How vulnerable can we be?

How vulnerable can you be?

Can you be so vulnerable you shiver inside because you know, you just know, you’ll be judged, axed, despised, tossed away like an unwanted fetus?

Do you want to be that vulnerable

or do you want to wear a mask to cover it up?

A societal mask with lots of frills and lace and

cherubs and pansies?

A mask that holds the vulnerability within,

without allowing it to unleash upon the world,

destroying confidence and joy.

Sometimes I let my vulnerability out and wait, the frightened child

wondering what will happen next.

Usually what happens isn’t as annihilating as the child assumes.

Usually it’s gentle.

Sometimes it’s vicious,

but the bite doesn’t give rabies.

I find myself letting vulnerability arise–part of the self

watching disinterested, not really caring.

The other part whimpers, afraid.

I would rather live with the wholeness of self

than mask this one unto its early grave,

never letting it see sunlight,

never letting it scamper beneath the white pines.

What would it take to today let the vulnerable one arise,

especially when you know society prefers you keep it leashed,

controlled, hidden?

How will you respond when society hushes you away

with the curtain of respectability,

or lets you drown in your own not-knowing?

Do you have the courage to paddle to shore, no matter

what sharks threaten to nip at your legs,

harnessing your ability to swim,

diving deeper because you know

it’s what you really want,

even though it’s the scariest moment you’ve ever faced?




10 thoughts on “How vulnerable can we be?

  1. If we present ourselves to the world complete with the lace, frills, cherubs and pansies, we may fool some people, but not everyone. By showing our authentic selves to the world we are showing pure honesty, and those who respond favourably are the people we need, not those who are blinded by our glitzy masks.

    That’s one of the things I enjoy the most when I read your words, Kathy, no glitz, no mask, no frills, just Kathy. And I love you for it. 🙂

  2. I exposed my vulnerability to two people just last week; I had the attitude that they would see my comfusion, know my concern, and work with me to find a solution. I picked the wrong people. Those two were totally disinterested and one of them enjoyed watching my predicament because she felt I needed to be taught a lesson. I feel sorry for her for now she will never get to know me.

  3. How timely this is, and how deeply it resonates at this particular time in my life. I’ve been going about like a turtle without its protective shell, forced into being vulnerable, in a sense. It’s humbling, terrifying, and wonderful, I think. Thank you so much for expressing it beautifully!

  4. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

  5. “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.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

    (This is one of my all-time favorite authors)

  6. Powerful & Inspirational Kath!

    When vulnerability is at its peak willing to die to the falseness melting the mask, I have found that it breaks through people’s defenses. It is the most courageous. It is the meek inheriting the earth. It takes everything that comes on openly with a willingness to die in the fire of total exposure because the only thing that dies is the false ideas and the defenses.

    I have seen vulnerability bring down leaders who were masters of using fear to motivate. It took several years, but it happened.

    Just last week, I experienced it completely humble a visible leader at work who spoke out of fear and was met with vulnerability. He knew it, and couldn’t do enough to make up for it except… be vulnerable himself.

    The ego can kick and buck in protest, but it is so worth it.
    Thanks so much!
    I needed to read this very much!

  7. Thank you Joanne, Nicole, Barbara. Thank you Susan and Cloud. Thank you, Laurie and Ben. It feels like all of you deeply appreciate the vulnerable parts of self, of this world. It is not always easy to be vulnerable–so often others (and ourselves) mirror back the necessity of claiming confidence and assurance. I think it’s a dance between the two. Allowing our vulnerability and allowing our confidence. One aspect without its opposite becomes imbalanced. Dance on, all of us! We are the dance…

  8. You are right, rosebandit. I think perhaps some people avoid it because they want to appear confident, together, and self-assured. They may be afraid of judgment or ridicule. They may want to claim only their best side: not the totality of what they are. Maybe? Thank you for commenting.

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