The Power of Vulnerability

The Power of Vulnerability

Pull up a chair, sis. (And fellas too) This is exactly what it sounds like.  Let’s get right into it.

Vulnerability. Man, look.

The simple mention of that word is enough to make me shift my weight and squirm in discomfort.  
Allow me to explain:  I consider myself to be, pretty much, an open book. Folks know that I share my experiences online—that I can be super transparent and often use my daily situations, accomplishments and failures to both express my humanity, and to encourage myself and others on this journey called life. Even with all the perceived negatives of social media, I’ve come to find that shared experiences make one feel less alone. To know that you’re not the only one going through life’s challenges in the way that you are, can be a huge relief. At any rate, even with all of my so called “openness”, I still have the tendency to distance myself from certain situations that call for just that.  What are they? You guessed it; matters of the heart.

First, let’s look at the definition of the V word. I can barely say it without flaring up my acid reflux.
Vulnerable: adjective
susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.
 

 

Bruh. Who the HELL wants to be that?

It is simply basic human instinct to strive, at all times, to protect ourselves. Even the homie Sigmund Freud said, that “the deepest essence of human nature consists of self-preservation.”


What a mind f**k.

How in the hell am I supposed to self-preserve and seek love at the same damn time?  And that, my friends, is the question I ask myself every day.

I have literally ruined great potential partnerships by my unwillingness to open up completely, in that regard. As caring of a person as I can be, when it comes to dealing with relationships with men, I have only allowed them to get but so far, until I feel myself falling. Then, I take a lap and trap myself behind this extensional, proverbial wall.

Now, this wall? It’s not like Cheeto Satan’s alleged wall, but it might be just as absurd. In my mind, it’s made of glass, so technically, I’m able to see bae on the other side, and he can see me. (hey boo!) We talk to each other, we send cute gifts and exchange texts and calls. Every now and again, I come out from behind it when it’s time to be intimate, but I always return to my side, and he’s simply not allowed to cross the line.
Not only can that make one look emotionally unstable and partially insane, it can also be truly exhausting for the other person to think for example, that he’s getting ready to play basketball, and then I show up with a hockey stick, some cleats and a relay baton, smiling.  Girl, get your life.

The truth of the matter is, in order for me to truly love and be loved, that wall must come down. This is also not just a woman thing. I recognize that male vulnerability is a unique nuanced experience, that can be beautiful and just as difficult.

So, what does it ultimately boil down to, friends?

Fear.

Jazmine Sullivan said it best:  *sings* ‘’I’m not scared, of lions and tigers, and bears, but I’m scared of loving you.”

I feel you, sis. It be’s like that. We all know that when you lend your heart to another person, you’re essentially giving them the ability to break it into a million bite sized pieces. One day, I’ll tell y’all the full story. but basically– many moons ago– a bright eyed and bushy tailed Grace entrusted her heart to someone. Needless to say, brotha man violated in the most horrific of ways, and I haven’t quite been the same since.

Therapy? Yes. I go. But a decade later, I realize that I am still subconsciously fearful of the possibility of being hurt to that degree ever again. That said, a more recent romantic situation has taught me how much I can lose if I don’t overcome this obstacle.

I’ve come to understand that you have to harness the power of the V. (no, not that V. Nasty… Although, that post may soon come) and let it work for you. Understand that:

1. Great things are on the other side.

You might get hurt, granted. That’s life. But you also might flourish and find the great love that you’ve been yearning for. Discernment is key to deciding who and what to expose yourself to, but completely guarded emotions, cannot and will not work.

2. Self-Sabotage ain’t cute.

It doesn’t look good on you. Why push yourself further away from the things and people who are beneficial for you?  As ambitious women especially, I have no doubt that we will go for the jobs, apply for the promotion– but with love, we hesitate. Emotionally blocking yourself for the sake of safety is natural, albeit. But it can also be unproductive.

3.  You’re worth it: Say it with me. Vul-ner-ability. You will literally get nowhere from behind a glass wall. In order to move forward in love and in life, you have to open yourself up. It might not always get you the answers you want, but you will have the ones you need.

Trust yourself.

If for the first time, or like me, again.  

After all, Freud also said, “out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength.”

It’s about time for me to take his– and my own–advice.

 

By: GraceOnTheMic
Twitter & IG: @GraceOnTheMic
Previously posted on: http://www.thegraceperiod.com/
#AreYouVSOP #TheVSOPLife
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+1? 4Y!? (Plus One For Why?!)

So I’m reading this blog that I frequent, and one of the writers wrote a post about Netflix passwords. Within this Netflix password post, he starts with an anecdote about plus-one events like weddings (and eventually got to how sharing Netflix passwords with significant others is a thing, but then you gotta change the password when it’s over because the plus one on the password is no longer a plus one… really good stuff). Anyway, I couldn’t get my mind off of the plus one at a wedding. It was just a part of this writer’s set up, but it’s a common thing that people think and I can’t wrap my mind around it. Like, WHY would anybody feel the need for a plus one at a wedding?

Let’s break down what is happening in the scenario. In order to feel the need to have a plus one, said person is single. Not single like unmarried, this person is actually single. How do we know? We know because it’s a wedding, bro. I had the biggest wedding that I’ve ever been to. 250 invites that led to 220 attendees, and the guest list was a huge hassle! The wife and I fought over the guest list many a night. This means that lots of thought is put into the guest list, and everybody who is invited has been scrutinized. We see you when you’re sleeping, we know when you’re awake, we know if you live with your girl and if your relationship is serious (for goodness sake). If your relationship is serious, then two spots are saved with the quickness. If your situationship is NOT serious or if you’re not in a situationship, then you’re single, and you don’t get that plus one.

*SIDEBAR* Being that guest lists and weddings are generally on the small side, do you realize how important that invitation is? That invitation may say “You are cordially invited to blah blah blah” but what it really means is “Ay bruh, you are one of my closest MANS! You know, like REALLY important to me. Important enough that I’m gonna spend over 100 bucks on you to come eat and drink with me on the MOST IMPORTANT day of my life and all you gotta do is show up.” Do you non married people realize how dope that is? *SIDEBAR CLOSED*

Anyway, so now you’re a part of the chosen few. Keep in mind, each party only gets half of the guest list (anybody that knows me… do you realize how hard it was to limit my list to 125?!). Then the single people will send a text and ask “yo, bro… uh… what’s good with a plus 1?”. You wanna make somebody mad? Send THAT text to a person who decided you were worthy of being on their wedding guest list. That person already fought their fiancée to get you on the list last week, and didn’t get any sex as a result, and now you wanna ask for an additional person? C’mon son!

However, I get it. Society, magazines, TV, and movies make y’all feel like you need to bring a date. Fair enough. But again, let’s break this down. You’re going to celebrate a union of love between two people. Everyone loves that. The most thuggish dudes will look away during written vows to ensure that thug tear doesn’t soak his velvet suit. Everyone is smitten with love. That’s how weddings work. But have y’all not thought about who attends weddings? ALL OF THE BRIDE’S SINGLE FRIENDS! And while the thug is looking away, the brides friends said f*%k it and their brand new form fitting dress has tears soaking the straps of their halter top. Tears of happiness, and tears of yearning for THAT type of love. This is the beach, my friend. Why bring the sand?!

After the ceremony, there’s generally a cocktail hour with passed out hors d’oeuvres and free liquor. Think about this fellas. This is like the best supermarket run you’ve ever had. Instead of reaching for the same tomato and having to make small talk, you and a finely dressed lady that is still swooning over the love in the air, are reaching for the same bland stuffed mushroom plate and with an alcoholic drink in your hand and an automatic commonality that you both can easily bring up to break the ice. If that’s not a Chris Paul to Blake Griffin alley-oop, I don’t know what is. Additionally, you JUST started drinking so you still have your wits about you!

Still not convinced? Cool. Let’s play out the plus one scenario. You asked the baddest single woman you know to stunt on these hoes at the wedding. You pick her up and she looks like a Thanksgiving spread at Grandma’s crib. You’re hyped. You roll up there and help her out the car door (because you’re reading VSOP and you’re a gentleman #nshit). You roll up in the wedding with her on your arm. Every dude there gives the mandatory black man’s head nod. Every chick gives her and you the once over. You even see some eye rolls. You won! Then cocktail hour happens. You can’t really mingle how you wanted to because you have to introduce her to all your boys. You can’t meet anybody attractive cause that’s kinda disrespectful. You have to continually get up and get her drinks if she’s not very social, because she doesn’t know anybody there. You can only really dance with her all night because the other attractive women are swooped up by the real unattached guys there and they’re looking for love. Now you’re bored and as a result you drink too much and your date gets mad at you and now y’all gotta call an Uber and leave early. You just had a night of introductions and conversation with somebody you don’t really care ALL that much about. On top of that you heard rumors that one of the bride’s male friends dirty macked on her while you were getting her a drink and he bagged it. That night sounds like it sucks to me.

Furthermore, two months later, the two of you decide it’s not really working out. The sex got repetitive, the conversation was lacking, your friends don’t intermingle well, she’s a vegan and judges you for eating a steak, you prefer ESPN to episodes of The Bachelor, and you heard that she was seen at the movies with the bride’s friend from the wedding. Yup. Soak that in. So what did you actually do here? You just brought a random, who nobody will ever see or think about again, to the event that your good friend threw to celebrate the most important day of his life. You took pictures with said random that are in your friend’s wedding photo album FOREVER. That random took away a seat from another important person in your friend’s life, and it’s all for not. Thanks, homie.

So don’t be that guy. Don’t bring replaceable sand to the beach. Don’t ask for a plus one. You’re just causing damage. Embrace your single. Find your new queen (for the night) there. I’m not saying that this happened at my wedding or anything… but you MIGHT get lucky in the bridesmaid suite with one of the bride’s homies. Love is in the air, after all.

By: Doug R.

@wildmanjones

#AreYouVSOP