Words are powerful. Tonight someone used a word to describe me that no one has ever used before and in my mind it was not complimentary, although to her, it might have been, or even neutral. Although I don’t identify myself that way, it set wheels in motion that took me to a place I clearly needed to go. The word she used evoked an image of toughness and hardness, masculine, rather than the soft, warm and fuzzy persona I prefer to exude. I admit to strength and resilience, born of necessity after being widowed at 40, raising an 11 year old son to manhood, supporting us both with several jobs simultaneously, keeping us in the same house all these years. Many’s the time I have deflected the nurturing from others that I put forth in my personal and professional caregiving roles. In the past 4 1/2 years, since both my parents have also passed, I have girded myself even further, playing social worker and minister within their hospice journeys and officiating at their funerals, as well as handling my mother’s estate. Alth0ugh I have grieved, I have also felt emotionally shut down at times; in a sense, putting a bookmark in the bereavement, a rock in the flow, so as to be able to function in my various and sundry roles. Tonight, the flood gates opened as I am on the verge of leaving my full time social worker- in -a -psychiatric- hospital job that I have held for 11 years, so that I can live my Bliss with my writing and speaking. Tomorrow is my last day there and during my tenure, I have supressed and submerged many of my emotions in service to my patients and their families. I have the feeling it will be a weepy day as I end one chapter in my life and begin another. I am willing to refrain from reading to the end of the book and instead, with courage, peruse one page at a time.
Vulnerabilty doesn’t come easily to me. It implies a need to trust that the other person has my best interest at heart and would not intentionally cause harm and would be willing, in most cases, to agree to provide comfort when needed. Much easier to be the giver, the safe haven, the comforter that wraps around them, than ask for that myself. THAT is one reason I am a Cuddle Party facilitator, since we teach what we need to learn. In the workshop, there are opportunities to ask for what you want and to be able to hear ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with greater grace and acceptance. By doing so, vulnerability is on the line, bringing with it a chance for extraordinary growth. When we don’t receive what we think we want from someone, it offers the gift of our own beauty, strength and resilience. Thank you to that person whose description of me is contributing to my healing and being real and vulnerable. May we all be willing to be seen, known and lovcd.
I enjoyed watching this video with sister Social Worker and Storyteller Brene’ Brown sharing her TED Talk take on The Power of Vulnerability. The concepts she put forth mirror my own experiences of desiring a sense of connection and belonging and despite appearances of being supremely self confident, I too question myself and my worthiness/willingness to receive.