I mentioned in my post last week that change is okay. Actually, that a lot of the time, it’s more than okay- it’s necessary. I had also mentioned that changes were soon coming to emilyeverafterco.com. One of those changes is that I will be working really hard on being vulnerable. Or, more vulnerable as it were.
Being vulnerable can mean a lot of things.
Being vulnerable can mean showing up and telling your story. It can mean opening your heart and letting people in. Sometimes being vulnerable means asking for what you need. Other times it’s just being authentic. Being your true self regardless of what others might think. I have always struggled with being vulnerable. When I was younger, being vulnerable seemed to equal getting hurt. And I was tired of being hurt.
Once I hit my late teens, I realized that never allowing myself to be vulnerable meant that I was doing myself a disservice. I was lonely and tired of wearing this ‘brave’ I-Can-Go-It-Alone mask. So I decided that I was going to try. I started letting people in, thinking that would do the trick. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any sort of standards of the people I was letting in; I just dropped my walls completely. This is not the way I recommend doing things, as that will most certainly lead to some sort of pain. Just because you realize that you need to let some people in does not mean you have to let everyone in. You still have to use your judgement.
Not everyone is entitled to your time, your space, or your vulnerability.
This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a quick lesson. I was hurt and again and again but convinced it was my fault. That I was doing something wrong. After the last big hurt, I blamed being vulnerable and I built my walls back up. I decided that I was done being vulnerable and went for the completely closed off approach again. Loneliness was the least of my problems at that point- It was shortly after I had been diagnosed with PTSD and was dealing with constant breakdowns. This was probably when I needed the most help, but I wasn’t brave enough to ask for it. Honestly, I was terrified. I shut down.
It took a lot of time and a lot of therapy to realize that I didn’t need to close off completely. That I actually needed to be vulnerable, but more selective on who I was vulnerable with. I started setting boundaries to help me with making that decision and that made a huge difference for me. Having people that I could rely on, people I could talk to and people that would be there for me when I needed them… It was life saving. That may sound dramatic, but I really don’t think I would have been able to keep going if I had continued to go it alone.
There is strength in being vulnerable.
Part of the reason that I was able to continue on my healing journey was because of the vulnerability of others. Other strong women shared their stories, helping me to realize that I was not alone. Some of them shared tips on how they started healing and some only stated what they had been through. Either way, they refused to be silenced. Their passion for healing themselves and helping to heal others inspired me so much. I didn’t realize how much until I found out that I was having a daughter of my own.
After that, it became clear to me that I too wanted and needed to help others. It became really important to me that I help make a difference for other women. To help build a world where women supported each other and where we didn’t question our worth or let others treat us badly because we thought we deserved it.
That was why I started this site.
I wanted to use it as a way to share what I’ve learned. To share my own stories and ways to heal. My hope was that I could reach women who live the way that I used to. Women who were scared or traumatized or who doubted their worth. I wanted to be able to help them to get to where I am now… Stronger. More secure. Even if I only made a difference for one woman, I thought it would be worth it.
I still think it would be worth it. But I’ve realized that I’ve been holding back. I’ve still been a bit afraid. That being vulnerable might reveal too much and that it might give people things to use against me. Because ultimately, I do believe there are still people out there who want to hurt me. The same people who spent years hurting me because I let them. People who were angry when I finally put my foot down and stopped letting them get away with it.
I’m done being scared of the people that hurt me.
I’m done holding back because I’m afraid. And I am determined to be more real with all of you- my readers. I’m going to try my best to really open up and I plan on being vulnerable with every post. I also plan to start being able to go more in depth with some of the more serious topics. Each month, I want to choose a topic to focus on with each article. That’s one of the biggest changes coming starting in March. I’m excited (and a little nervous) and I can’t wait. Hope you’ll stick around for this next step of the journey!