Vulnerability…and a story

“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:

  1. when I take medications to stay alive 3 times a day, the reminder that I am vulnerable to health related stuff is very prominent.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Story time….

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.Mini bikeSooo….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,

 

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Ugly Women and TED Talks

Whoa, I slept all of Saturday away!  I must have needed it, or my body wouldn’t have wanted all that sleep!  Seriously, I never woke up til 11:30, and then I laid back down and woke up again at 2:30pm this afternoon.  I stayed up only because I had to go out and get smokes. I am trying a new brand, American Spirit greens.  They’re organic cigarettes…doesn’t that sound a little fucked up?  “Organic” cigarettes?  Like they are supposed to be good for you if they are organic?  LMFAO….yeah, right. I had a coupon that the American Spirit representative that stopped in to our store last week had given me for 2 packs for 2 bucks…almost free ciggs, so I couldn’t pass it up.  Anyways, grabbed 2 packs today of the green menthols.  I normally smoke Newport Smooths, in the black pack, and I like them – a lot.  These were supposed to be similar, but I think the dark greens are probably closer to what I am looking for in strength and taste.  Oh well, try them next time.   In the meantime I will keep these I got today and use them for back up for when I run out of my regular smokes. I know I should quit…don’t even go there telling me so please. It’s my last bastion of rebellion…my smokes.

I’ve always said – usually kiddingly, but there is some sincerity in it – that I don’t date ugly women.  I just don’t do it.  I think that all women have beauty, whether it’s in their exterior looks or in their interior beautiful hearts.  There is no such thing as an ugly woman…unless you go to Walmart on a Saturday morning and see the fools in their yoga pants and tent style t-shirts with camel toe or ass crack showing.  Even they are not “ugly” just really really really stupid.  And obviously they don’t have any friends who are willing to tell them how outrageously stupid they look in that garb – in a public place!  Hell I wouldn’t even understand it in a private setting!  But hey, we’ve all seen the outrageous People of Walmart web pages and it’s true, people will go out looking quite foolish and not seem bothered by it one bit.

Me? I have to look normal when I leave my house.  I will NOT wear pajamas out of the house.  I know some people will go to the store wearing their pajama bottoms and slippers but i just can’t do it. If I have to go up to the store and I am sitting around in my leisure clothes I will get up and get fully dressed in jeans and boots before I go out that door.  I’m not looking like a fool and making the People of Walmart page!  HAHAHAHA   The house would have to be on fire for me to leave it in my pajamas.

I’ve dated some knock out gorgeous babes in my day.  I’ve been extremely fortunate in that respect.  I’ve also dated some seriously smart women – those are my favorites!  A woman who can carry on an intelligent conversation will win me over every time.  It’s like I am attracted to the nerds mostly.  The librarian types are right up my alley. Yes, I just love the smart ones!

I had a young woman write to me today about Brene’ Brown’s TED Talk on Vulnerability. I’ve spoken about that talk before in past blogs. I just love it. I’ll add a link at the end of this blog for those wanting to check it out.  It is an outstanding piece.  Anyways this young woman said:

“I just had to watch this TED talks video by Bene Brown on Vulnerability for one of my grad school classes and it made me think of you! Like you are a perfect embodiment of that entire discussion. I know you’ve seen it cause I remember you mentioning it. I loved how she talked about vulnerability not a weakness, but actually being our most accurate measurement of courage. I instantly thought about you and your blog and videos and how you have the courage to put yourself out in the world and to allow yourself to be so vulnerable. I also liked how she defined courage as telling the story of who you are with your whole heart. That’s exactly what you do. You might be one of the most courageous people I know.
Whenever you’re feeling down and think you don’t matter to the world, I want you to know that you do. You are making a difference in the lives of many people you don’t even know about. All just by being you.
You inspire me. And you inspire the world.”

I was quite honored by her words.  It amazes me when I get emails like this that tell me that I am inspiring someone or that my blogs or videos are helping some young LGBT person, or hell some old one too!  I just write from my heart. Sometimes I address topics that are on my mind, sometimes it’s just me rambling.  I truly believe that we change the world one person at a time.

Here is the TED Talk by Brene’  The Power of Vulnerability 

Peace & Love

~MB