Owning My Story

Brené Brown

From an email sent to a friend:
If you are reading this now … I hit Send
If you aren’t reading this, you won’t even know this conversation almost took place.
I am chuckling as I started this email four hours ago ….
Sometimes I feel incredibly young at heart, sometimes I feel like the vulnerable little girl, wanting to be accepted, sometimes I feel as though I could be a hundred years old.
And I fear I might hit send, and regret it … or hit delete and regret that even more  …..  Well, it’s coming your way.

It seems whenever I meet up with someone new, I have to play the little “how much do I want Vuln-imagesthem to know about me?” game. This is the mental jockeying done with new encounters. Will they be a small part of my life, a work connection, a friendship, deep, superficial?? The mental assessments happen very quickly. In a recent conversation, I realized I said something that would lead to revealing more of myself than I might have wanted … I said, “they contacted me after having read my book.” As the words tumbled from my mouth, it registered in my head that in all the conversations we’d had, I never mentioned my book. The reluctant author in me, does not want patronized sympathy in place of genuine friendship.My grief story is generally not the first thing I share with others.  And yet, I have had the most meaningful connections with people, because of the willingness to be vulnerable. But the little voices in my head warn me, as I verge near the precipice of letting someone in on the painful parts of my story, that when I let my guard down I risk getting hurt. Vulnerablility Stephen Russell has said that “being vulnerable is being open for wounding … being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset.” (I can’t say that I am in complete agreement with him—my greatest asset?)
Now I know I don’t want to be, or need to be a jellyfish, exposed to everything, self-protection is needed for survival, but I also know that I want to be willing to risk. I’m still working on the risk plunge, but I am further in that direction in the wanting of it, of trusting my instincts of when to risk. I have not yet succeeded, but I’m taking great aim towards this thing. And then when I get hurt, as inevitably still happens … recovery time is lessened.
I try to keep a soft shell around my heart, it allows for more expansion.

IMG_1537Madeleine l’Engle said: When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up, we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability … To be alive is to be vulnerable.

I also used to think, I would have the answers as I got older … instead I see the number of questions increase.

 

(Jocelyn has published a book on grief; Who is Talking Out of My Head – Grief as an out of Body Experience,  available at DWFriesen Press, and through Amazon)

2 thoughts on “Owning My Story

  1. A treasure of a posting, in addressing head-on the uncertainty about how much vulnerability to reveal in encounters.
    “I try to keep a soft shell around my heart, it allows for more expansion” –I’ll carry that with me, appreciating the visual of that wisdom.

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  2. Hi Jocelyn;Another one of your blogs which I feel compelled to respond to.Things were so simple when I was raising my boys on the farm.I remember working at Salem and meeting some residents who seemed so serene and thinking to myself hopefully by the time I retire I will be just like that and have all this “God” thing figured out. It hasn’t turned out that way. God is a mystery and it has been my experience that the more a person tries to convince me they have the answer the more flaws I can see in their argument. My greatest respect is for the Mother Theresas and Henri Nouwens of this world who haven’t got it all together and daily struggle but carry on.Sometimes I wish things were easier but if they were would I be spending as much time pondering or searching for answers.I will be rereading the Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton for the next 6 weeks. Mona and Larry Danielson will be leading a discussion on it the end of Feb. Should be interesting.All The BestBev Suderman  

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