I’ve been thinking about a Sex and the City episode in which Samantha gets a chemical peel. Her intention was to appear “super fresh” for Carrie’s book-signing party. However, the procedure goes horribly wrong! She is in pain, red and raw. Although Samantha bravely appears in public, putting on a defiant face with black hat and veil, she cannot hide her vulnerability. Red, raw, not-sexy-at-all vulnerability.
Lately, I have identified strong feelings of vulnerability within myself. In fact, I feel like I had a chemical peel too, not on the outside as a procedure by choice, but on the inside as a response to life’s challenges. So here’s this week’s definition of trauma: Trauma is an unsolicited chemical peel for your inner being.
Quite overwhelmed with this tidal-wave of vulnerability, I discussed it with my psychologist. She suggested that I watch Brene Brown’s TED talk on youtube called “The Power of Vulnerability.”
I listened in amazement as Brene explicitly identified my pre-accident belief system: “Life is messy. Clean it up. Organize it and put it in a Bento Box.” Yes, I used to intimately know the bento box way of life. I affectionately call it “the ducks in a row” philosophy of life. Line them up, baby—Yes, all my ducks are neatly organized. I’m in charge. Let’s march all together now. This is how I ran my classroom. This is how I ran my life. Then my real-life chemical peel came along……..
Brene then discusses her own “slugfest” with vulnerability. “Vulnerability pushed. I pushed back.” Wow, can I really identify with this fight! The thing is, it gets exhausting having the boxing gloves on all the time!
Here is Brene Brown’s main message: While vulnerability can be viewed as the core of shame, fear and the struggle for worthiness, it can also be reframed as the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging and love. The key to this redefinition is believing in your own self worth. “What makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful. ” That’s right! “What makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful.”
I am asking myself if I can lay down the boxing gloves, lower the protective walls and surrender my nickname of “Miss Independence” that I have carried for most of my life. Perhaps you can join me in a courageous expression of vulnerability. This is where the power is.
For this moment, I breathe in and embrace my vulnerability for…
Inner beauty and vulnerability can softly dance together.
Photo credits: Thank you Gordon B and Lisa Sharpe.