Every year i set my intentions by picking three words that i will guide me in the direction i want my work and myself to go.
This year one of my words was vulnerability — a big bad word for any double Leo with her sun in Capricorn (or a perfectionist, or performer, or really anyone who wants the rest of the world to feel like they have everything on lockdown when the truth is they’re too scared to even look at the door *raises hand*). But being the overachiever i am, i couldn’t just choose the word vulnerability i also had to put it in a context.
That context? To be vulnerable in public, i.e. showing my vulnerability, making myself vulnerable in a public way like on this blog, on social media, in friendships, in my work, and writing(s). And this public showing of a personal me, is WAY OUT of my comfort zone because the only place i have EVER been this kind of real, raw, and vulnerable is with my partner. And if i’m being really honest (and vulnerable), i was never truly or fully exposed in any other relationship BUT her.
And i looaaathe being or appearing vulnerable. To me, it feels like the assignation of Caeser . . .
— being stabbed in the back and every which way by people i thought were my friends. It feels like it leaves all my soft spots exposed to people and energies who may not have my best interest at heart. i feel like it makes me an easy target. And in a way it kinda does. But so does art and creativity, right?
Since getting back from vacation, i have done everything i could to make myself THE most uncomfortable (i.e. vulnerable) sometimes on purposes sometimes it just happened organically. i put myself, solo, in front of the camera; i told the truth about my financial status to a friend; i applied (again) for a Lambda Literary’s writing retreat after getting rejected two years ago. i’m applying for a diversity scholarship at the Dallas Comedy House. And on Sunday, i took what is probably the biggest step in public vulnerability of them all.
i made a 90-minute video and posted it on YouTube vocalizing my big dream, what i lack, what i need, and how Marie Forleo’s B-School could help. i applied (publically) for a B-School Scholarship and then i shared said video on my personal FB as well as Twitter.
Talk about WAY out my of my comfort zone. And i knew it was because my whole body was lit up from the inside with warning signs as i hit publish. And because it was the most uncomfortable i have felt since back in 2010 when i proclaimed to my friends at a Labor Day pool party that I was going to compete as a drag queen and represent Resource Center Dallas at the Miss LifeWalk drag charity pageant.
What was i afraid of? Bullshit really. But honestly, what other people might think. Who does she think she is? Oprah? RuPaul? She’s no leader. And the words ANY artist is afraid of hearing associated with their name, “[Brandi] is a sellout.” i felt like Carrie in the prom scene — they’re ALL going to laugh at me . . .
Only they didn’t. (Well, at least not to my knowledge or to my face, lol). Instead, i got so much love and support that it blew all that negative crap chat right out of my mind. And i felt the love. Real love from people i know and don’t know personally all of whom are rooting for me. i’m not sure what i expected the response to be, but i can tell you i never expect this.
And you know what? It didn’t feel like dying (well, it did while i was hitting send) but after i hit publish it felt like life. Like living. Like being alive. Like i was (finally) living my best life.
Brené Brown in her book Daring Greatly (i started reading it back in 2015, stopped, and on Monday –coincidence? i think not–picked up it again) says this about vulnerability:
Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.
And isn’t that (truth + courage) what life really is? The courage to see, live, and express your truth?
i had no idea that sharing the shit that scares me could leave me feeling so full. And i want this fullness for everybody — my wife, my family, my friends, you. And (now) i know it starts with getting comfortable with getting real, getting raw, getting vulnerable with myself first and then sharing that realness, the soul of who i am, with the world.
It’s some scary shit (even writing this piece is an act of vulnerability). But as they say, someone has to do it right and it may as well be me. No revolution (of the world or the self) has ever begun from a center of safety.
Here’s to a week laden with vulnerability and all our courage to meet it head-on!
PS. i am only on page 38 of Daring Greatly and it is already changing the way i think, feel, and connect. Like i said above, i want everyone to feel and experience this. So i’d like to gift a few copies of this book to members of mi gente that have dared greatly in some way recently (i.e. been vulnerable in public). Maybe you wrote and published your first story on your blog? Maybe you made the public declaration that you are a drag queen? Maybe you just quit your day job and started your own business? Maybe you signed up for Facebook or Instagram for the first time because you’re ready to be seen? It doesn’t matter how big or how small you feel your daring greatly act is, post your daring greatly moment in the comments below (yes, you need to start being public about your risks 😉 ) by midnight CST on Friday, February 23rd and i’ll pick 3 winners at random and send them a copy of this book ♥.
Lots of love and light your way!