Tough, I ain't ever been nothin' but tough. All my edges have always been rough ~ Kellie Picker Tough (I added the video to the bottom of the post)
We all are, to some degree, a product of our environment and the people we grew up around. I grew up mostly alone. Having to take care of myself, figure life out for myself, it wasn't bad, it was just painfully lonely. When I look at myself today, I think of myself as tough. I've been through several bouts of hell in my life thus far, it changes you. That's not all bad, or doesn't have to be. I mean, if I was as an adult, the same little girl I was at 12, I wouldn't be anything more than a fragile doll who needed constant care and a good helping of bubble wrapping! Thank god, that's not who I am. Life has hardened me, strengthened me, taught me.
However, I'm 45 and lets face facts, at best, my life is most likely half over. I don't want to live the rest the way I have lived to now. I'm grateful for the lessons, the experiences, yes, but I'm at a turning point where I'm standing solid on my own two feet... most days ;-) and I'm ready to start living, teaching, doing, being.
That's not to say I don't still have a hell of a lot to learn, but it does mean that maybe I don't have to go after the lessons so hard anymore. Maybe relax a little. Enjoy life a little. Share more with people. Let my walls down. I know one thing I'm learning right now,
is how to bring back the parts of me that life killed off, that shouldn't have been sacrificed. My romantic, my optimist, my dreamer, my sweetness, my innocence, my child like faith... I'm finding a way of embracing those things, while keeping my strength, wisdom, need to have my eyes wide open and feet solidly on the ground. I'm even, in small amounts, learning that it's okay sometimes to simply fly and not worry about my feet being firmly planted on the ground at all times.
It's an interesting process and I'm not always good at it. I feel it happening though. It may not always show on the outside, but I'm more solid in this moment than I ever have been in the past. I flip out on a fairly regular basis, but I always pull it back together. Nothing destroys me and I don't need anyone pulling me up. I do have a few good friends who will if I let them, but I don't need it and that's important to me.
So now it's time to embrace something new... being vulnerable.
It's not something I'm very good at. In fact, it terrifies me. I've been taught over the course of my life, that being vulnerable is NEVER safe. My family taught me this and taught me it well! I never even gave it much thought until last year and I met someone with whom my being vulnerable with was important for the relationship to take breath and he was important enough that I tried.
I took very shaky baby steps, and not many at that, but not one time did the world end. Hell, the relationship never even ended. So I patted myself on the back for being SO brave and moved on. :D
Fact is, it wasn't enough.
While I learned I could be vulnerable, it didn't make me willing to be. I'm realizing I want to have this ability in my life. I want to be able to be vulnerable with people I trust and not freak the hell out! I tried the other night to express something I'm formulating and it was a horrid mess and I seriously flipped out. I pushed this person away, I was angry and embarrassed and irritated with myself. My emotions erupted in a very unflattering way that wasn't fair to anyone around me. That's not the person I want to be, so me being me, I'm embraced the idea of being vulnerable and I'm throwing us both out of the plane in a tandem jump and by the time we hit the ground, we WILL be the best of friends or dead!
For me, relationships are the point of life. Without them... everything worth learning, worth experiencing, we get from a relationship, good, bad and ugly! I'm not great at them, I'm shy, can be socially awkward, I'm opinionated, I lose my mind at least twice a month and as previously mentioned I hate being vulnerable. I fail at relationships often, no matter how hard I try, but I learn from every single one of them, so I always embrace even the possibility of one. I think however, as I move into the aforementioned last half of my life, that I want to let my walls down more. I want to embrace people more, with love and acceptance. I want to be less me focused. I want to give and teach, support and encourage. Life is hard and we all struggle, I want to be there for people the way a handful have been there for me. The way I see it, learning the ability to be vulnerable is key to that.
People are drawn to vulnerability, to pure honesty. So often we communicate from behind our carefully crafted walls, but I want to take mine down and meet you in the garden, no walls, just you and me, maybe a cat, some tea, and a conversation where we learn from and love one another.
I want to be the best woman I can be.
I want to be the best friend I can be.
I want to be the best partner I can be.
I believe learning to be vulnerable will lead me there. It's not the only thing, but I agree with the statement, Love isn't love, until it's vulnerable. I want to love, truly, deeply, without fear and not merely romantic love, but the kind of love that humanity at its core searches for, I want to be able to give that. In other words, I want to temper my toughness with some vulnerability and I want to handle it from a place of strength and peace.
I know, when you ask God, the universe, life (insert whatever word you are comfortable with here) for something, what you receive are opportunities to learn... taking a deep breath and surrendering... I'm present, let the lesson begin!