“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” Brene Brown
A family member of mine sent this to me back in November. She had come across it in a book she was reading and felt it was relevant to her current life. I felt it was relevant to mine as well.
Last week I spoke about chakra’s and blockages. Well another aspect where I struggle and close up is in Manipura - the navel chakra. I deal with cognitive dissonance when it comes to the concept of my own self worth (naval chakra) and self respect (sacral chakra). Especially when it is tied to vulnerability. Cognitive dissonance is when your thoughts, beliefs and attitude are inconsistent with your behaviour and attitude.
So where does this occur within me? Well, I have said this many times and will continue to write it out. I am a work in progress. I firmly believe that people should be who they are and feel confident in their skin and be themselves. Mind you, this is easier said than done, as a lot of people are figuring out who they are exactly.
Yet with myself, depending on the topic, I have the hardest time appearing vulnerable. If you put me in front of the T.V. watching a RomCom, I will most likely cry and then laugh at myself for crying. It's as if I can feel what the characters are going through and I am okay with that.
When the series finale of Friends is on and I have to watch the scene where they are put their key on the counter in farewell, I sob. I have seen this scene countless times, yet it completely tugs and unravels my heart strings.
I become emotional in response to other people's emotions. Especially, the people I consider to be “my people,” you know, your closest family and friends in your inner circle?
Yet when it comes to me, I am so quick to dismiss myself.
Case and point. The other day I had one of the worst migraines to date. Rather than sugar coating it and undermining the severity of it, (like I normally would), I will be honest. I felt as though my brain was melting and that simultaneously someone was stabbing me with a scorching hot poker behind my left eye. I was sad and angry because I had relapsed. You see, I had had a migraine two days prior and thought I was on the mend.
This really bad one made me crumble.
I sobbed, partly because I thought it would help alleviate the pressure underneath my skull. I sobbed because I hated not being able to think, to function, to see, or to do any of the things on my ‘to do” list. I sobbed because I was angry at myself and my body for again letting me down.
My partner came into the bedroom and was stunned as he felt completely helpless to my cause. He was a trooper and tried desperately to do anything to make me feel better. I just hated feeling helpless, so raw, so exposed.
The following day my eyes were so puffy and my head still hurt so much that I could barely stand. Every time I was up I felt as if my legs were wobbly, and my arms had no strength in them. It probably has something to do with the fact that I barely ate for a few days.
My partner then asked me if I was going to school. I said “yes,” just that I would be going late as I was moving like a sloth. I had a private client later that afternoon and I had a meeting regarding an up and coming project that I did not want to reschedule.
He said “no.” This is so uncharacteristic of him, that it caused me to pause and assess the situation. I am a wild spirit, he knows that I make my own decisions. Yet for the first time in a decade he told me a definitive answer regarding my own behaviour.
I stopped and seriously thought about this. I know I didn't want to disappoint the people counting on me that day. I know I did not want to appear weak to my clients, business partners, other students and the like, but most importantly, I didn't want to appear weak to myself.
What the absolute f**k?
Why not? Why is my subconscious mind programmed like? I have to make a conscious effort to fight my own self. Fortunately I have a support system to help me see clearly.
Well it probably stems from being coached by highly abusive coaches back in my gymnastic days. Where they would just yell at me to suck up my injuries and keep going. No wonder, I was able to compete on a torn ACL when I was 14… I was programmed to ignore my body.
I have spent the last year trying to reconnect with myself, to know myself and my body. To try to listen to the signs rather than ignoring them. Yet when my body is speaking to me, I ignore it? I am a freaking hypocrite, a walking conundrum. And then I realized that he was completely right.
He was right.
I cancelled everything and stayed in bed the entire day. This behaviour is completely unheard of when it comes to me. I have a hard time letting myself be lazy or unproductive. However, yesterday I needed it. I needed to be okay with being vulnerable.
Even today, I am pushing myself by staring at this screen typing when I should still rest. My eyes are strained and my head still throbs but I am on the mend.
So, the lesson here for myself is to respect myself. To know my worth.
In order to know my worth and respect myself I must be okay shaking off the layers and be okay with being vulnerable.
I will continue to peel back this layer and not view my own physical and mental symptoms as weakness. They are my truth and I must listen. It isn't a weakness, it is a sign of courage to be vulnerable.