“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
I feel often like I just don’t have the right words for various situations. I can’t say anything right, as much as I put myself out there. I open myself up thus I am almost always in a vulnerable stance just trying to be brave and walk through. In listening to Brene’s talks (various ones) on the subject of vulnerability and shame I realize that without vulnerability things just don’t happen; people lose their courage. And being vulnerable is having that courage to keep going; to do what it is that we need to do or that we feel compelled to do.
There are times when I feel more vulnerable lately, that I can put my finger right on the feeling like:
- when I take medications to stay alive 3 times a day, the reminder that I am vulnerable to health related stuff is very prominent.
- I feel vulnerable when I am around my aging parents and I think that I may not have too much longer to enjoy them, then I question whether I am valuing them enough, even when I am damned sure trying my hardest to be the best I can be by them.
- When I am trying to talk to a woman I am interested in, my fear of rejection makes me very vulnerable, but I try to have the courage and just do it.
I know I haven’t always been a walk in the park for them. I gave them some serious trouble and a run for their money. I was a tough kid, a confused kid and certainly caused my share of trouble. I think the first time I got caught doing something wrong other than not putting my toys away right, was when I got caught with a porn magazine in my garage rafter fort.
This was probably the most memorable and earliest time I can think of that I felt shame and vulnerability in my young life. I had built a platform high up in the rafters of the old tin garage we had. The structure itself was pretty rickety from decades of being subjected to the harsh climate of southern coastal Maine. It had been patched up, altered, added on to, subtracted from and abused in just about any way that was suitable for whatever it’s current use was supposed to be. At one time it served as a barn for a couple of old cows, I remember those being there, and a couple of pigs living in an adjacent shed that is now gone. That was before we lived in the house, my cousins were renting it then and had farm animals. When we bought the house the evidence of the farm animals residing there in the old tin shed was quite obvious.
We used the old shed for a bazillion things, everything from actually storing a car, which barely fit, and you couldn’t open the doors very far so ya had to be skinny as fuck to get in and drive it out of there. It was my uncles’s old wood side panel station wagon, affectionately called the “Woodie”My Uncle, Dad’s half brother lived with us for a short time in the 70’s…it was short too, Dad booted his ass for continually coming home drunk.Dad was strict about that shit, he didn’t want any of his kids to be around alcohol in any way. I never saw the guy drink more than 2 beers on a Sunday while watching the ball game and I certainly never saw him drunk.
I think my Uncle was drunk most of the time, he was loads of fun! I do remember that and he used to bring home some awesome things and once he brought home a used, beatu up but functional Honda 50 mini bike….for me! And then he fixed it up and did a bunch of modifications to it and made it into a little mini-chopper! I had the only Honda 50 chopper tin town, It was a bitch to drive in the woods and trails I do recall. I wish I could find a photo of that mini bike now. I did love that thing, and it was my first introduction to feeling really masculine doing something. heres’ a picture of one, not mine but similar.Sooo….where the fuck was I going with all of this? Ah! My rafter fort. And the porno book. I only got caught with it because someone told on me! She was a good girl and knew that I wasn’t supposed to have the explicitly detailed book that I had found on the side of the road up near the bar on the main road. it must have fallen out of someone’s car or been thrown out. Either way, it was just laying there saying “pick me up” And I did. She asked her mother if it was alright for me to have it, and of course her mother marched right up the road to see my mother immediately and the two of them confiscated the book.
I had a couple of old tires up in the rafter fort, I would hide things like cigarrettes and matches in an old snuff tin that I had gotten from my grandfather. I would keep my pen and notbook up there so I could write when I wanted to, and I kept some of the books I was reading up there. I would get out of school days and retreat to that little secluded fort and would be happy as hell reading, writing and trying to learn how to smoke cigarettes.
Now getting caught with it was very embarrassing. Plus it resulted in foreclosure on my fort. Down the fort came, and Dad wasted no time taking it down board by board. I think the embarrassment was sufficient enough, I was pretty damned ashamed of myself for displeasing my father (who I have tried to please all of my life, but that’s another story). The book was a novel type and didn’t have many pictures except in the middle of the book where they tipped in a set of erotic shots. No big deal but not suitable reading for a 6th grader.
I then had to start at ground zero on the fort front and find a new location and set up. The next fort would be further from the house…an ground level stone fort. Yup, I was a fort builder from way back. *smirk*
I felt vulnerable in the case with the book for several reasons. First, I didn’t hide the book well enough, I wasn’t a good enough hider! Secondly I trusted the wrong person to know that I had the book, I was a bad judge of character. Third, shame, I shouldn’t have had the book to begin with and was ashamed of myself. Forth I was vulnerable through embarrassment of everyone of my siblings knowing that I had been caught with a “grown up sex book” as it got called. The word pornography was far too large for a kids vocabulary at that time.
Anyone curious of the name of the book? Linda Lovelace- Deep Throat. NOT 6th grade reading! LMFSAO
Getting caught with the book was the very beginning of my teenage troubles….it all just kind of snowballed from there, and not in a very good kind of fluffy snowball way. But every experience leads us to who we are today, so I suppose I had to go through stuff to get right where I am in life and through having each and every experience I have had I have grown and learned…never stop growing and learning, and never be afraid to be courageous!
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
― Brené Brown,
One thought on “Vulnerability…and a story”
I wish I’d had a fort but we had no place for one. I remember finding part of a porn magazine behind the library in town one day. I had no place to hide it though so I just looked at it and put it back. What a thrill though! It sure put some ideas in my head! Anyway, hopefully you all can look back at that experience with a bit of humor now and realize it’s not all that unusual for a kid to be curious about sex.