First of all, I apologize if you got all excited, thinking I had thought of some cool way for us all to play Taboo together through my blog…. I’m not that “festive” today…. But please, if you think of some way to do that, LET ME KNOW! It sounds super-fun, right?
I titled this post “taboo” because I’m pretty sure if I titled it “vulnerability” I’d have very few reads today… Heck, if I was you and I was looking at blogs I normally read and one had that as a title, I would probably skip it! ….But please don’t… I mean, you’re already here, right?
(If it makes any awkwardness you are feeling feel better, know that I wrote those first two mini-paragraphs, watched the cursor “blink” for a minute or two, and then put my hands on my face and thought, maybe let’s just erase those and talk about the funny kid who told me I sound like a reindeer today… This is a bad/ risky idea…)
I’m basically obsessed with TED.com… There’s amazing stuff on there. My pilates teacher, Larry and I have this dream of going to a TED Conference… And I would LOVE to be a TED Fellow… That would be right up there with winning the lotto or Morgan Freeman narrating my life…. Just super cool, super great, inspiring, encouraging, hope-giving, positive stuff… (I have a link…check it out! Pick a talk, any talk… All are cool, but I’m happy to share a list of my favorites)
Through TED.com, I first found out about a lady named Brene` Brown a while back… She’s pretty cool…. A PhD and Social Worker who researches shame & vulnerability. I’m currently reading one of her books. However, I discovered this new talk by her on TED.com last night….. I’ve watched it twice… Once at two in the morning when I found it last night, and once just now, when I got home from my day…. I needed a “reminder” already… Check it out:
She states in her talk that “vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage”. Well, if that’s the case, I have been mistaken, misinformed, and mislead for a LONG time, and I am quite possibly the world’s biggest coward! She’s honest, and refreshing. She speaks not only of her theory and research, but from her own life and experiences as well.
I think this talk has resonated with me sooo much because these “12 Weeks of Quiet” are forcing me to meet up with lots of my own vulnerabilities. Ones that I didn’t even know existed.
I take pride in being a great multi-tasker, juggling several things at once…. I’m pretty good at coming up with things on the fly and rolling with the punches…. I like to think I’m resourceful and creative… I’ve been told I’m good at thinking out of the box, and I’m generally great at motivating people… especially kids…. I’m a good organizer and coordinator, and it’s hard to ruffle my feathers too much…THIS IS WHAT I FEEL I CAN DO.
On the flip side of that, like all people, I have my insecurities and things I’m not so good at- I generally rely on the list of qualities above to help me “get by” or “fake my way through”…. For example, I spend a lot of my “work time” conducting… I am NOT a conductor. I wasn’t trained for this in college; I wasn’t an education or conducting major; I never did it once until my first rehearsal; I’ve gone to a few workshops and taken a lesson or two, but I’ve basically just done a whole lot of “fake it ‘til you make it” and somehow have pulled through (thanks to many good, kind and generous colleagues and mentors)… I WISH I was a “real conductor”, and I hope to continue to grow and learn, because I love conducting and working with choirs, BUT, I know I’m not really that good at it, and yeah, I can get pretty insecure about it.
HOWEVER, those other qualities above? GREAT to have… That’s what carries me through in choir/ “conducting land”. I can be passionate and funny and creative and collected and organized and reassuring and persistent as hell. It works for me. It works for my kids. We get good results and we have a good time… I may never want to see a video of my “form”, but we do alright. 🙂
These last 2.5 weeks… not so much.
I feel completely disarmed. Cut-off from all my usual go-to stuff, not able to sing, trying not to talk… STUCK.
I told a friend I feel like an actor trying to deliver a monologue with duct tape on my mouth.
I feel unbelievably vulnerable… and so much more emotional than I ever am… Like, “Who am I and where did I go? …Because I would really like to find “me” so I can pull it together… NOW!”
I’m anxious before rehearsals, and I’m frustrated and upset with myself after. I’m caught up in guilt because I feel like it’s not fair to my kids or my co-worker, because they basically get 40% me. I feel guilty because of the people I’ve had to let down with the concerts and other work things I’ve had to pull out of because of this. On several occasions in the past few weeks, I’ve gotten into my car after the rehearsals I have kept doing not knowing if I wanted to cry or scream first. I feel like a fish out of water…. And, if you haven’t ever noticed, fish DO NOT like being out of water.
But, as I listened to Brene’s talk, I realized this is part of the gift of this time. Granted, it’s another one of those gifts from my “12 weeks of quiet” that I would REALLY like to take to the returns/exchange counter at Target… But, alas, the universe ripped up the tags & the receipt before it gave it to me… I’m keeping this one, like it or not.
Acting like everything is always fine… and insisting I’ve got it all under control…. and rarely asking for help may make me feel more courageous, capable, independent, confident, and strong; and may enable me to live up to a multitude of expectations I have for myself, but it isn’t authentic or honest.
I don’t like this truth.
I didn’t want to hear or internalize this message from Brene.
But, I value authenticity and “real-ness” SO HIGHLY. I crave it from others. I think it is beautiful and amazing. I am humbled and amazed by the people who come into my office every day and are BRAVE ENOUGH to be vulnerable, to ask for help, to explore their insecurities, and to show their true emotions. I never get over my own amazement when someone allows themselves to cry in front of me, when we’ve only just met a few minutes before. … Little do they know their therapist is perhaps the only living soul who went to therapy for 2 years before crying (True story, and yes, I just confessed, I’ve done the therapy thing- I highly recommend! …Let’s crack that taboo, too, while we’re at it, ok?).
This time is challenging me to let go of a little bit of my perfectionism and need for control.
…I’m doing it kicking and screaming.
But I have to admit; the more honest I can be about it, the better I feel. This blog so far is like a “vulnerability festival” for me- but I do feel like I am growing.
I might not come out of these 12 weeks a better conductor or singer, but I hope to come out as a better, more whole, and more complete person.
It doesn’t feel brave or courageous (As Brene says it is), or even good. In fact, it feels crappy a good bit of the time. ….But I think this lady is on to something….
I know this is a little “out there”, I hope you don’t feel too uncomfortable, and I hope you’ll check it out… I encourage you to find 20 minutes to watch the talk. I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic.
….Here’s to hoping I don’t have a “vulnerability hangover” from this in the morning!