This story was inspired by Michelle Monet and her postings on vulnerability.
I will also say at the beginning, as an “old white guy”, vulnerability is a difficult concept. There is a train of thought that goes from vulnerability to victimhood to being a survivor to…what? I don’t want to be “just a survivor”. Yes, I have survived a number of “situations”, sometimes by stealth and sometimes by courage. And, often, admitting my initiative and complicity in arriving at these situations is terribly humbling...
I think that beyond survivor is “hero”. And I know that some “white knights” raise dragons in their backyard to slay before the crowds.
I write on Medium to expose myself, my life, and my story. I have written several pieces on my battles with mental dis-ease, my history, and thoughts and anxieties of my life.
I write to help others and come to terms with myself.
And yet, I find myself often holding back from some of the emotional involvement with my own stories. (No, I don’t want to throw all of my crap out here, that is what my therapist is for.) But to write here and make any difference does require a sense of vulnerability.
“Vulnerability” is hard.
My story about losing my cat, Shyra, was probably the closest that I’ve come to sharing emotion. And our emotions are what makes us vulnerable.
Definition of vulnerability — the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
I have to remember how beautifully complex and multifaceted the human creature is. The concept of sonder comes to mind.
My story is, to some degree, the story of humanity.
Writing. Writing “well” about personal things requires vulnerability and the courage to find the things that are pertinent to our stories and say them. Sometimes this is distressing because it means we must see those, who were trusted in our lives, as human. And to admit our own gullibility.
Then, again…Not all of life should be deep and terrible and ugly. Vulnerability to the lightness of being, to calm breezes and the smell of forests and good bread is also vulnerability, though without the harm.
Maybe I should redefine it for myself as a simple openness to the emotions of life without controlling them or denying them.
So be it.
I will try.
Dana Sanford — 2019