On vulnerability

I listened to Woman’s Hour on the way to visit a girlfriend today, Brené Brown was on talking about vulnerability. I’m going to listen to her TEDTalk, when I’ve finished this. I’m also going to buy her book. ‘Why?’ I hear you all ask excitedly.

Brené talks about perfectionism, and about how if you try to line all your ducks up in a row and outsmart your shame by showing everyone how ordered, perfect, fabulous your life it – it really isn’t.

Hello?

Universe, whack me over the head why don’t you?

People who show up in their lives, who accept themselves as they are, realising that they are enough, are much happier, have the ability to show they’re vulnerable, to ask for help, to just be. I keep hearing the same thing said in different ways, and still I don’t always get it. I let the external forces of (and in my life) dictate what I feel I should do.

Which is why I think this year has been huge for me. My integrity, honour and professionalism were being taken into question. My name is all I have at work, my reputation precedes me when I send an email. Trying to do what was the right thing, what had been the right thing, suddenly wasn’t. It threw me a curve ball that I wasn’t able to cope with, because I didn’t have the time in my life, in my day, to figure it out.

I spent all day working as fast as I could to get things done on stupid deadlines, because why plan to do things on time; when even if you asked for something two weeks ago, you’ll only get it back the day before. I’d run around to get home, to then run around to get everything ready to leave the next day again. While the systems I’d put in place were working, my health and mind suffered. I didn’t leave room for me, because, apparently it’s more important that my house was clean, rather than me going for a walk. It was more important to surf the internet, than to stop and think, it was more important to have a smartphone, than to actually keep in touch with the people it was meant to keep me in touch with.

Ok, I had a commute into and out the city every day, Facebook keeps me in touch with people, but does any of this add up to a hill of beans when I’ve a stack of books by the side of my bed I’ve not had a chance to read, because in my vulnerable state, it’s easier for me to surf the internet and look at crap, rather than channel my thoughts internally, in case I don’t like what I find?

No. A big, fat, rainbow yawp of a no.

This is my life. My only life. It’s not a dress rehearsal. Making a decision to leave where I was working, was the biggest decision I’ve made since we as a couple decided to get pregnant. I kid you not. I could have sat there, doing the same shit, every day. Complaining about how hard done by I was. But then I spoke up about something so fundamentally unfair and illegal, and got shouted down, after that choosing to leave where I had once loved to work – it was easy.

Finding a new job was problematical, there wasn’t a huge amount about, but on my second application, I got lucky. My ethics are still as strong as they ever were, I’m still here, I may have been a bit bent, bashed and battered, but you know what? I have lived through worse.

But I didn’t have a child to show ‘This is how you do what’s right’.

I hope that I can continue to grow and be vulnerable. Be enough. Just as I am.

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