I have been fascinated by the work of author and researcher Brene Brown. I discovered her on Oprah’s Life Class and have been intrigued every since. I recently bought her book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” The timing seemed impeccable because I’ve been struggling with perfectionism, shame, and vulnerability for a long time and I’m ready to move past them.
I’m happy to report that I’ve been in a healthy, loving relationship with a great guy for a little over a year now. Given my past, vulnerability has been tough to overcome. Vulnerability, as Brown defines it, means to “show up and be seen. To ask for what you need.” Wow, if this wasn’t an a-ha moment. And with my boyfriend’s help, I’ve been able to see that I struggle with this even outside of romantic relationships.
Many people grew up to believe that to be vulnerable meant to be weak. I wasn’t raised this way but I have discovered that as a child I determined on my own that being totally open and emotionally naked could lead to disaster. As a defense mechanism, I have built up walls and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much this was hindering my life.
Brown doesn’t believe that we should be vulnerable with everyone. Not everyone has earned the right to “hear our story.” But everyone, in our most primitive state, craves for love and belonging. And without vulnerability, we’ll never quite experience the love we seek.
So how did I move past my fear of vulnerability? It’s something a fight with everyday but each day gets better. I keep telling myself that the only way to have a true, authentic relationship is to show up with my whole-hearted, imperfect self. I’m beginning to have more of the hard conversations and talk about how I really feel. And trust me, these new changes have not always been met with love and support. Some people resist. But I’m learning that it’s ok. It just lets me know that you’re not the person that’ll hear my story again. I move on.
The internet is abuzz about Ted Williams, a homeless guy who gets “discovered” the side of the road while panhandling. The discovery was posted on YouTube and set off a chain of events only imagined in the movies. I’m so inspired by this story and I wanted to share. Check out where it all began:
After viewing, you can’t tell me there isn’t a God.
I am still in awe of what I witnessed yesterday. I’m normally not a person that cries easily but the tears were flowing as President Obama took his oath. I couldn’t help but think about the implications of the event. After years and years of slavery, then Jim Crow, then covert discrimination, yesterday was truly a milestone not only for African Americans but for all Americans, especially those of color.
During the inauguration, I thought about my mother who was one of the first African Americans in my small hometown in central Texas to integrate into an all-white school. I thought about the stories I heard about how she received bomb threats because there were some people who were against the integration. I recalled stories about how she would have to use the bathroom in the back of the restaurants on roadtrips and how she couldn’t have even dreamed of eating in the main dining area. I also thought about my grandparents from Alabama who lived in the heart of racism which later became the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.
And then I thought of myself. I thought about how I can accomplish whatever I choose. With God on my side, the possibilities are endless. And I always admire the Obamas as a family. They give me hope in believing that I can share my life with a man that is admirable, strong, intelligent, and influential and together we can have beautiful children.
While I believe that Barack is the most qualified to lead this country in spite of his race, I can’t help but rejoice because he’s the first African American president. For a Black man to now be leading a country that once enslaved us is mind-boggling. But it’s a true testament to the strides that America has made. We still have a long way to go, however. But at least we have the hope and the changed needed to propel us into the future.
I just changed the name of my blog. “Emotional Idiot” is so, well, negative. Even though sometimes I am an emotional idiot, that’s not the case all of the time. I believe that we have to speak positive things into our lives. Negative self-talk is a definite way to sabotage your life. So, hence the new blog name.
Here’s another quote from Iyanla Vanzant:
So you think you are not good enough, not “God” enough. You’ve been doing everything you should, the way you should, and still the changes, if any, are slow coming, almost insignificant. You keep wondering what more can you do, how much more should you know, to get yourself, your life, to the point of peace and plenty you desire. You’re asking when will it get better? When will you be better? Maybe, just maybe, things are the way they need to be. That doesn’t mean things will not get better. It means they take time. . . .”
So, I cut my hair yesterday. I had one of those Angela Bassett in “Waiting to Exhale” or Gabrielle Union in “Breaking all the Rules” moments. There’s something very liberating about cutting your hair. Sometimes I glance in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself though. : ) I have to admit that it was sort of in rebellion of Mr. You-know-who. He never wanted me to cut my hair. I know, I know. I shouldn’t care what he thinks! But now that it’s summer, it’s time for something fresh to go along with my new attitude.
This is something I read from “Faith in the Valley” by Iyanla Vanzant:
“Nothing in life happens passively. We are completely responsible for every experience we have, because we determine how we will respond. . . .Always remember, no what is going on in your life, it is your responsibility to choose how you respond. This does not mean you will not hurt. This does not translate to you should ignore what you feel. Not being a victim and taking responsibility means: feel the pain, honor the shock, look for the leason, and keep on moving in a way that honors who you really are.”
A lot of times, we get caught up in feeling like the victim. We want to blame everyone else for our problems. But as Iyanla stated, we alone are responsible for the things that happen to us. If someone mistreats us, it’s likely because we failed to set up proper boundaries or we were afraid to confront the person. Well, now that we’ve grown and seen otherwise, it’s time to make better choices.
Peace and blessings