Monday, December 26, 2011


I know I've written about this before at some point but I'm finding that I have to keep coming back to it until I finally 'get' it.

A friend of mine posted this TED talk on Facebook today and it really made me stop and think about the way I've been feeling lately and how it relates to vulnerability.

Being vulnerable is incredibly difficult for me. I've known this for some time now and have been doing some of my own inner work around it. As she talks a bit about in the video, I have taught myself how to be numb. I've told myself that becoming numb keeps me safe. It's a self defense mechanism. It's one that I've become quite proficient in.

The problem with this is that we can't selectively numb the feelings we don't want to feel. We have to do it in an all or nothing style. We have to numb all of our feelings in order to get 'rid' of the bad ones. This leaves me feeling, well, not much to be honest. I worry that I've done it so much in my life that I've lost all ability to feel.

But then a moment creeps up on me where I know that I'm truly feeling. Not just a general sense of happiness but more of an incredibly intense feeling of happiness, joy and/or love. One that completely envelopes you and makes it feel as if your heart is going to swell up so big that there is no way it'll fit inside your chest if it doesn't stop.

In those moments when I let go and actually feel love, joy, happiness and connection with someone I notice that I don't allow myself to stay in that space. I feel myself recognize it and instantly start to figure out how to stop it by thinking about something else. Something to stop the tears because when I feel that intensely I can't help but cry.

It happened just the other night while I was holding my girl and playing with her hair. I felt that intensity of love rise up through me, fill every cell of my body then completely envelope her. Then I felt the tears start to well up and I panicked. I thought of something else and pulled back the tears. I stopped feeling out of fear. I was afraid of it.

“God forbid” I actually allow someone to see me cry! Even if they are “happy” tears. Seeing someone else cry, I have nothing but compassion for them and just want to hug them. I even tell them that crying is good therapy!

But, showing that compassion to myself has never been an option for me in my eyes. Crying in front of someone will show weakness and showing weakness is shameful. Why? Where did that come from and why do I feel like I need to let it persist? What is it really doing for me? Keeping me “safe”? Safe from what? Living?

I don't want to stop those intense feelings. I want the pins and needles tingling to come and the numbness to go away. I want to live in the moment and feel each and every feeling that life has for me. Most importantly, I want to be seen, to love with my whole heart, practice gratitude, stop catastrophizing, and believe that I am enough.

Looks like I've got a lot more work to do around this.

Thank goodness I have a couple of new journals to use.


  1. I've been pondering a post on a similar subject - there is something about expressing the truth of love that brings such fear for me. And yet, it is truth. Thanks for this reminder... and stay tuned for more from me over on my blog in the next day or so...

  2. vulnerability, especially when you've been hurt enough to know what real vulnerability is, can be a terribly scary thing. But so very worth it when you see the love reflecting back at you because you're suddenly more open to it...

    Just out of curiosity, do you think at least a small part of that fear is to do with a butch gender ID? My partner has said before that she worries if I see her cry that I'll think of her as somehow 'less butch.' (Which is absurd, of course, because it takes just as much strength to let go and cry as it does to hold it all back).

  3. Honestly, I think a large part of that fear has to do with being butch. Several things from my past come to mind around this such as being told to "suck it up", being shamed for crying, and being told that I wasn't "butch enough".

    It's very similar to the way we socialize boys in this society.

    Rationally, these things really shouldn't get to me but the programming is so deep. It'll take some time to reprogram, for sure.