Every day, through writing this blog and talking to friends and interacting with other students and professors, I learn more and more about vulnerability.
I have been talking pretty openly about how last semester was rough. I felt lonely, I spent way too much time doing school and not enough time being with (and there for) friends, I felt anxious, sad, unmotivated, and definitely had quite a few, “What if I transfer…” thoughts.
I thought I was being pretty vulnerable about, pretty open to the people who care about me, pretty honest when people asked how last semester went, pretty authentic in how I described my experiences and what I learned and how I overcame it.
And that’s all well and good, but what about how I’m doing RIGHT NOW?
Am I open about that?
I think we do this a lot. We are all about achievements, about how we’ve overcome, about how things USED to be hard, about how LAST SEMESTER was rough.
But vulnerability is about more than that.
Vulnerability is the courage to say that TODAY is rough. That RIGHT NOW I am hurting.
Vulnerability is not about the past. It’s about the active present.
I may be vulnerable now about the hardships of last semester, but I sure as Hell wasn’t vulnerable about them when they were actually occurring.
And the scary part of that is that I didn’t even realize I hadn’t been open. It took sitting around the common room for my sorority, talking to tons of friends, casually mentioning that last semester was rough, and then hurriedly wondering why they hadn’t known, for me to realize that all this time I had been vulnerable about the past.
Vulnerability in the present is really, really hard. It’s admitting weakness that doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s admitting that you haven’t overcome it; you’re in the middle of it. Vulnerability in the present is scary. It’s admitting you don’t have your life together. It’s exposing yourself.
But it’s so, so, so important. Because how can anyone help you if you don’t tell them you need it?
Yes, vulnerability about the past is beautiful. It’s inspiring and encouraging and rejuvenating and it shows us your strength, how much you’ve overcome, and allows us to see so many beautiful and repaired pieces of your heart.
But I don’t want to just listen to you look back on your life and then pat you on the back.
I want to hold you in my arms and tell you it’s going to be okay. I want to tell you that even though things are hard right now, I am here. I am right here.
That requires vulnerability in the present.