away before anything ‘bad’ could happen then to face the uncertainty of what would come of me when something did occur. Feelings were always labeled positive or negative in my mind. I chased the positive and I hid from the negative. It wasn’t until I understood and believed that no matter what, I was ok. I was capable of living through each and every feeling life offers.
Unfortunately, I think in today’s society so many of us are wounded. Something tragic has occurred in our lives and we have internalized that event so deeply that it molds all future events. I know I am guilty of this. A few events occurred early on in my life which caused me to come to the conclusion that people hurt you, that you must be tough and protect yourself from anything and everything. And so I did. For years, I gauged you on your ability to hurt me. If you were high risk, you were tested and tested until you broke. If you were a low risk, I’d flirt with the concept of letting you in before retreating and blaming you for something you may or may not have done. I applied this to everyone I came in contact with- family, friends, boyfriends, coworkers, neighbors, strangers, and even towards myself. And people were not the only victims to this mentality. I also did this with every situation I was involved in. Expect the worst so that you are 100% prepared when it fails.
I’m sure you can guess how it all ended. I had poor relationships and was a victim in all of my endeavors. The world was out to get me and everything in life was unfair. I lived such a cynical and victimized life. And never once did I realize that because I was running from the possibility of hurt, I was also running from the possibility of not being hurt. I ran from experiences that could bring me joy, love, happiness, excitement, adventure, security, and the list goes on and on. You see, you can not know darkness unless you know light. How would you know the difference if you never experienced both?
The next time you go outside in a t-shirt, drive with your window down or open all the windows in your house on the first ‘spring’ day after a long ass winter, think of what I just said. It’s the same concept. You appreciate and enjoy that 55 degree weather after enduring 20’s and 30’s for 3-4 months. Why? Because you experience both. You experience cabin fever and early night fall. You experience cold and damp weather daily. And then out of no where the sun shines, some of the ground thaws, a bird comes out and for that one day life is amazing. The same applies for all of our life experiences.
You cannot be immune to the depths of life. Life will happen whether you are present or not, and you only get a shot at it once. There is no redo or rewind. All you have is right now and what you choose to experience around you. I have found the only way to live is to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable means you run the chance of being hurt but experience it anyways. It means you’re imperfect and flawed. It means you win and you learn. It means you show up regardless of what the outcome is. It means you see the world and let the world see you.
And every single one of those things is scary! Paralyzing scary. Each one of those meanings causes a fear of mine to stand up and prepare for war. But I am happy to say that over the last few years I am able to recognize that and slowly stand down, one fear at a time. Those events in my life, the ones I made reference to early, you know the ones that began dictating my future, I have come to understand them as just that, events. Events are merely a single occurrence. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less. Yet I have taken them and attached a meaning to them, thus making them more then what they truly were.
So I have had to revert backwards, clean up shop a little and then proceed with a clean slate. I’ve had to take the meaning off of many events and done so by allowing myself to be vulnerable. I’ve had to be honest and open, I’ve had to smile, I’ve had to let people in, I’ve had to try new things, I’ve had to learn new ways, I’ve had to forgive, I’ve had to let go, I’ve had to pray, I’ve had to cry, I’ve had to ask for help, I’ve had to do many things out of my comfort zone. However, I don’t regret any of it. For every time I have been hurt, I have gained. For every time I have ‘lost’, I have learned. For every time I have feared, I have built strength. It is not always easy and I don’t always choose to be vulnerable, but I can honestly say that I have never once regretted a time when I have been. So today cunt is no longer the equivalent to vulnerable. It has a softer tone to it now and I will continue working on it until it no longer makes me hold my breath for a second but produces stillness. And I pray you do the same.
Toodles, Becca Jane:)