A Moment of Vulnerability

Learning Things About Yourself Can Be a Bitter Pill to Swallow.


Vulnerability is usually associated with the negatives: weak, betrayal, hurt, pain.

Some of us fear being judged when we open up. Some of us are unforgivable in our emotions and simply speak without care.

To be vulnerable, in this moment, is to have courage. I’m being brave enough to share something that I’ve heard all of my life and took up till now to accept.

Usually, I’ll have no issue communicating or standing up for someone else. But I couldn’t do it for myself.

I’ve imprisoned myself to a realm of pleasing others in fear of loss, of judgment, of ridicule if otherwise. And I never once looked to see what a world outside of that would look like. Because being continuously slapped down kept me down, no matter how many times I fought it. Eventually, I grew tired and gave up.

I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. Boundaries were not respected, and the same question(s) kept being thrown at me until I gave “yes” as an answer. And I’ve struggled since. We learn to swallow our truth and keep it down when resistance feels futile. The validation of others, especially from those we look up to, becomes important. We want so badly for their respect and acceptance that we’ll do anything for it.

And the only people who are happy are them.

And then we build resentment that makes us sick, where anger nestles and bubbles into explosive outbursts because the situation was never healthy to begin with.

Then, we apologize. Profusely. Even when there’s nothing to apologize for. We apologize.

Step on eggshells to avoid further conflict becomes normal.

Communication is supposed to be a healthy thing, not a weapon when it’s convenient.

In my adult years, I feel no different than Ariel when she gave her voice to Ursula. I had none. It didn’t matter. Just going with the flow and agreeing was so much easier than fighting a useless battle. I was the diplomatic manager who tried to find a peaceful way to make things better when everyone else just wanted to keep sweeping the same toxic shit under the rug. My methods didn’t work. It’s so easy to fall into the people-pleasing trap in the work environment.

My eyes opened when I found myself unable to be assertive when I needed to. When all I had to do was provide a simple yes/no answer that I wound up turning into an essay question. The very thing I hated. I feared disappointing, of letting people down, of eventually turning them off from me—meanwhile, while our generation is understanding towards mental health, there’s also a limit to how much is acceptable. We are far too overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out to have as much patience as we’d like.

I feel selfish for asking, and not always able to reciprocate.

I sometimes fear the word “no” with concern of retaliation, of there being a negative outcome. And I’ve given myself headaches with the amount of worry I’ve had over what others thought of me after, of gravely over-analyzing situations. This is just the way it’s always been. I’ve held myself back by locking myself in this claustrophobic chest of unnecessary anxiety—withheld my own success and the version of myself that I want to be.

I’ve agreed to things I otherwise would have rather revisited to avoid my current unhappiness. Because I think there could be success if there were to be compromise.

I was afraid of creating a problem, of being disrespectful, of appearing ungrateful.

My eyes are bloodshot with awareness now that they’ve been opened. People are going to think what they do of me. And I hope that whatever friendships I’ve wounded can be repaired. I once thought being soft and sensitive was a bad thing, I do think I maintain compassion in my thoughts and words and can allow myself to be a little more selfish regarding my wants and needs. Perhaps allow myself mental clarity without the continuous buzzing of the what-ifs I have no control over. I’m ashamed of myself. But I want to take the steps to be better.

And I am grateful for those in my life, who still smile at me through my flaws. Friends like that deserve to be embraced. I swallow this truth of mine. That doesn’t mean now that I acknowledge it that I accept it. I don’t. I refuse…because I know I have a voice.

Thank you for being in this moment of vulnerability with me. I think a really good first step is releasing that negative energy. If you are feeling any particular way(s) negatively, I strongly suggest trying it. Holding in any emotion that does not serve you is none worth holding onto.

3 comments on “A Moment of Vulnerability”

  1. #wisdom right there, great writing as always Concetta!
    All you can do is accept and support yourself and those you love in the best ways you can. Or in Shakespearian tongue, “I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.” Macbeth.

    I’ve been dabbling with a form of this myself lately.
    I’ve always been a quality communicator, hell: this is the area area that even my manager upgraded in the annual review I’m still salty about (I’ll digress on that for now, but you know the one). The walking on eggshells part is something I’ve felt before, but honest and respectful communication has always helped get to the best possible outcome. I just hated that eggshell feeling so much that I wouldn’t do it anymore. At first I was brash, but then found my voice – I imagine it as Sean Connery in Dragonheart. Now when I see eggshells, I know they aren’t mine at least, but respect the passive-feelings scattered around them.

    As it’s come to communicating and defining boundaries as well as appreciating the boundaries of others, it’s been helpful for me to redefine “friend” and “acquaintance” for this current chapter of my life.

    -Values the relationship when convenient or when there is opportunity/need for gain.
    -Writes you as a *sub-character in their story.
    -Is still learning how to love and respect themselves and therefore can’t reciprocate the love they receive.
    I feel the term “fair-weather friend” works so well here. Make no mistake, acquaintances have a place in our lives too. After all, they are potential friends – we all probably start here. For me, I’ve found the ones that linger here are most often takers. Which is another reason why it’s so important to have boundaries as a giver (I mean exclusively when it comes to Takers), because the takers have NONE.

    Time is the most limited resource and where we choose to spend it means everything in our life. I personally would not find fulfillment surrounded by acquaintances.

    -Values the relationship through thick and thin.
    -Shares in a story with you.
    -Reciprocates love and respect.
    I believe the only way you can have quality friends is to first BE ONE. I’ll always be the first to give trust and believe that even though it’s hurt me (countless times) in the past, it’s gifted me the greatest people in my life. I LOVE THEM. We celebrate one another through in matters most and put in the time and effort, even though it’s sometimes challenging. There are no limits to what I would do for my friends/family and at some point, we are all called upon to show how committed we each are to the relationship one way or another.

    I’ve only lost friends to two things: death, or by realizing that while they were my friend, I was only ever their acquaintance and not worth effort to them. It’s extremely rare and never facetious, we’re all growing and discovering more about ourselves. Some simply discover their “limitations” before they’re able to realize – THEY NEVER ACTUALLY HAD ANY. But that’s the beauty of growth and relationships; we find our way eventually and it’s never too late to mend something that’s broken.

    Love before, after, and during.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kindness, wisdom, and for sharing in this moment with me. Being vulnerable is not often something I’m accustomed to being, but perhaps is another skill I can strengthen.

      I could never imagine taking from someone to that extent. However, I know the feeling too well of being wide open for the takers to just have their fill and leave drippings behind. While some of us fear how selfish we are, for others it’s a limitless escapade. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my loved ones, and I do the best I can when I can–but it took A LOT of weeding to get to where I am with the people I have in my life currently. They are all part of the story we’re all crafting together, each holding their own chapter. One hell of a cast, if you ask me.

      In my experience, people come into our lives to teach us a lesson. Some (the acquaintances) are there to teach you something you needed to learn, and that in itself can be enriching. They cannot withstand some of the pains, trials, and tribulations that come with friendships. Others (the friends/family) show that you can choose your family, that are there for you in the brightest and darkest of moments. They’re the ones who surprise you by staying.

      And I value that so deeply.

      Personally, I cannot handle a large circle of both friends and acquaintances. It’s a bit stifling, don’t you think? The smaller my circle is, the better. That much I do know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Couldn’t agree more on every character teaching you something valuable. Hell, some of them are the ones that help me redefine what these relationships are and where to best invest my friendship.

        I’ve told people as they’re invited to gatherings that “my guests are the best soul I’ve ever met” and I mean it.

        I do LOVE people in general, so big circle are welcome. I genuinely feel most acquaintances are a potential friend and like you mentioned, they have their lessons to teach you as well. So for those individuals are where I have to set boundaries. Sometimes it takes some time to figure them out, that’s for sure. For friends, I have no limits. That’s why it’s a MARVEL level cast up in here!


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