“I understand now that the vulnerability I’ve always felt is the greatest strength a person can have. You can’t experience life without feeling life. What I’ve learned is that being vulnerable to somebody you love is not a weakness, it’s a strength.” ~Elisabeth Shue
“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” ~M. Scott Peck
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
Hi. My name is Tabitha and I have the incessant fear of being vulnerable. This fear most often plays out in my desire for control and my extreme discomfort of not being in control. If you know me at all, this is nothing new to you. You will rarely, if ever get a call from Tabitha in tears or some extreme emotional state. Despite my mental or physical state my response to “how are you?” is always “I’m good,” because the Tabitha that I prefer to show the world is always good and always in control. I have a tendency to deprive myself of things I enjoy be it food, an activity or even a person just to prove to myself that I do not “need” anything. Since I am far from okay with “feeling” things from a personal stand point, I find myself preferring highly emotional music (i.e. love songs and country music), depressing documentary and tragic romance movies. These have become a safe outlet for me to express emotion without the feelings of weakness or personal connection. I have no personal connection to the dog that died in that random country song or the heart that broke in the movie. This allows me to sympathize without personally feeling that pain.
I have an incredible gift of making others feel very safe, open and vulnerable with me without ever reciprocating the same vulnerability or openness with them. I will give my body, my time, my money before ever considering giving my heart to others. I imagine that many people share my fear of vulnerability and the underlying problem of worth. At our core we all desire to be loved and give love freely. Will others still find us worthy of love if we expose all of us? In my heart I know and feel I am worthy of love. Self-esteem issues have never been associated with “that pretty pretty girl” or “The Great”. So what is keeping me from “tearing” down the walls that prevent me from displaying vulnerability in a real way? My independent nature kept me from a lot of the “peer-pressure” issues that many of my friends fell into, but it is also keeping me from forming real connections with others. I hate the feeling of depending on something, mostly because of the possibility of being let down. We have a way of manifesting both our dreams and fears, the energy I have spent on thoughts that people will let me down have manifest into people letting me down. In two separate occasions this month I feel like I’ve expressed to two members of the “inner circle” of Tab, that I needed them in a specific way- something that rarely occurs, for whatever reason they were not able to provide the support I desired from them. Which only strengthen my resolved of independence and desire of not ever needing to be in a position of “needing” anyone in my life. While I have purposely distanced myself from those two individuals, I do realize they probably do not know how I am currently feeling about them. Perhaps I was not as clear about what role I needed them to play as I thought I was. The mature thing would be to express and discuss these feelings with them, but I rather ignore and repress until I am over the disappointment and resentment.
I really wish I was writing this to tell you that I am actively facing my fear of being vulnerable, but I am not. I will probably continue to speak more candidly Oprah’s life than my own. Sharing random news stories or celebrity gossip rather than giving any tangible news about my life. My answer to “How are you?” will continue to be “I’m good. I’m always good.” I will maintain some aspect of distance from all of those around me, never truly trusting others with all of me. While also realizing that in order for me ever to really grow as a person, friend or lover- I will ultimately have to face those fears of vulnerability.
I really hate these types of blogs- the emotional/ self-reflective type, but when a girl can’t sleep at 4am her thoughts have to go somewhere. I promise there won’t be much more of these type of blogs…