Learning to be vulnerable is probably one of the hardest personal battles I've ever had to overcome. As a young teen I suffered with severe depression that left me feeling broken and weak. During my recovery, I built an iron-hard casing around myself, my heart, and my thoughts. I was sick of being weak and pitied, and I told myself I would never feel that way again. I've always been a very passionate and emotional person, and for years during my recovery I kept all that emotion bottled up inside with a bubbly exterior.
At first it was fake, but after a while I actually became what I had been pretending to be. I was actually happy, fully and deeply happy. But, that same habit was still there. I knew how to be happy now, and I wanted to keep it up. Show my family and the world that Lena has finally got her shit together. No, she isn't about to fall apart again. What I never realized was that every quote-on-quote functioning person had an emotional break down every once and a while. People cried in front of others. They spoke out loud about their insecurities to their friends and family. They were genuine.
The biggest thing about not letting yourself be vulnerable is that you are in-fact robbing yourself more than anyone else. You are robbing yourself of the opportunity to be a sincere, open, and transparent person, and I can say as someone newly experienceing this feeling- there is nothing quite like it. I had felt for years that my inner self was made up of multiple layers...just like shrek being an onion ha ha...but totally relevent in this situation...and most people only ever met the first couple layers. Very few got deep, and you can bet no one got to my heart. That always had an unbreaking unconscious shield around it, saying “Don't care too much, Lena, cuz then you might get hurt. You remember how much emotions can hurt when they are exposed to the air”
Oddly, I had these delusions of being a mentally and emotionally tough person. I told myself I could handle anything thrown at me because I always had my trusty heart-shield that could bounce it right off. Only now, as I get older, am I realizing that you only get stronger when you face the resistance head-on. Until you let yourself fully feel everything, and externalize those thoughts and feelings, will you truly be strong. There is something incredibly powerful about being fully known as you are. I'm sick of the armor. I no longer romantacize mystery. I'm peeling away the layers year by year. I've never felt more vulnerable, and I've never felt stronger or more alive.
I observe & write about society & culture.