Vulnerability is an asshole

The thing about vulnerability is just that at times it feels like an asshole. It’s this thing that you’re heart yearns for because that’s how we’re created, to want to commune with others, but some times it feels like it comes at a cost. People tell you that you gain more from being vulnerable, but in my mind, this past year has taught me some tough lessons about sharing your heart with others…. it opens you up to people feeling like it’s ok to do with it as they please. Gone are the thoughts of how they would want to be treated, or how it would feel if the tables were turned and replaced with it are thoughts of, “well she puts it all out there, all the time, so it’s ok that I’m responding however I want to.”

See, vulnerability is an asshole. Or maybe the idea of being vulnerable turns some people into assholes. I’m still on the fence on this one. All that to say that this last year has showed me more about how mean women are to each other. They compete, tear down, manipulate, claw over, degrade, poke fun at and, did I say it already, tear down. I often find myself throwing my hands up in the air.

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This friend doesn’t want to hang out anymore because I’m no longer a stay at home mom so we don’t have anything in common, this person doesn’t want to hang out with me because I don’t share the same opinion as they do, or because they love their children and can NEVER think about leaving them, but me, well I enjoy a weekend away. I drink sometimes, you don’t. You love God more than I do, making you better than me. Can I get an amen yet ladies? God, I’m so sick of it.

So there’s this wall I’ve erected because I’m so sick of vulnerability, because really all it brings is pain and shame. Why do we thrive on shaming each other? I’m trying so hard to figure this all out.

This past year I’ve slowly closed myself off to many friendships. I’ve used the guise that “I’m busy” to allow myself the excuse to stay in my safety net. My husband loves me, he understands me, our relationship is good, we have lots of great (really great, sorry Mom) sex and, come on….

great sex vs. hanging with a group of ladies being vulnerable

No brainer

See, my innate self knows that for me I’m a relational person. Meaning that I feel like a huge part of who I am and WHY I function the way I do is out of the desire to be relational, to have trusted, vulnerable relationships with others.

But vulnerability is an asshole, so my soul lives in constant conflict, wondering if it’s worth it to trust or not. I want to trust you, can I trust you? My inclination, my soul cries out to build that friendship, share that trust, but so many times I’ve been proven over and over again that women seek to tear each other down.

Months ago we started going to a new church and I love it. No really I do! From the moment we stepped in the doors I was bombarded by so many amazing women…….. #wallup. Women who would come up and introduce themselves and want to get to know me and then still seek to connect with me week after week….. #wallup. I’m nice, kind, smile, laugh, say see you next week, but here’s the thing, my wall is up, damn it. I can’t help it.

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Despite the wall, when they announced they were doing a women’s retreat and I found myself signing up. #handsintheair I have no idea what was going through my mind. Oh wait, yes I do, my husbands voice telling me this will be good for me. I don’t believe him, but I sign up anyway. Did I mention that when I signed up and paid I knew 2 people at that point?

Fast forward from January to last week when I’m freaked out of my mind about leaving my family, my safety nest, to be devoured by a group of women who want to be Vulnerable for 2 days straight. Kyle had just returned home from a trip, I could be having great sex. I went. I met so many wonderful women and as I sat and talked and they shared their heart with ME, someone they had literally just met, I felt my wall tighten. No way in hell was I going to share. I don’t need to open myself up to judgement. But then something crazy happened as it only can when God’s hand is involved, our worship leader (also a woman), spoke about how she felt God was calling us to Re-imagine what our relationships both with God and each other could look like.

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When she said it on Friday night I had such a hard time wrapping my head about re-imagining how my relationships with other women looked. It also hit me really hard that maybe I had stopped trusting God to bring the RIGHT relationships into my life that would allow me the freedom to be vulnerable. Maybe, just maybe, I can open myself to share with some people, the right people, and not all people. And when I choose to share with all people I need to remember that connecting with one person, who might be going through or need to hear what I’m saying, outweighs the assholes.

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Last weekend, I found myself in unexpected and wonderful situations the whole weekend where I couldn’t help but share things about myself. If I’m being very truthful, small bits and pieces, I mean the wall of Jericho didn’t come down in one weekend folks. But I’m finding myself, brick by brick, allowing pieces of the wall to come down and opening myself up to the idea that God might have some beautiful friendships out there waiting for me, where vulnerability will bring us together. And maybe, just maybe those relationships will make me strong again.

And maybe, just maybe, vulnerability isn’t such an asshole after all.

xo, Alissa

ps. thanks for letting me share and, Mom, sorry for the language

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