Leader: How do we create a culture of vulnerability?
Student: Well you just gotta be vulnerable to expect vulnerability, you know? Sometimes you just gotta grab it by the balls and–
Me: Uhm. That’s not true.
Leader: What do you think, Makari?
Me: To create a culture of vulnerability, you can’t just be vulnerable, you have to be willing to accept the other person in their state. I can tell you all day how I feel but that doesn’t mean anything until someone else listens. You can’t just grab vulnerability by the balls. It’s not a culture of vulnerability when one person just talks about how they feel. There has to be a safe space to create vulnerability as a culture.
Creating a culture of vulnerability around you isn’t about a few people “being open” about what they are going through. The receiving end is just as important as the giving end. If it isn’t received well, then the vulnerability gets “wasted” in a sense. One bad vulnerable experience can cause a person to never want to give themselves away like that again. If you can’t receive someone’s vulnerable state, I would suggest not letting the exchange even happen. When you want to ask someone how they are doing, but don’t expect an honest answer in return, do the other person a favor and don’t ask.
I’m someone that has no problem being real about the place that I’m in. Being real and being vulnerable are two different things. Vulnerability is where you open yourself up and are susceptible to emotional harm, whereas being real, or being transparent, allows you to be seen without the openness of being harmed.
Knowing which place you are in is important in knowing how to respond when people are talking to you.
When I am in a vulnerable state, I am very careful whom I let in or whom I talk with, because if I’m not, I can be hurt pretty easily. The last thing I want to do to myself when I am susceptible to pain, is to add more pain. I often don’t go out to parties or events, or hang out in groups, not because I don’t want to, but because I know that in my state, I am more likely to be hurt than helped.
People often confuse authenticity with vulnerability. Authenticity; being your genuine self, vs vulnerability; being raw, open and susceptible to pain. While vulnerability can be placed under authenticity, being authentic doesn’t necessarily mean being vulnerable.
When you are being your genuine self, that doesn’t mean you need to open yourself up to being susceptible to harm, but it generally does mean being transparent about who you are.
When we are in a state of vulnerability, people often commend us for being brave for talking about what we are going through, but what they don’t understand is that the way they treat us in our vulnerable state is really what changes us. Whether they commend us and then ignore us, or don’t react in a way they ought to, it’s the action of those we are vulnerable with that determines how we feel afterwards. Like I said earlier, one bad vulnerable experience can cause a person to never want to give themselves away like that again.
Sometimes, in a vulnerable state we are unfair to others because we put that pressure on them to do or say or be what we need them to be. It shouldn’t be on them if that isn’t what they want. Which is why creating a culture of vulnerability isn’t nearly as easy as it could be or maybe should be. There are always other factors in play that cause a culture of being raw to take 500 times the effort than we assume that it should.
It isn’t fair to others when we are in a vulnerable state to expect them to know that or be there for us. Which is where transparency comes in play. We need to get to a place that we can be transparent about our situation and the help we need, but not necessarily be vulnerable like we are, until it is the right space for us to do so. That’s hard. That takes dedication and allowing yourself to be open to people, but not open to pain at the same time. It requires people around you that you trust to help you in your vulnerability, so that you can be transparent in a group of people without getting hurt.
The responses are different. The way you explain how you are feeling to the people with your trust in vulnerability will be different internally for you than the responses you give to people who aren’t ready for it.
We can’t expect everybody to be ready to handle us in a vulnerable place when they were just grabbing a coffee and saw you sitting in the shop, or at the grocery store, or even at church, and decided to ask us how we are. We expect a lot of others, more than we should, when really it’s our responsibility to ourselves to give out our vulnerability to those who can take care of it.
It’s a precious gift to hold what is dear to someone else. Creating an entire culture with those who do that is a tremendous joy that is rarely found. I found it once, and I’m not sure I ever will again, but I do look for it and long for it on a daily basis. When you know something spectacular truly exists, it changes everything about the way you live your life.
The moment things started going downhill for me, I knew it was happening. I knew how to stop it, and I knew how much it would hurt me.
Doing the right thing, taking the right actions, and letting the wrong arrows of other peoples choices pierce through your heart in order to make the better choice rarely feels like it’s worth it until later.
I made a choice. I chose to do the right thing for the situation I was put in, but I also made a very active choice not to do the right thing for myself. I was tired of taking care of myself, and always looking at the bright side. I was tired of being nice to everyone else and receiving the shit end of the stick in return. I made an active choice to not go through the right process of grieving and pain and to let myself be bitter instead, because it felt better. All I knew that I wanted was temporary ease. I hadn’t felt like I had been able to be angry at God or people or circumstances previously because I always knew it wouldn’t be the right thing to do, and because I have always wanted to do the right thing for the longterm. This time, I was taking anger at full force. You fuck with me, you lose me and I didn’t care at all.
It’s amazing how fast anger can take hold of your thoughts, your lifestyle, your being. I felt pain at every turn. I saw words twist from helpful to detrimental in split seconds as they soar from one person’s mouth into my ears. I’ve never known myself to be as cruel as I felt or as careless as I was. I didn’t care about anyone else, and why would I? No one stood up for my character when I was being torn apart and for that I was angry. I didn’t want to care.
Anger puts this film over your eyes that causes every wonderful thing to look harmful. It changes every friend into a foe, and every light into fire. No one is safe.
If only I had chose to grieve, chose to deal with my anger, chose to silence my bitter thoughts. Had I, I wouldn’t have gotten to the point of contemplating death every moment of every day. I became defeated.
If you saw me, you would know. I could not stop the tears and I could not stop the pain; all I wanted was for it to end. I understand depression. I understand suicide. I understand pain.
There was a time I would have asked of a depressed friend to live, even only if it was for me. I now know I can never ask that of anybody. I cannot ask for someone to endure pain for my comfort, or live through terror for the “someday” that might come and be peaceful. I cannot ask for life of somebody else, I can only enter their space and give them everything I have to give. It’s crucial.
Depression is a hand, holding, crushing, dragging you into the depths of the earth, into the pit of despair, with no branches strong enough to break your fall and no comfort long enough to take a deep breath. Depression is a weight of a hundred horses treading on top of the canopy of blankets you try to hide under just to find a moment where your mind can be silent. Depression is… a venomous snake wrapped so tightly around your body you cannot breathe but with every pulse of your heartbeat you know it’s the end… Depression… is an ocean of breathtaking pain.
I see the world with that pain in my eyes, much in the same way I used to see it with beauty.
If you know how I feel then you know what I mean. Good things that happen don’t make up for what we see behind the wall we’re so desperately trying to build to keep the horde of pain and anger at bay. It’s terrifying to watch that wall being broken apart and running out of the strength to keep building. It’s almost as if you drop that wall and run as fast as you can to add distance before turning around and building again. It’s coming and you see it; you feel it… and then you make one mistake and it swarms around you from all sides; all you have left is a little tent to cry in.
If you know then you know. And if you don’t, now you do.
Today’s a bad day.
I can’t help but feel like everything I want is just out of reach. I knelt on the floor to look in a box, but instead found myself sobbing in my own arms. I can’t imagine getting up, it’s as if gravity is winning over my mind. Mentally, I don’t feel well enough to fight it; my soul is damaged by hurt and pain. How can I try to get up when even trying entails pushing against a ceiling that won’t budge?
What is wrong with me. It’s like I am trying to get this thing out of my head, this thing that is killing me, this thing called pain.
Today’s a bad day.
I lay my head back on the floor with a Bible weighted against my chest, trying to find a moment of encouragement, but all I feel are questions that He knows I cannot answer. Who is even asking me? All I need is one moment of clarity. The kind of clarity that makes you feel better, not worse; that’s all I’m asking for, please. Instead, I feel defeated every step of the way.
I can’t get the tears to stop soaking my face and I keep trying because if they get in my hair it’s gonna make my hair wet. I don’t want one more annoyance right now.
Today’s a bad day.
I’m supposed to be getting up, I need to get ready for my night. If I don’t go out I’m going to regret it, but for some reason I still can’t pick myself up. The tears seem to flow harder every time that I try. My hair is definitely wet.
I’m trying to text people for help, but no one is around. Aren’t I supposed to be having a good day? I’m trying to keep the happy times I’ve just had in mind but somehow that only makes me cry harder because I want those happy times to stay.
What the fuck is wrong with me.
I want to leave the country every day. I want to be somewhere that my pain is not, but the problem is that I can never outrun myself. It’s sad that I even want to do that. If it’s internal I should be able to fix it, right? I should be able to just tell it to shut up and it should leave me alone because it’s my own pain, right? I should be able to fix it.. why won’t you just stop torturing me.. Pain, please go away.
Today’s a bad, bad day. I could never wish it on anyone.
I have done so many things in 2018.
I started the year by opening a restaurant with one of my favorite people. Led by the most heartbreaking betrayal of my entire life. I left the state, then the country, followed by my niceties, my positivity and my trust. I said, “fuck you” to the world for being so unkind to me, and I started checking things off my bucket list.
- London… Royal Tunbridge Wells… Edinburgh… Dublin… Bogotá…
- I got my motorcycle license and bike (thank you, Christian).
- I got halfway through writing my own book.
- I started learning guitar.
- I learned how to do spray paint art.
- I flew to other states; sometimes for one show, one person, or one night.
Nothing that I did could help the aching feeling I had. I lost all hope. I couldn’t get off my floor. I was at the airport every week. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t find peace. Nothing made me happy. Every good thing was too late. Life was too hard. Running was too hard. Staying still was defeating. I didn’t think I would make it one more step. I ran out of tears. I ran out of pain. I ran out of feelings.
I was numb.
From looking at all the things that I did, it looks like I had a good year; flying all over the world, accomplishing goals and meeting new people. I can tell you I don’t give a shit about any of it; from my point of view, it was the hardest year of my life. Although the trips were good, and I have memories that I will keep with me forever, in my personal life I’ve never felt more alone and I’ve never felt more defeated. I was mentally at my end. Five months ago, I couldn’t even hold a conversation because my mind would go blank the moment I tried to think words. Today, I can finally write about my feelings. It’s insane to me that I went through what I did. Life can change in a moment, and sometimes there is nothing you can do to prepare for it.
I got very angry at a lot of people; for good reason. I reached out to people for help every step of the way and got shut down by 80 percent of them. If I let those statistics be my ground for trusting people, I would never trust again. My anger was affecting every good emotion I had left. Soon, I had nothing but anger and pain mixed with my numbness.
I am still dealing with my anger, my pain, and my numbness. I may not always have the kindest responses and I may still burn with anger inside at the smallest things. That’s what anger does, it kills you from the inside out. If you let it keep growing, it will eventually take over every bit of you until you are only bitter.
I’m on the upside. I am learning to stop and breathe instead of letting the anger continue. It still hurts and it still feels good to let that anger out, but I am choosing to kill it with kindness once again.
In case you see me around, remember to be kind to me as I am still getting through this. You never know when people are really hurting inside.
P.S. Thank you to everyone who took me in, fed me, kept an eye on me, and loved me in the days I couldn’t love myself.
I feel like I’m falling apart. The words I want to scream are, “Somebody help me!”
Why is life so hard? Why do I feel like I can’t get through one traumatic experience before another one starts? I can’t keep going on like this; feeling this pain. When will I get better? I feel cracked in a thousand pieces and nothing relives the pain, it only temporarily holds the cracks together but not even long enough for me to take a deep breath before the change in my lungs causes them to be reopened. Ahhhhhhhhh. I feel a billion needles in my heart, not enough to kill me but enough to cause a panic through my body that slumps me to my knees. Thank god I’m not in public. The pain becomes too much for me sometimes, and the fear of falling on my face is more real than you can imagine. I often wonder if my arms will even catch me when I crumble.
I can’t be the only one who feels this way, there have to be more people like me. I know they’re out there and I write this to you.
I want you to know that I am with you in your pain. That I feel every punch that you feel and every knife that you swallow. I can tell you that it gets better and that it’s worth it, but you know as much as I do and you know how bad those words hurt, so I won’t say it again. I don’t want you to die from the same pain I feel, because I’m pushing through it every day. I might not have any answers or solutions but what I do have is my life. With it, I plan to be the best friend that I can be and the best person in the darkest days. If it were easy, I would write you a handbook. Instead, I am writing you this; that I am still in process and I don’t know how it will turn out. There are days that keeping a smile on my face feels impossible.
The good news is… well I don’t know yet, but I’m gonna find it if there is something. I think that’s what keeps me walking through this; I have to know that if there is an upside to this, I will find it.
I know there is positive to everything and I will stand by my motto that everything happens for a reason. I do not doubt that my sorrow has a purpose, but sometimes I just wish I could be the dumbest person in the world and not have to go through any of this. It feels like the more you know, the more pain there is.
When you feel like there are more days than not that you are stuck in your pain, I want you to remember this:
- You still have your life.
- You’ve got so much to live for (and I’m telling this to myself as much as you), you can’t give up yet.
- Vulnerability is a strong suit, not a weakness.
Reach out. People want to be there for you if you let them (and if they won’t, screw them, I will.)
You don’t have to ever feel alone in your pain, even when that’s the only thing you do feel.
Hi everybody, welcome back to my blog.
Today I want to talk to you about how 2019 can be your year of breakthrough for the things you’ve been wanting to see happen in your life.
Let’s start off by getting a sheet of paper and titling it, “First Steps to Breakthrough.” Now, think for a moment of one of the things that you want to see breakthrough in this year, and write that in a bulletpoint on the left of the page. As you think about that thing, can you imagine what the first step to getting there might look like? When you think of it, write that on the left side of the page like this example:
- Acting career. First Step: Write out resume.
Below this, write out your second, third and forth steps in this process.
Second Step: Find a friend to photograph and video tape.
Third Step: Put together video reel.
Forth Step: Research talent managers and agencies.
Let’s call this process, “Four Steps to Starting Success.” Since breakthrough is a success no matter what type of breakthrough it is. You don’t need to continue on with steps 5-800 because starting really is the hardest part. Once you have the first four steps down, you should be able from there to continue on with the process and build your castle of breakthrough. Once you can see the foundation for your goals, the rest starts being built in your imagination and possibilities you never thought of start coming to your mind. Sometimes when we create a long list of things we have to do, we easily get stressed out over the entirety of it and lose our motivation for even beginning the first step. Let’s not overwhelm our brains and cause anxiety over something that we can easily do given the right steps and the right headspace.
Having the right headspace for beginning 2019 in a way that has you believing that everything is possible (heck, you can even change genders now) is very important. Learning to let the anxiety and previous hardships melt to the foreground while your main focus becomes clear and precise, is not an easy thing to do! Eventually it becomes habitual, but to start off without knowing how to separate your feelings from your present moment of life can feel overwhelming and hard to process how you will ever start what you’ve been dying inside to do.
To learn more about shifting your perspective for a clear mind, I suggest you start by paying attention to your thought process. What you think about often becomes your reality. It’s hard to be upset all the time when your thought life is consistently telling you that things are okay and that you are not the things that happen to you. Once you start to grasp hold of how your mind thinks towards the information it’s been given, shifting that process to allow for a clearer mind becomes easier.
As you finish the steps to each of your goals, you get to cross off the ones you’ve completed! What a victory that is, to see yourself on your way to getting the desires of your heart fulfilled this year. There’s nothing hard about completing one step, and after that, one more, and one more and so on. The part that gets us all caught up about the goals that we have is thinking of doing all the steps at once. When we break down the beginning of that whole process, it doesn’t seem very difficult at all.
Welcome to the beginning of completing your goals for the rest of your life.