This week I had set out to write a post about vulnerability. But I realized that it was difficult to write about vulnerability…almost as if the writing about it, put a box itself around the idea. Vulnerability in a way is a felt experience, one that must be lived to be known.
As I messed around in my journal trying to write around this slippery topic, what emerged was a poem. And I am absolutely by no means a poet, as you will soon see. However, I think this is exactly what vulnerability is. Putting ourselves out there in a way that feels uncomfortable, uneasy. Allowing ourselves to show up, far out of our comfort zone, even if it means “being bad” at something, being imperfect, or screwing it up altogether.
So I decided that I would share my poem on my blog today. I realize this is a “low stakes” way of being vulnerable. After all, sharing a poem is different than allowing myself to be imperfect in an operating room. However, to me, words are important, the beauty and vibration of life itself. And so showing up in this way indeed feels challenging and risky, at least for me.
As backstory, this poem was written in response to prompts by the beautiful writing coach Jena Schwartz. Awhile back, I had read her poem, “What If You Knew“, which snuck into my subconscious world and percolated. This poem is my answer to that question.
If I Knew
If I somehow knew it was all going to be okay, I might choose to approach the corner of who I am and who I want to be, with the ease and delight of a winged bird, soaring around that edge. And as I flew beyond that blind corner, right into the future, a poem might emerge about blissful oblivion for what lay ahead, and what had passed. If I knew, I would show myself fully, my rolls and my wrinkles my joys and and my quirky anxieties my sleepless fitful nights filled with fantasies of imagined freedoms and spaciousness. I would show it all, wear it with pride, the way I secretly imagine wearing pajamas to work or an evening gown to do the dishes, just because I could just to embody the weirdness of it all. If it was all going to be okay, I would let my kids sleep in and roll around the empty spaces of our home, reveling in their particular ways of animal squawks and barks and vocal tics and piles of books and perching on chairs to read while eating. I might finally laugh at them or even better myself with an abandon I haven’t yet known in this life, a welcoming of it all that I myself wished for. I might finally allow myself to be seen in naked honesty, yelling foul words and hidden too long compliments as I rounded that corner into the world of I promise it’s all going to be okay.