Vulnerability Is…

Yesterday, I put up a writing prompt about vulnerability, and said that today I’d post my own view.

Vulnerability is opportunity.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I recently watched The Power of Vulnerability, a TED talk with BrenĂ© Brown, which helped me gather my thoughts even more.

You see, in my current relationship, we’ve got this crazy connection. It’s amazing. Deeper than I’ve ever had before, and I was married for 11 years. We’ve talked this over, and wondered what made US so special. Was it The Most Amazing Non-Sex I’ve Ever Had experience? I never thought so. I thought that was another effect of whatever it was, versus the reason for it.

And, of course, when several people told me that they didn’t even want to think about experiencing something like that with another person, I thought maybe I was on to something.

At first, I thought it was the work and responsibility that people didn’t want. Deep relationships are work and a lot of responsibility, after all. And yet, thinking about my own past experiences, I realized that I am deeper in my current relationship and it’s a LOT less work and much less responsibility, so that couldn’t be it.

Then, I started thinking about vulnerability. How when Pet and I came together, we decided to lay EVERYTHING on the table, and make this work on who we actually all, flaws and all, instead of on who we wish we were.

That was a turning point for me.

And, then, I lost a friend. The only close friend I’ve ever lost. And her reason? I wasn’t vulnerable enough with her. She was with me. I didn’t reciprocate. She was incredibly hurt. I still don’t talk with her.

Another step on my path.

So, I opened myself up even more. I started writing more. I started exposing myself. Even with Pet, I tried new things that stretched me, made me uncomfortable. I didn’t just try new things, I also spoke about my discomfort.

And, because I was watching, I realized that when Pet and I had really exposing, vulnerable moments, we drew closer together.

So, I started watching other areas of my life. And I realized when I opened up more in my writings, I got more interaction. Not always on the writings themselves, but in my inbox. People who need someone vulnerable to relate to what they are going through, to offer comfort and advice.

Yes, vulnerability is scary. Of course it is. However, I’ve found the more that I open myself to people, the less it frightens me and the more it excites me. Because the amazing potential for love and acceptance grows.

And connection is tied to vulnerability.

I’m a fan of visual metaphors. I’ve used the audio sliders metaphor before with dominance and submission, and I’m going to use it again here for connection and vulnerability.

I believe that If you imagine connection and vulnerability as sliders on an audio board, they move independently, but that vulnerability puts a stop on connection, limiting the amount of deep connection you can have to no more than 10% (a number I’m pulling out of my ass, here) of the vulnerability you show.

Sure, you can offer vulnerability and not connect. You can also get a bit more connection than vulnerability.

Vulnerability is opportunity.

Opportunity for me to connect with others. I put myself out there, other people see that and respond.

I may not even KNOW they respond. Not actually. But I see it in various ways. I’ll get a like. I’ll get a message. Someone will say something nice about me to another. Good energy and karma (whatever you want to call it) comes my way, I make more money, and just find it easier to connect with people.

Also, though, I am a better person. I have let go of nearly all shame. Fear is easier to overcome, after all, what is most fear compared to exposing your most private self to people who can rip you to shreds? I’m willing to take more risks. I make more money.

All because I’ve allowed myself to be more vulnerable.

Oh, and I don’t pick and choose.

Sure, I don’t generally sit down next to a complete stranger and explain how nervous and freaked out I was the first time I cuckolded my Pet… it was a surprise and he didn’t know, and I KNEW it had a small chance of going horribly wrong and ending the best thing I’d ever had…

But I could.

It doesn’t frighten me anymore.

Even being hurt doesn’t frighten me. I can only be hurt because I’ve made myself vulnerable. And by doing that, I’ve got so much love and acceptance and amazing people in my life whoa re happy to help me with my hurt—to listen, to commiserate, and to threaten to cut the balls (or tits) off any offender in very thin slices to avenge my every tear…

So, yeah. That’s what vulnerability is to me.