Vulnerability. Complete, utter, raw honesty. I dread it more than anything.
“Elizabeth!” the sound of my name, spoken by my prof awoke my mind’s childish nightmare. I had known this moment would come. Of course it would. But I hated it all the same.
The music played and I flitted across the room. Everyone else followed my ridiculous motions. I was embarrassed and uncomfortable beyond belief. A thousand memories from my life, in which I’d danced and utterly failed, punched me in the stomach. What am I doing here? I wondered.
We were dancing in Acting class today, in case you were wondering. It was called “Finding Your Character’s Physicality.” My prof put on some music, asked us to dance in certain ways, and then finally, made us lead. All of it begged for my vulnerability–something I did not want to give at that moment.
My scene partner and I rehearsed for almost four hours. We searched for that vulnerability for our scene. We even prayed for it. It’s funny because that is exactly what I wanted yet I was so terrified of actually finding it, that I blocked myself off in every way that I could. Sometimes vulnerability is the very thing that you truly need, but what you convince yourself you don’t want.
I don’t like to be vulnerable. Its embarrassing–just like dancing in Acting was today. Its painful–you have to open up a part of yourself that you’d really like to hide. And its scary because there is the fear that once you let yourself go to someone, that person is going to hurt you.
Tonight, I let a lot of that go. I didn’t want to do it. I kicked and screamed my way there. But it needed to be done because I realized that there is no real person or real relationship when you hold yourself back. Only a fake, uncomfortable body uttering things that don’t really make sense.
You see, I’m a classic at pretending. It’s not that I mean to lie or that I’ve never had a true friend before, but on a day-to-day basis, I’m not always real. It’s hard for me to be who I am, from the inside out, with everyone I meet. Why? Because I am afraid of hurt. I’m desperately scared to know what people see when they look right through me. And I am hopelessly frightened of being left behind. These are the fears I have when I look someone in the eye and talk to them. This is what I face everyday–the fear of vulnerability. The fear of honesty. The fear of relationship.
The funny thing is that I am not afraid to write. I never have been. I don’t care if a million people read this and know my fears, but saying it to your face would be a lot harder.
But I am going to change that. Step by step. I am going to say it to your face. I am going to be real. Ask you how your day has been. Actually give you a hug or a touch. Put you first and listen hard. Talk in a real voice and bare my real thoughts, emotions, hopes, and dreams. I am going to dare to be vulnerable—because that is where true relationships are at.