Sometimes I don’t write for long periods of time.
I have many thoughts on topics I could write about and ideas that are amazing and important points I’d like to make and a funny story about something that happened to me. I have many thoughts about how I could write these things down and expand on them and how amazing they are.
Most of the time I forget them. They never make it out of my maze of a mind.
Some of the time I write them down and realize what I thought was amazing, really wasn’t.
Some of the time I write them down and I realize that what I’ve written is amazing. That what I’ve been able to express in words truly conveys what I initially thought, honestly portrays how I feel and reveals pieces of utmost clarity and importance in my self-growth and realization.
And most often then, I get scared.
When you write something such as that it’s like finding an opening inside of yourself, like taking a light and shining it on parts of yourself that you weren’t fully aware existed. In examining those parts you identify them and name them. In a very real sense, you expose yourself because looking at anything that was formerly unknown requires some method of exposure.
For me, this sort of exposure, this vulnerability is one of my greatest fears. I commend those who put themselves out there, who allow themselves to be open without fear of outcomes. Without wondering what that vulnerability might bring.
Perhaps they have been fortunate to not have experienced the pain that can result from being vulnerable. Perhaps they have but have found ways to compensate for it. Perhaps they don’t calculate or view any risks.
I have been in many situations throughout my life where allowing myself to be vulnerable has been taken advantage of. Each time resulting in removing some of the vulnerability I allowed myself to give, until I reached a place where there was no room left for me to give any at all. Where I reached a place where the risks of doing so gravely outweighed any benefits of allowing myself to be vulnerable.
Those of us who have been through trauma, those of use who have been through abuse, those of us who have been manipulated, deceived, hurt… know that eventually we can’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable anymore. We build walls, physically, emotionally. We seclude ourselves from other people, from places, from experiences. We prevent the possibility of risk and further damage to ourselves.
I’ve spent a long time doing this. I’ve spent a long time avoiding people, avoiding experiences, avoiding anything more than the bare minimums of life. And, for a long time, doing so served it’s purpose.
Only in the past few years have I realized that my keeping everything/one a safe distance away was not only protecting myself from the risks but also preventing any of the benefits. Walls work both ways. They keep all of the painful, negative “stuff” out but they also keep all of the satisfying, positive “stuff” out too.
Dismantling walls (especially those that have stood for extended periods of time) is far from easy. You don’t suddenly go from being heaving guarded to being entirely exposed. Nor would it be a wise idea.
I’ve been working on allowing myself to be more vulnerable. Not recklessly so, but I’ve built such high walls that there have been parts of me that I wouldn’t even allow myself to be exposed to. It’s a frightening process and it’s terribly difficult not to regress backwards in reliving past events or using those past events as evidence against allowing vulnerability.
At this point I so clearly see that the only way I can progress in my journey of self-growth and self-acceptance is to continue to work on my issues of vulnerability. I can’t be angry at the lack of support and people in my life when I’ve honestly not offered any opening for such. Voluntary vulnerability is a manner of trust. In myself and in others.
So here I go, revealing an opening and shining a light on a part of myself I haven’t before. The walls continue to come down.