On: Being Vulnerable


So. Being vulnerable.

Anyone who knows me personally knows just how hard it is to get me to open up. My default state is to shove all negative feelings into the proverbial closet and pretend they are not there until I make myself believe it. It’s a messy thing and sometimes it is easier said than done, but It is a strategy that has worked out fairly well for the past twenty-four years or so.

Here’s the thing: the monsters in that closet I have ignored for so long are begging to come out, roaring and screaming and refusing to stay silent any longer. And I am very much afraid of my own demons.

The beauty about the world in which we live in is that we have much more control over how we are perceived than ever before through the words and pictures we post online. I am fascinated by the way we can influence what others think of us. I love self-help books because they are based on the fundamental “fake it till you make it” mentality, and I’ve always thought acting was fun. After all, isn’t that what we’re all doing here? Choosing one thing and hoping it all works out? Being the best version of ourselves, and hope that we are accepted for it?

I can’t help it. I want to be liked. Don’t we all?

I wish I could say that I have had a revelation, a lifechanging epiphany, and that from now on I will let my guard down and face love head-on and all of that. In some ways I want to, but I’d be lying—to myself, and to those who have stuck with me even as they saw firsthand all the ugly bits of me I had fought so hard to hide. My demons are still there, still terrifying, and I will probably have to deal with them my whole life, but.

Maybe being vulnerable is admitting to myself that I will always struggle with being vulnerable. That I will forever tuck my heart out of sight until I know it is ready to be seen. Maybe being vulnerable is accepting that I will always have my guard up, a tortoise shell, and ask those who want to get close to me to be patient, just a little while longer.

(maybe being vulnerable is hoping against hope that I am worth all that.)

And occasionally, when I feel strong enough, go into that closet, unspool all the tangled threads of the things I have shoved away to be ignored, and one by one let all my demons breathe.