It’s funny how things run in cycles. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post called, “Reparenting the Inner Child.” The nuances of that post are being further revealed today. That post was about safety; this post is also about safety albeit a different kind.
The question has come up a few times this week, “Why did I write Just a Girl from Kansas?” Specifically, what do I get out of it? I realized on Thursday, the personal reason I wrote the book is to prove to myself that it’s safe to be me. It’s safe for me to be who I am out in the world; it’s safe for me to be vulnerable.
So much of my story, so much of my childhood, has been about hiding who I am for fear of harm. I learned early on to hide who I was and only reveal my true self around certain people. Writing Just a Girl from Kansas was an act of defiance. My adult self proving the world has changed, I have changed, and it’s fine for me to not only reveal my true self, but reveal the most intimate parts of myself.
I’ve heard it said intimacy could be broken down as, “into me see.” I would say that’s true. When I’m vulnerable, you are seeing into me and that’s scary because what if you don’t like it? What if you decide it’s not good enough, I’m not good enough, and you run in the other direction? Vulnerability and thus intimacy can be painful and scary. All day today I’ve wanted to hide away, build a wall around myself, and post a sign that says, “KEEP OUT.” Vulnerability is scary for people and I am no exception, but it’s important to let others see into me.
Because we’re talking about vulnerability, I have mention another post I wrote in which I linked to Brené Brown’s Ted Talk on the subject. She asserts vulnerability creates connection and I’ve found that to be the case. When other people see into me, my friendships are richer, deeper. We don’t talk about what Miley Cyrus is up to – we talk about what’s real, what’s happening in our lives, and that wouldn’t be possible without vulnerability.
I keep making myself vulnerable because the rewards outweigh the risks and sharing who I am reminds me I’m not as alone as I think. C.S. Lewis captures this sentiment perfectly when he says, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Being vulnerable, being who I really am in the world reminds me there are others like me, other people dealing with the same issues, and that allows me to cope in a far greater capacity than I could on my own. That is why I let other people see into me.
I dream of a world where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. A world where we remember as scary as it is, the rewards outweigh the risks. A world where we know it’s safe to be ourselves. A world where we remember we are not alone. A world where we let others see us for who we are.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.