This month’s theme is Vulnerability and Trust
I didn’t write a blog post last week. My department hosted a conference of 300 of colleagues from across the country, and Tuesday morning I woke up in my hotel room after having consumed a bit too much the evening before, focused on the panel I was moderating later in the day, and life was just so different than my usual Tuesday routine that even though I had my little reminder set, I honestly didn’t remember to blog.
I’m happy now that skipping a week doesn’t cause me to completely lose my momentum overall, that I’m back here the week after, typing away. I did have that initial disappointment that came when I told myself that no one even noticed I didn’t write, that I didn’t have hundreds of adoring fans asking where I was, that what’s the point?
But mostly I was missing the weekly practice of being vulnerable.
Somewhere along the way, this blog for me has turned into my truth serum. And, somehow, that doesn’t rely on if anyone actually reads this. That is a strange thing to say to anyone actually reading this, that I would write this even in a void.
Something about the formal process of writing, posting, sharing makes the blog seem different that when I journal (which often covers the same sorts of topics). Instead of overthinking it, wondering if I do deep-down just want people to read (I mean, that’s nice and all), why bother putting it online if I don’t want people to read as my main goal, I’m instead using it as a motivational trick to get my ass in my seat every week. It’s now a ritual.
If I can find the words here, and put them out into the world, I know that I have the words to say. If I can say them here, I can say them out loud, to the people in my life.
But, oh, when I do get feedback, that people read? I’m most blown away when my writing becomes an invitation for someone else to share, to be vulnerable.
For someone who learned from an early age to keep feelings close to my chest, to grin and bear it, to not bother others with my own problems, the simple statement, “Thank you for writing your blog” is a wonder to me.
This has happened most in the context of writing about how my struggles manifest in my running, thanks to being on a running team with over one hundred women.
Being honest with my running team has led to an ongoing team conversation about supporting others who are going through funks in their running and racing, and I’m continually amazed at the honesty of this tribe once the door of vulnerability was opened.
It is not the act of keeping all my messy and unattractive thoughts to myself that brings connection with others. I do not have to project an image of perfectionism to be liked. I don’t have to pretend to have it all together to have purpose in this world.
And I need to return to my blog, week after week, because I constantly forget this lesson and need reminding. So, yes, this blog practice is first and foremost about me. My chance to use my words to understand the whispers of thought in my brain, to pull apart the threads that bind my soul, to both acknowledge and let go of inner demons.
I know from real life, that I can’t force anyone else to meet me where I am. One of the downsides to being more vulnerable is that, sometimes, it won’t be received. I’ve had to learn that isn’t because the other person is judging me or thinks I’m an idiot or ohmygodIsharedtoomuch. It’s usually because they don’t trust their own ability to be vulnerable and haven’t learned for themselves the power of connection it brings. My goal isn’t to become a coach or preach, so I’ll never strive to be “on message” or package things in a way that will be only about how many people will read my words or about pushing them on their journey.
That may make things inconsistent and isn’t the “correct” way to build a following. But I’m most satisfied when I write what is true for me, and to lead by example to help others feel free to share what is true for them. To create a space for them to jump into, but not push them in.
I’m happy when others want to join me, but first and foremost, I need to create the space for myself.
How do you practice being vulnerable in your day-to-day life? Comment below or on my Facebook page.