Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vulnerability with a Side of Sass

   These two are equal parts beauty and sass: Nicole and Lesley (with me).

When I was a child and teenager I always felt disconnected. I was missing that feeling of belonging that comes with truly connecting to others. In adulthood I've learned who I am, what I value and what type of relationships I want in my life.  I've surrounded myself with genuine people who I respect and who make me feel respected in return. When that happened I finally felt connected. I ate it up. I still eat it up. I will  never be full.

In the past six months I've relearned a lesson that I painfully learned as a young adult. Vulnerability is the only way to truly connect with others. My beautiful friend Nicole has helped remind me of this vital lesson. Earlier this year Nicole was diagnosed with breast cancer. Daily I am in awe of her strength, resilience and perseverance to heal herself. But I am also amazed to see her capacity to expose herself so vulnerably. Nicole created a social media page to update her community about her medical/emotional/spiritual status. And what followed has been beautiful. I have witnessed Nicole's community respond in unwavering, loving support.

When we open up it allows others around us to open up as well. And we feel genuinely loved for who we are, beautiful, mess, sass and all. Of course there is risk involved. Sometimes when we are vulnerable people let us down. Sometimes they hurt us. Not everyone has the capacity to reciprocate love in this way. But when you reach out and someone reaches back it's powerful. To me it's life sustaining and worth the risk of pain.

I am inspired by Nicole. What she has done with her community is amazing and may not be the exact right thing for every person. Each of us can have our own version of creating supportive and loving relationships. I think my hope is that this post will reach someone that needs to hear this message. Just as I've needed and received the message in my own life.



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