Making Myself Better Challenge… Day 8 and a vulnerable talk about vulnerability. (Long post warning)

1. No complaining. Think of one good thing that happened.
2. No spending money on unnecessary things
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise. I’ve been so focused on every single day that I’ve changed it to five days a week.
4. Eat healthy five days a week
5. Follow a strict routine during the work week

Today’s Outcome:

1. No complaining – Half check. We’ll see how far that gets me through this post.
2. No spending money – Check.
3. Exercise – Check. I came home from work and was going to nap until my home was empty so instead I threw on my workout clothes and did 45 minutes today.
4. Eat healthy – Everything but dinner. Turns out though that two day old Chinese food sucks so I didn’t eat a lot.
5. Follow a strict routine – Check. Even though I haven’t made it through the night yet.

I’m going to say something that probably sounds like a bad anecdote of a bloggers life but here goes: “You know you’re a blogger when you start to write a post even before you’re sitting at your computer”. This has been going on since last night because as much as I hate to admit it, THE friend is still somewhat my muse.

I’m going to start this story over two decades ago, when THE friend and I were first “introduced” to each other. I’ve said before that I don’t really remember him and I’m sure that’s an equal thought. However, what I remembered is that he was a ladies man. Some would say charming. The truth is, I remembered a older boy, friends with my brother who seemed very sure of himself.

Now, I’m going to fast forward a bit. The first night we’d hung out and out of no where he’d decided to be intimate, afterward I did something that I’d never done. I’d never done this with any of my long term boyfriends and it shocked me that I did this at all. Please hold your shock and awe until after the movie… I laid on his chest. Sounds like it really shouldn’t have been a feat for many women right? But that’s not where I’m comfortable. I remember him saying, “Awe you like to cuddle” in some cute tone except that shocked me back to life and made me realize that that’s not who I was. I’m not THE girl that cuddles with some guy after the first night. That both terrified and perplexed me beyond words. I’d felt so vulnerable that it was almost painful.

So, the intimate parts didn’t last that long but for some reason I still yearned for that closeness of feeling free enough to WANT to do that. That’s my vulnerability. After that had happen, it was just by happenstance that my BFF had sent me a TEDTALKS link that first introduced me to Brene Brown. My BFF had said for years that I needed to watch this thing and I never did but she’d sent it again out of nothing but pure manifested fate from the universe. She spoke about vulnerability as if it wasn’t shameful nor a weakness. It was such a new idea to me even though this was an elementary lesson. From the moment I pressed play I was in tears. Every single thing she’d said made sense and rung so true, again, in a painful way.

Some things that you need to understand is that I didn’t grow up in a home full of love. I grew up with a cold, drunk monster who yelled and screamed and said the worst things to both my brother and I. I grew up with a woman that allowed all this to happen. I grew up knowing that my last vestige of hope had passed when my Grandmother had passed because she was a loving, caring soul. She would have shone me how to be a loving person. She would have taught me better than what I know, even now. But instead my first four years of life were with her in a hospital bed in the middle of my grandfathers home. My first four years of life were seeing the one woman that could have taught me how to be a better person, dying right in front of me.

That’s also where I struggled with religion for so long. She was the only one who would take me to church, before she got too sick. But then she was struck by something that was eating her from the inside out. There she laid, my beautiful Grandmother who’d never done wrong was suffering in such a way that no one’s worst enemy should have to suffer. With her died my emotions, my religion and having the ability to be such a different person.

That’s how’d I’d viewed things for such a long time. Then came the story as to why my father was the way he was which is just sick and even worse than the worst after school special. But I watched all that anger and bitterness, in my father, grow into something that made him a thriving businessman. At home he was a miserable monster because he was never taught how to love, someone that scared me into thinking the worst things a child could ever think but then Dr. Jekyll turned into Mr Hyde and fascinated me in the business world. He was larger than life and memorizing. I could listen to him teach his words of great wisdom for hours and with powerful Al Pacino-like mannerisms. This man came from nothing and made something of his world by way of career.

The best part of what he did is NEVER giving me a thing. From the age of twelve I was working and buying my own toilet paper and tooth paste. I never had a free ride for a thing. I was never given a car, allowance or a big head. Even now, I never hear compliments from his mouth but through a daisy chain of mouths which finally get back to me days, months or sometimes years later. He sees me in him and I think that both makes him proud and scares the shit out of him and there’s a little bit of envy laced in there as well. We have a fucked up family dynamic.

So, he taught me to work like hell for what you want. Don’t show weakness or be vulnerable and if you have to show someone that you care for them buy them something. That’s what I learned. Which brings me to my now. I have had police with guns drawn on me standing in front of me. I have had an FBI agent show up at my bedroom door. I have had ex-football players standing in front of me yelling and all I can do IS NEVER SHOW WEAKNESS. (Those stories are humorous not horrible) Even my BFF says that I don’t show her the sides I view as weakness and it drives he crazy.

This equates to me never crying in front of others. I never say I love you. I never show anyone that I need them. I am never sated emotionally because all of those lessons taught me is that I am more emotionally challenged than anyone that I know. I have never given my true self to a lover and I have never seen what being an emotionally healthy individual is… Until THE friend.

Some days, if you make it through my posts, you might wonder why I choose to stay in something that can only be described as a cluster-fuck at times. Well, I have been more vulnerable than ever before in my life. I’ve grown emotionally and from the moment, that first night, that I rolled over and rested myself on his chest I knew that he was something that I’d never had. That or this was something that I’d never had. So, a lot of my frustration is the fact that he brings out all these emotions in me and because vulnerability equals weakness (in my old mind) I just assumed that he saw me as this little mouse that he could use and walk over and treat like crap. The truth here is that’s what emotions make me feel and not always him.

Now, I’m going to move forward a bit to his birthday last year. This would have been the third year we’d spent his birthday together and I had planned, a month before, an amazing day. We were going to go skydiving, eat at his favorite restaurant (which has become a slight tradition) and I had gone out and put a lot of thought into an actual gift. I wanted so badly to give him something that showed that I cared (because that’s how I show love to someone) but I also wanted it to be something personal. I’d done my research. I’d gone to my friends Catholic church and spoken to a Priest and found this beautiful St. Michael’s pendant (which I’d had blessed by him after I bought it). I’d decided on this because first, I was told he was an arch angel of doctors, which is what THE friend is. Second, I was explained that he defeated fear and brought about courage and some other extremely personal things that I thought he needed in his life.

By the time it came to his birthday he’d already foregone this friendship for something else. I had the option to return this but because of a dream I’d decided that I would keep it. You see, his mother made a lot of appearances in my dreams. They were usually ones where he’d done something wrong and she was saying to forgive him or be patient or something of the sort. But his sister, who’s past, had also made appearances in three of them. This dream happened to be one of them and to save some time I’ll just say that the outcome was for me to keep it for a better time.

I’d felt this better time was yesterday because he’d gotten some great opportunities to advance his life but it wasn’t until lately, over the past month or so that I’d seen this other side of him. Instead of seeing a man that was out for the quick fix of things, instead of this man that was into nothing but chasing women all over the city, I’d seen a man who was stuck as a boy who was so afraid of failure or was so afraid of success that he stayed stagnant. I saw so much fear and realized that here are two people that are so afraid of different things that it’s painful. I saw two people that were only barely honest with each other because of vulnerability. And finally, I saw the reasons why we work together.

Even now as I recall this whole realization I’m tearing up but not because it’s all sad but because we work together. We fit in a way that allows the other person to grow a bit. My strengths are his weaknesses and my weaknesses are his strengths (which he might not even know). It’s the first time that I’ve looked at this whole thing and realized why it’s happening. Maybe why God has given us both this answer to a prayer right now. Maybe we don’t fit together the way I thought we should or how I wanted us to but it doesn’t take away the fact that there’s good stuff here. It might be buried under fear, vulnerability and scars of the past but for right now it’s what works. I can’t say that I’ll stay here forever because I know that as long as we’re in this place I won’t be able to find room for someone that truly loves and cares for me but for now this is what we have, we’ll it’s what I have I guess.

I’d have told him some of that if he had stopped to listen to the explanation for just two minutes. I’m not sure he realizes just how hard that was for me but just how meaningful that was for me to do. I’d like to assume his fear is what caused him to be weird about the gift and less about the fact that he didn’t care about it. That is what I’ll assume because that was my good moment yesterday. I can’t be angry at how he accepted a gift. I can only be happy for knowing why it was given even if he doesn’t.

So that is my long-winded talk tonight. If you want to watch the TEDTALK here’s the link TED Talk – Brene Brown and now I’m finally done for tonight. 🙂

theboardroom

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