i am this girl
By embracing what is true and real and very much a part of me, I am bringing my entire self to the table. I am offering a person who has thought of all the possibilities beforehand, not a worrywart. I am bringing the heart of a warrior, not someone who's too scared to try. I am holding in my hands the promise that I will look harder and see the underneath.
I've been going through a certification to be a Brave Leader with Brené Brown. If you've not read her research or watched her Ted Talk, let me just say that the very second you finish this post, you click your little fingers on those links up there and watch your life change. OK? OK.
So her life's work is based on the idea that in order to combat shame, we have to be vulnerable. And that those two things, when fused together, equal courage. And my gosh if this learning is not the coolest thing. If I had to boil the work down to one sentence, it's that we all need the guts to show up and be seen, and when we go for it, magic happens.
So let's break this down.
Vulnerability. It doesn't mean weakness or exposure in the way you might think at first. It means taking risks and developing the courage to do what matters. Now that's easy to type but definitely not easy to do. And so while I've been reading her stuff for years, it's never made a lot of sense in terms of practice.
But I think I am on to something now.
We avoid being vulnerable because we don't feel ready to be seen. Yes, we want to be known, but we fear that we're not worthy of it yet. We think that maybe if we get really good at something, or lose ten pounds, or finally graduate that maybe then, we'll be see-able. We think we've got to do some chiseling before we are ready to stand and be counted.
And therein lies the problem.
We need to be seen now. Not later or if or when.
The stuff we think is too ugly, is exactly the stuff that has to stay.
The stuff we think has to go, is a part of us too.
As a survivor of abuse, I have often felt like what I bring to the table isn't quite enough. That maybe it's just a little too...little. That the color isn't right or the laugh is too loud or the skills just aren't enough. But in doing this work of being vulnerable, I realize that every single thing I bring to the table fuses together to make the person who is seen.
It's not about concealing parts or waiting for them to finally change. The things are what they are. The things are the things. And they're coming with me whether I want them to or not.
Yes, I am different in some ways. There are things about me that don’t line up the way I wish they would. But the very things I fear are the things that I must embrace in order to be seen.
It’s deciding that I don’t need approving nods that say all this is OK.
It’s realizing that I’m the one who decides.
It means that I have to offer myself peace. Instead of constantly trying to shake off the dark before I enter the room, I have to decide that I'm the person I am because of all of this. So I needn't shy away because I fear I'm too different to contribute. By embracing what is true and real and very much a part of me, I am bringing my entire self to the table. I am offering a person who has thought of all the possibilities beforehand, not a worrywart. I am bringing the heart of a warrior, not someone who's too scared to try. I am holding in my hands the promise that I will look harder and see the underneath.
If I long to be seen, for who I really am, it means bringing all those things with me. It means bringing along the girl with the sometimes broken heart.
It is deciding to show up. Right now.
It is saying dammit if I haven’t tried to scrub this all away. To be better or learn more or look different or try harder or study or hide. But it doesn’t go.
I am this girl.
And this girl has a heart of fire.
Not later when she’s ‘better’ or more like everyone else.
But in this minute, when the things are the things and she is who she is.
This is vulnerability, guys.
It’s loving your freaking self enough to stop looking in the mirror expecting someone not enough.
It’s saying, some fucking awful stuff has happened to me. And some beautiful things have happened to me.
And I am this girl because of both.
You are you because of both.
And there's plenty to bring to the table.