vulnerable

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.

27 Replies to “vulnerable”

  1. This was a nice & personal post. I don’t write a lot of personal stuff in my blog at all. Maybe I will some day, who knows?
    I’ve also had these “if only”-thoughs. I guess that we all have. I saw this nice quote once, that I liked:
    “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way”. It can be nice to look back on things, but “If I only did this or that”, won’t help. So, it’s good to read that you’ve moved on from that path.

    1. To dwell on the past is definitely a waste of energy, if you regret it. But the past can also give a hint of what the future might bring. I used to think “if only”, but not anymore. It happened, and when I put the whole mosaic together, I wouldn’t have been sitting here now otherwise. 🙂

  2. I got all chocked up reading this. What a huge heart opening year this feels like – 60! Thank you for being vulnerable, here, today. Your words touch my heart and make me stand up and cheer you on.

  3. What an awesome post! I love reading ALL your posts, but it sure is special to read a personal post… makes me to get to know you a little more. Even though I already knew some of the things you told her, I didn’t know all. And it is of course also a very thoughtful post! And that is always good too!

    We two have walked two totally different paths in life, but there are some things where I totally can see myself when I read about you…

    When I was 16 something changed in me, just out of nowhere…. sure, guess it is a sensitive age as you’re not really a child but not yet adult so it is hard. I had a tough life there for about 8 years or so, but again not in the way you had!

    The other thing we’ve had in common is, most of my life I have tried to please others…. And that sure took a lot of energy from me and is no good for the health. Even my Doctor and counsellor told me that I HAVE to start to think about ME. Which is hard as I have always been a pleaser. I think I am a bit better now at 55. I don’t try so hard anymore. I am who I am, and people just have to accept me the way I am.

    Kram!

    1. Thank you for your insightful and heartfelt comment. Yes, I’ve often wondered what happened — it was almost from one day to the other. I’ll never know.

      Now, when I sit here and think about the «please others» concept, I wonder if that’s really what I wanted to do. Don’t know that I wanted to please them so much, rather to fit in, to assimilate, as I always felt like a “foreign bird” as we say in Swedish.

      1. I understand what you mean… For me it’s been a bit of both and they kind of go together in a way.

        Cause when you fit in, you are like everyone else and don’t “disturb the picture” and that is like pleasing others.

        I still feel like a foreign bird at some times, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it did when I were much younger. Most of the times I actually embrace the fact that I am a foreign bird. Cause after all we are ALL foreign birds, unique in our own way! 🙂

        1. You’re right … in all of the above, and I no longer have a problem with it either! Being a foreign bird that is … not that I feel really alienated, but still … I’m okay with that.

          We’re all unique.

  4. I used to be a people pleaser but grew out of it when I got taken advantage of a lot. But I was very introverted when I was young. I really think we walk the path we were meant to walk be it because of personality or heredity. I kind of believe in fate I guess. I love this post. I feel after a certain age you gain wisdom and don’t care as much what other people think.

    1. I was very introverted when I was young, but that changed in connection with that event i grade 8 I mentioned in the post.

      Like I said to the Cardinal, here above, I wouldn’t be sitting here now, if I hadn’t made the decisions I did, so yes … I guess we do walk the path we were meant to … somehow. We are where we’re supposed to be.

      No, at this age I don’t care as much about what people think … that said loosely, though. It all depends on ‘what people’.

      1. The way I think any more is if a person matters to you and they care about you they won’t say things that hurt you. So I am ridding myself of all the toxic people.

  5. A lot of good insight – and taking the consequences. I have got two more years to go…then I might get better at this. Not having to be loved by everyone and not pleasing everybody. I’m working on it. Good post.

  6. HAPPY 6OTH BIRTHDAY Rebby! Of all my friends turning 60 this year you are the 3rd one. Each of you have had some revelation about your life to date! There will be a few more friends until it is my turn in December. Wonder if I will feel vulnerable??
    When I look back over my Life & what happened to take me down the paths I went I do not have many regrets.
    The only 2 things I would change is how I dealt with my Mother/home situation/abuse & losing my babies. The rest is, as they say, History & it is MY history.
    Sherri-Ellen 🙂

    1. Thank you, so much, Sherri-Ellen! I don’t feel vulnerable at all … if I feel anything at all, it’s that part about time feeling more finite. Regrets … not really! I do feel I wasted a lot by not going for higher education, though. Nothing that I dwell on. I’ve done quite a few stupid things, that I’d loved to see undone, but that’s all water under the bridge now 🙂

  7. I feel THAT ‘finite’ feeling also. However Life is a journey so we carry on & enjoy Life right?
    I think we both could have gotten more education but we did not have opportunities at the time….
    There are a few things I would like to ‘undo’…like walking out on 2nd hubby…but it is done & he has forgiven me & we do chat on FB from time to time.
    And we all did some ‘stupid’ things from inexperience! 😉

    1. I had all the opportunities, but chose another path at the time.

      They’re just saying on TV we’re under a heat warning and it’s going to be another, muggy night. Sigh.

  8. It is 29 C with 37 C Humidex which is 84.2 F with 98.6 F Humidex>>>I cannot breathe outside today. I need milk but doubt I will be able to get to corner shop! It is supposed to stay like this overnite; PHOOEY!!! I want it to cool off already….
    I just had Siddhartha Henry out for 1/2 hour in SHADE & he is panting like crazy; so we are back inside. It is still cooler in here then anywhere else….
    I am sorry you have the humidity also 😦

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