Long time no read family! How’s everyone holding up? Hopefully, you all are staying current with everything that’s has been going on in the world! From social injustice to the continuum of the Corona Virus dilemma , I have probably felt every emotion there is to be had. Today, I am taking a slight break from everything else and speaking on vulnerability.
What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word vulnerability? Recently, I was called out for requesting vulnerability from someone else but in the same breath not being vulnerable. The HYPOCRISY ! I’m grateful for that moment because I didn’t actually realize what I was doing. I was wanting so much and yet not giving that same energy. Subconsciously, I had been associating vulnerability with weakness. I literally had a family member tell me once upon a time that I was too headstrong and I would need to soften up for a man. The delivery was TRASH but some his key points held some truth. Is Strong Black Woman Syndrome a thing?! I hate needing other people. I hate having to depend on anyone besides myself. I rather make things harder for me than to extend my arm for help. I’ve watched my mom move mountains for me, as a single parent. I’m 100% sure this is where I got my independence from. To be honest, it is something I deal with daily in multiple capacities. I’ll describe to you what vulnerability looks like to me on a daily basis.
Being in a relationship and being open with your partner can be extremely hard if this is not something you are accustomed to. Everyone wants transparency, honesty, loyalty , and the whole nine. However, If you never witnessed these attributes or were taught….it’s a long road of self-awareness and learning. I was raised in a single parent household, where I didn’t necessarily witness firsthand the true love of a couple. I would experience it here and there with uncles & aunts, read about it in books, and see on television. A relationship has been one of the most humbling experiences of apologizing when I fuck up, not being spiteful, being truthful, and most of all REAL. Your partner sees all sides of you rather you try to conceal or not. My vulnerability has expanded and I feel more free to love unapologetic in these ways:
- Expressing my views when I feel uncomfortable/disrespected
- Standing firm in my opinions
- Not always putting my personal needs last
- Showing raw emotions
- Loving my partner in their love language and not mine
This is slightly similar to relationship points fore-mentioned but slightly different. The dynamics of my friendships and relationship are special to me. It can be hard being a friend sometimes based on where our personal goals and needs align. Some days or weeks I can go without talking to many of my friends. I think it can be extremely difficult setting boundaries with friends when you always aim to please or just want to have fun. You don’t want to ruin the mood or lose your friend that you have countless memories with. As I grow within myself, I am gaining more of a voice to show my vulnerability in friendships by:
- Expressing concerns
- Saying “no”
- Talking through disagreements directly instead of talking about it to another friend
This one hits hard as I often feel like I’m experiencing imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the internalized feeling of constantly doubting your accomplishments, worth, and experiences. It’s that vibe of not feeling good or smart enough for a position. You often don’t apply for the new position with fear that you are not up to par. You don’t want to be vulnerable by possibility not getting accepted into a new role. I recently took a preceptee (a person that orients to the workplace under your guidance) under my wings and boyyyyyyyyyy! I would get frustrated with myself when she had a question I didn’t know the answer to. I would feel bummed…like I wasn’t suppose to be a mentor. I always wanted to have the answers to be the primary resource. But, as the weeks passed by my preceptee would tell me how comfortable and how much progress she had gained working with me. I guess I needed her just as much as she needed me. That reassurance was everything to boost my confidence in my skills. This is just one of the ways in which I didn’t want to show my vulnerability. Here’s a few statements that can assist with my openness as a nurse in the workplace:
- “I don’t know the answer, but I can help you find it”
- “I’m not sure, but I can ask your doctor for you”
- “Let me check our policy to be sure of that statement”
- “ May you assist me in this procedure, it’s been a while since I’ve done it”
As I said earlier, these are hard! There’s so many different elements I didn’t touch on such as, family. Being open , honest , and needing assistance, makes you vulnerable and no one wants be a deer in highlights. I’m still learning that there is strength in vulnerability. I don’t have to be strong, a know-it-all, and prideful all the time. I’m taking baby steps not having to be the “strong” girlfriend, family member, or coworker around-the-clock. I CAN BE SOFT!
Do you take your chances to be vulnerable? Talk to me!! Oh yea, BLACK LIVES MATTER. Photos by Sean Taylor.