“Exquisite vulnerability,” states Brene Brown in her book Daring Greatly.
My heart catches at that phrase, those words, this season, these emotions, that baby-turned-child, this heart of mine, the sound of the chimes outside my window. Who chooses to describe vulnerability as exquisite? To describe as beautiful and brave the process of baring one’s fragile soul to an audience?
Brown certainly does. And, today, so do I.
Today, I apologize not for how long it’s been since I’ve blogged. No, that is a sign of mothering a toddler, working as a doula, and then falling into bed at night with little motivation other than to turn on Netflix. Rather, today, I apologize for how often I want to shield “my people” from my vulnerability.
You see, it’s overwhelming to many. I’m overwhelming to many. Way too much emotion for most. My soul-baring sessions elicit comments like “bless her heart” and “I’ll pray for you.” All well and good, except for that it is often just easier for me to keep silent. Safer for sure.
But, not exquisite.
No, exquisite is giving grace for myself to be myself and yourself to be yourself. No condemnation. No comparing. No wishing to fit a mold that one isn’t. Because isn’t that the worst? Trying to be a certain person to satisfy the current trends and crowd? I think of my mood at night after I’ve worn a pair of jeans that looked oh-so-cute, but felt oh-so-tight. I’m grumpy and out of sorts. Well, so are many of us on a daily basis after countless interactions with people who don’t truly see us for who we are because we have simply chosen a route other than vulnerability.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone deserves to know all of our secrets. But, I am saying to stop apologizing for what brings us joy. Stop making excuses for the possibilities we dream about. Stop limiting the exquisite.
This week was marked by a drastic shift in my mothering journey. And, part of me just wanted to cry in private. Shed a few tears and move on. Why make a big deal about it when I know many would ridicule the fact that I was even mourning at this point?
I nursed Abby for the last time Monday morning. She and I had been gently weaning for about six months, but I woke up Monday morning with the sense that it was time. Time to nurse her for the last time and replace our morning ritual with cuddles and warm milk in a cup. Friends, many wouldn’t even have known that I was still breastfeeding. It was a private, quiet affair at this point. One I was loathe to give up and unsure how to finalize. Yet, one that literally allowed my body to sustain hers. But it was time to let that go.
She and I are traveling new ground right now. She is nearly two, and emotionally in the throes of exerting her will at nearly every imaginable juncture – even the ones that make no darn sense. Why in the world would it be important to her to have MY jacket zipped just so? Or to not wear that bow today in her hair? Or to sit in the middle of the walkway at the mall, giggling that she “plopped,” but unwilling to move out of the way without throwing a fit? I will admit right now that I love her fiercely, but I also have the courage to admit that there are hours of the day when she is not my favorite human to be around.
A bear seems to have more emotional stability and control than she does at some moments.
Anyway, today, make it a day of loving deeply, living honestly, and finding the exquisite in even uncomfortable vulnerability. Thrive in being the person who is brave enough to enjoy the comfort of your own calling and gifting and season.
I’m off to change a dirty diaper and wrestle a bear.