Quite often, I can remember exactly when and how I picked up and learned certain words in English! «Vulnerable» is one of them. I was twelve, my best friend and I had decided to read The Great Gatsby in English and jot down every word we didn’t know. ‘Vulnerable’ appeared on the very first page.
We were ambitious little girls … I remember this project took place in the summertime, we brought our books with us to the beach and studied. The book itself, I don’t remember anything of and I’ve never re-read it. We have the, fairly new, movie on Netflix now so I’m going to watch it.
After I wrote the post about writing honestly, I’ve thought a great deal about it. Many things I’ve come across lately have also pointed me in that direction, or perhaps I’ve just been more susceptible to those pointers. Finally, WordPress themselves, posted two things, yesterday, that really led me to stop and consider this. Here’s one of them: LINK. To open up to the public [or to anyone] is to make oneself vulnerable, that’s for sure. I don’t have a problem with that, except for the fact that if I were to write about, for example, events from my youth, it would involve other people … my mum, most importantly. Now, she’s been dead for twenty years, but even so, I don’t feel good about it. It took me a lot of years, but I finally came to the realisation that she always did what she thought was best. She wasn’t out to get me, even though it often felt that way back then. Not until I was in my forties, it struck me she was a woman with her own struggles in life, being widowed at 44, with two little kids, trying to make ends meet, and all the feelings that came with it.
Came across an old photo of her, yesterday. She was much younger there, than I am now, and I wondered if she ever realized how scared I was. Scared of her anger … her hot temper … the silent treatment. I was frightened of all those things, but still I did all the stupid things teenagers do! If I only had continued on the road I was when my friend and I studied English on the beach, all would have been fine! But something changed, abruptly, in grade eight, and I chose a different road. A poignant moment indeed, and still I don’t know what caused it. I used to be the poster-child for a model student, but from one day to the other, all that changed. I’ve given a lot of thought to this, but never realized what happened. Today, when I’ve just turned sixty and entered what could be the third part of my life, it doesn’t matter at all. It was a moment that turned out to shape my whole future, though, and it’s interesting. It was as if I lost a bit of my true self there, and the life-long project «to try and please everyone» (except my mum, that is) began. Recent years, I’ve been trying to find my way back to my true self, and I’m thinking I’m doing a pretty good job on it … otherwise I could never write this post! Before, I never accepted my true self, and she stood in the way of everything else I wanted to be, that I was not [how about that, Joss? 🙂 ]
Perhaps turning sixty made me think along those lines. Usually it’s fifty that’s the big milestone but then my mind was so full of the adventure of having moved to a new country so I didn’t think much of it. The fact that time is finite feels more palpable now, so being true to myself is what I’m going to be, this third part of my life … provided I live to be 90. I’ll feel very vulnerable when I hit that “Publish button” now, but I’ll do it anyway.