When I was young, being vulnerable was not what you wanted to be. It meant weakness. It meant that everyone had to tiptoe around you and that you couldn’t do anything for yourself. You always needed help.
That is something that I didn’t want to be. I couldn’t be weak in any way, not physically or mentally. My childhood taught me that you can only depend on yourself. So, that’s what I did. I did everything.
I got older and I started resenting that I did everything. There are other adults in the house, they need to stop expecting me to do it all. I complained but the wall I built around me was too high and I couldn’t be vulnerable and admit that I can’t do everything. Life continued on the same path.
One year my life changed. I had cancer. My walls came tumbling down very fast. My vulnerability became a big part of myself.
I had chemotherapy. Parts of me had to die to live. My baldness and weakness showed my physical vulnerability. My emotions were all over the place. I would just start crying and apologizing for being a burden. Yes, I was vulnerable in every way and I did not hide it.
I have to say that 2021 was the worst year of my life. It was also one of the best years in my life. I learned that vulnerability is not a weakness. It is actually a strength. I realized that I have people that support me and are there for me. My family helped me in ways that I never thought that they could. I had a huge support system at UUCG and I am forever grateful for my beautiful friends.
I have learned that you have to be strong to be vulnerable because it’s not easy showing it to the world. I show it with my head held high. Yes, I now am a person that I always feared being. I’m okay with it. That is a good thing.
Rita, this is so heartfelt and honest. I love your reflections.
Thank you for sharing what (at least at one point in time) must have been very hard. You and your life are beautiful.
You have to be vulnerable to be strong. Wow! That is so powerful and so true! Thanks for sharing.
Always such great insights in your Words of Wisdom!