Recently I have been avoiding putting pen to paper, mostly because I wasn’t sure what would come out. I knew that eventually I would have to slap myself down in a chair until thoughts and emotions started congealing into coherent sentences. I think part of the problem is that after a recent breakup, I haven’t really felt singular, isolated emotions. They seem more nuanced, more blended, but one things for sure they are damn near impossible to slap a clean label to. In the beginning I would feel devastated, knowing the engine that fueled all of our warmest memories as a couple had finally ran out of fuel. Yet in the same moment I will feel the lightness that comes with getting my wings back. I feel as if I had been on a road trip with someone, and in doing so had to pull over whenever they had to pee, were hungry, or wanted to check something out. I let that person off at their stop and now the road is wherever I want it to go.
As I said before about blended emotions, even being free brings mixed feelings. It’s amazing how exiting a relationship can make you feel; like you have lost your shelter and are now out in the cold. That cold is vulnerability, and the only thing that shelter protects you from is growth. The ironic thing is that the only way to truly grow is to walk out from under that shelter the second you feel it growing around you. By no means am I saying that all relationships shelter you from vulnerability; On the contrary, healthy partners should constantly push one another to venture back out into the cold and maximize their potential. The relationship should exist to offer some comfort from the cold, like a campfire in the woods, a place to come back to after a long adventure and take the chill out of your bones. But the less time you and your partner spend adventuring in the cold, the less you both grow.
I think that the cold of vulnerability can be dealt with in two different ways. One is the fear reaction, as if you are standing on a shoreline unwilling to enter the waters of the unknown, terrified from the possibilities that may arise. The other is the faith reaction. This is where the LOVE enters the picture. As long as you promise to love yourself completely, unconditionally, or at least the best you can, nothing can really touch you. It is your armor. You can enter into any creative endeavor, any task, any weighted situation where there is a possibility to lose something, and as long as you promise to show yourself some love at the end of the day, nothing can truly hurt you. Don’t get me wrong there can be pain, you can scrape your knee, you can lose all of your material possessions, but when you love yourself these instances are not only tolerable, they are an opportunity for you to evolve. After all, what truly worthwhile life lesson comes from being perfectly comfortable and secure?
Now that the shelter has fallen, it has brought me face to face with vulnerability. In the past I crumbled from the cold and sought whatever shelter came my way. I thought that because the unknown felt scary and difficult it was to be avoided and not embraced. Now I know that the only way is to look straight into the eyes of the beast. To go all in with my chips. To become one-pointed in my actions, uprooting the weeds of fear by focusing my energy in a positive direction. Dealing with vulnerability is like learning how to ride the bike for the first time, only you are both the person learning how to ride and the person who is picking you back up again. You always fall, but your teacher is there to pick you back up and give you another push. The point is to enjoy the ride, but the only way to do so is to risk falling. Without the risk there is no joy of the ride. We just need to make sure that we are always there to pick ourselves up and give it another go.