On Vulnerability and Visibility

How do you see vulnerability? Is it a sign of weakness that makes you cringe, or an invitation to get to know an open heart? During the last few years, I've begun to embrace it as the latter but I still find it difficult to allow myself to be truly seen.  Being raised in a culture that values hardness, tough, snappy remarks, and aggressive personalities meant burying my softness for survival.  All too often, it is a flashing neon sign beckoning bullies in various shapes and sizes. 

But as I puttered around online, I realised something.  The key trait behind the blog posts and creative work that most deeply resonated with me was vulnerability.  And the reason that I could have a feeling of comfort and recognition with these people's messages is because they had been willing to allow themselves to be seen.  Passion for their work far outweighed any fear of negativity, and in the process it attracted kindred spirits to them and open doors. 

As I allowed that realisation to sink in, I took two decisions: to see myself and my interests as precious stones not to be carelessly cast before the wrong people; and to start small.  I would open up gradually to the right people, sharing bits of myself in a medium in which I was comfortable (journalling).  I also had to let go of the reins a little, and accept that having some people not receive me was inevitable at some point.  But I've overcome far worse and could cross that bridge if and when I got to it.  I could no longer allow that possibility to loom so large over my expressions that it made me shrink.