A couple weeks ago, I did something crazy. Two something crazies. All in a row! On a Tuesday, I bared my body for the lens of an intimate boudoir photoshoot session. The next day, Wednesday, I bared my soul and shared my story with the world.
Only me and the photographer were privy to that first unveiling, but my story- hundreds of people ended up seeing that post. Both impacted/are quite still in the process of impacting me with equal severity. Can I say big fat vulnerability hangover or what??
A ‘vulnerability hangover’ Brene Brown calls it. Boy have I got it bad. By Wednesday afternoon I felt weird. All nauseous and dizzy and buzzy and swirly and fainty inside. Like I was going to puke and pass out or maybe have a panic attack.
And now, some weeks later bodily symptoms have abated, but inside… all I want to do is curl up in a ball and never write another blog post again.
Coining the term ‘vulnerability hangover’ in her Ted Talk about listening to shame, Brene speaks about the after-effects of being vulnerable and why it’s an important thing to continue doing and being and facing.
So I say, “okay lady what do ya got?”
And she says, “Vulnerability is not weakness… vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. To be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen, to be honest…” she goes on to explain the relationship between vulnerability and courage and how it’s the only way toward living a whole-hearted, meaningful, and fulfilling life.
Well heck- that’s what I’m after.
Going back to her original talk on the power of vulnerability, she elaborates on these concepts, explaining how the thing that blocks our connection to others is shame and fear. And the thing that underpins shame and fear is excruciating vulnerability.
In order to overcome the shame and fear, we have to be willing to be seen. That shame is understood very simply as the fear of disconnection. [Ie: if people know these things about me, I won’t be worthy of connection.]
A vulnerability hangover for sure includes a massive dose of shame and fear. Ahhh. So this must be the doctor’s antidote to those wonderful two.
In her words, what separated folks who lived whole-heartedly from others is that these people had:
- The courage to be imperfect.
- The compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others.
- They had connection as a result of authenticity. They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were (which you have to do for connection.)
And the other thing they had in common was this: they fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful.
She’s wise that one. And upon reviewing these principles, I can see that the only way to move past this massive hangover (much as I may feel averse to the idea) is to get back on the boat, head back into the arena, and “dare greatly” once again.
**The original post for ‘My Body’ was the portion written below, but I couldn’t post it. After re-exploring Brene Brown’s talks and clarifying that what felt wrong was merely fear of continued vulnerability, well…
Here’s to continuing this journey of living whole-heartedly and bringing my authentic self forward once more:
Me and my body. Traveling the good road toward living and loving together. Here’s an ode I wrote to this body of mine not long before that explosive week:
My body is my temple. My body, the house to my soul. My body is sacred, is holy, is whole.
My body has betrayed me. My body has lied. Housed another who broke, housed one who destroyed. My body it said, what an absolute joy. My body it said, please use me as your toy. Told the intruders I like it, the abusers I want it. My body. My body. A liar. A ploy.
My body you’ve trapped me, I can’t let you go. Try as I might, you won’t leave me alone. You won’t let me die, or live, or cry. You’re not the right size, you can’t run, you can’t fly. Your shape is all wrong, I want to let go, you’re not me, it’s not me, you’re not mine, let me go!!
So long have I hated, kicked down in the dirt. So long have I battered, neglected, and hurt. But it isn’t you, it wasn’t you, it isn’t us, it never was.
My body. My body. My prison, my shame. Together we’ll heal, rebuild, reframe. My body, you’re sacred. My body, you are whole. My body you hold a very special role. You’re mine and you’re perfect, just the way you are. You house my soul, you’re my temple, you’re my home, you’re my star.
My body, I’m sorry. My body, I pledge:
I will love, honor, and respect you. I will cherish, hear, and hold you. It’s not your fault, you don’t deserve it. You never do, you never did. My body, I need you.
My body… I forgive.
Sometimes it’s so difficult to look myself in the mirror and say those three simple words, “I love you.” Different practices help me do that, and today I was inspired to write out affirmations/permission slips to post around my home where I’ll see them throughout my day.
What does today’s self-love practice look like for you? Comment below and let me know what you do to give yourself that extra boost of tender loving care.
***Oh and that picture up top? Here’s a full view:
No, not you. This is to all the haters, all the negative voices in our heads, all the broken records, nay-sayers and subtle self-esteem eroders. That’s right. It’s a big fat… bird. It’s a flying bird.
Much love, light, healing, and cheers for deep inner courage to all.