How is one able to be vulnerable, and what does that truly define in an individual? I've wrestled with this term since I was young. The most common association with the term vulnerable, was weakness.
As a prideful, insecure, and naïve black kid trying to navigate his way through adolescence and into adulthood, I ensured there were fewer and fewer times to position myself as vulnerable. I needed to be strong, assertive, confident. All the traits that were not bound to a that term. Not to say that I was successful in that portrayal, but it was my intention.
As you get older, relationships whether platonic or romantic tend to require some type of vulnerability. You open yourself up to individuals that have seemed to earn your trust. Some people wear their heart on their sleeve and put it all out there with true bravery. Not. I.
I was the one who would put that shield up. Trust no one to begin with, and allow their actions determine what wall is tore down. You find a lot of missed opportunities to grow friendships/relationships that way, but you also protect what is deemed most valuable to you. Heart.
This week vulnerability played into hosting my first virutal open mic session. The purpose behind this event was to allow people to come and interact, listen, or openly share any form of artistic expression. I had no idea how it was going to turn out, or how individuals would react during the session.
The plan was to kick it off with a poem that I had recently wrote. As a person who is attempting to lead the change, no one else should be required to break the ice. There were double digit RSVP's which was encouraging, but sometimes technology gets the best of us, so I will be more intentional on providing instruction on how to join.
The outcome was still overwhelming positive in my eyes It help to rekindle distant friendships. New connections were made, and a long conversation around life journeys as it ties to careers. It was a positive emotional experience through and through. This was the confirmation that a community is definitely needed, and with diverse mindsets something truly beautiful is created.
There is now a new outlook on what it means to be vulnerable. It is a daily requirement for me. This doesn't mean playing the victim to circumstance or sharing just to share. It means having intent and thoughtfulness. My hope is to have a positive influence, if only on just one person.
Of course that person always starts with self...