Tag Archives: vulnerability

I am NOT my story (and neither are you)

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It was whilst having lunch with new friends this week that I remembered I am not my story.

I really enjoy listening to other peoples’ stories; their history of triumphs and failures, joy and loss and the moments they choose to share and believe define who they are. It is a privilege to hear such tales and be trusted not to judge but to listen with an open mind and enjoy a moment immersed in someone else’s world. Though perhaps it is not that I am trusted to not judge but more that they don’t judge themselves for their history, their story, and so it doesn’t matter what I think. I always admire people that have the courage and honesty to just be themselves warts and all.

My journey with my past is an ongoing one and I struggle to admit the recent years of my life when people ask me how I came to be where I am today. I gloss over it as quickly as possible with a series of short sentences that define four painful and embarrassing years of my life because a part of me still feels ashamed. There is a piece of me that is still working on coming to terms with the fact that in the space of four years I was left at the almost-altar by my fiancé just weeks before our wedding, my mother, my best friend, died of cancer and ultimately I lost my career, my home and a whole lot more. Heck, my life was a nightmare at that time and I fought tooth and nail to create something positive from that wreckage whilst also being hideously embarrassed by my circumstances. I have worked on my self-esteem, built a new career overseas and made life choices that have led me to where I am today which is a place of happiness and a lot less drama. I have taken responsibility for my part in each of those moments in my life, I have forgiven others and yet I still feel ashamed to admit it all. I can’t bring myself to say it out loud without turning that series of events into a joke or a flippant tale as I mutter and stare at my glass of wine and shrink into my chair. I am all for listening to other peoples’ vulnerability and stories but less of a fan of sharing mine.

So today I am taking a step away from my shame and a step towards remembering I AM NOT MY STORY by writing that series of events out here. Yes it hurt like hell, it still does on some level, but it does not define me and it changed me in ways I am utterly thankful for. I have more compassion, empathy and understanding than I ever did beforehand and I am adamant that I will use my story to inspire others once I have finished writing it all out in my up and coming book. In the spirit of doing so here is my first admission, with bells on:

I was left at the altar not once but twice.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

I have TWO runaway grooms to my name.

 

I would like to say I feel less ashamed by saying that but I mostly feel like an idiot. On the other hand though, if one person reads this and feels less alone, less embarrassed by their history, then it was worth it. Ultimately all I want to do is help those in similar pain know they are not alone and speak up without shame. If I could survive all of that, which I did, then they can and will too. Keep walking forwards all and don’t let your story, whatever it is, define who you are.

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Inspire Me
Luca’s Cloud What would you do if you were not afraid?
Princess of the Light Seize Every Opportunity
Brene Brown Listening to Shame
Brene Brown The Power of Vulnerability

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Vulnerable & Free

 

“Reach out to me with your gentle heart. Let me see your sunshine and smiling face, your laughter and your glory. Let me hold your hand and enjoy the moments of celebration in life as we share a picnic on summer meadows filled with nature’s beauty. Butterflies kiss the air overhead with the beating of their wings. Let us laugh, recalling success and happiness as we find shapes and faces in the fluffy clouds passing by.

But let me also witness your storms, your failures and your fears. Let me sit by you through your moods and emotions, your darkness and your sorrows. Show me the shame sitting heavily in the palm of your hand that weighs down your limitless mind with thoughts of I Am Not Enough. Whisper in my ear the admission that you too have moments of insecurity, moments of not knowing which way to turn. That you doubt in tomorrow and hold your pain from yesterday. Don’t hide from me the tears in your eyes as you tell me you cannot go another step because it is too much. Let me see those tears. Let me understand all of you.

Let me share with you my cup of tea and be the gentle hand upon your shoulder. The soothing voice that tells you everything is okay, that you are okay. The warmth that tucks a soft blanket around your knees. The kindness that passes you the last biscuit from the tin whilst you curl deeply into the armchair. Breathe and know I am by your side. Watch the roaring fire as the storms in your mind fade away.

Let me be your friend. Let me see all of you and love every moment, every aspect of who you are. For what you see as character flaws and physical imperfections are what make you so very unique. Unique as a snowflake. Each one equally as vital, as important, in creating the beautiful hush of snow across our wintery world. Your vulnerability and shame that you think ought to be hidden away are what make you real. Show me your vulnerability and shame and you are showing me true courage. And with that open heart, that courage, the world and all her love will be yours.”

 

As I read that passage I am reminded of the fact that we all have vulnerability at our core whether we care to admit that or not. Each and every one of us holds it deep in our hearts and tries to push it down alongside fear and insecurity. As humans we are inclined to only show the very best parts of us. The shiny, the incredible, the magnificent, the awesome. We hide the traits we see as less desirable, we hide our fears and longing for connection. We diet, we have surgery, we lie, we cut and dice away in the hope we can become someone else. Yet all we achieve by doing so is never truly answering the question

 

Who Am I?

 

Instead we perpetuate the belief I Am Not Enough.

 

Like everyone else I try to hide away my darkness and my vulnerability. I diet, I think I am not enough at times and it is an incredibly painful journey accepting who I am. But slowly I am being vulnerable, facing my fears and being All of Me. I am starting to realise I am as unique as a snowflake and equally as valuable as the next. Just the way I am.

 

So why do I mention this today? Because yesterday I had the privilege of being awarded a Versatile Blogger award.

 

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This is an award given by fellow bloggers as a sign of appreciation, respect, and support for their offerings to the blogosphere.  A huge part of my journey has been the discovery of my passion for writing and the creation of my blog. By writing I have found my voice and have begun to find my way back to me. Without writing I wouldn’t be where I am today and I certainly wouldn’t be expressing my vulnerability and facing my fears. I would still be hiding parts of me away.

 

As friends old and new have read my words they have shared their own fears, the ‘Oh me too. I so do that!’ moments and inspired me. I have become part of an online community that I adore and have found daily inspiration, laughter and support through the words of other bloggers. To think that my writing is a part of this community and is valued leaves me humbled and touched.

 

And who is the fellow writer that kindly nominated me for this award? The wonderful DaveCenker. Thank you so much Dave. It means the world to me. For those of you that are not already reading Dave’s blog, you are seriously missing out. His writing is powerful, insightful and uplifting when you need it most. His aim in life is to Inspire and Be Inspired and he does just that. Check him out today.

 

There are an agreed upon set of rules that accompany this award. You are asked to nominate up to 15 other bloggers to receive the award and you are asked to share seven things that people might not know about you.

 

So here we go. My seven facts, vulnerability and fears included.

  • I walked into my glass patio door last week. I had forgotten it was closed
  • I am addicted to granola and dry Bran Flakes. I eat them at least twice a day, every day
  • My greatest loves are eating, running, the ocean and her sharks, writing, red wine, inspiring others and books
  • I won a Care Bears colouring in competition as child. I can still picture the drawing, the pens and the prize cuddly bear vividly. Precious memory.
  • My greatest fears are emotional intimacy, realising my potential, dying alone, having my wings clipped and waves.
  • I sleep on my stomach, spread out like a starfish
  • I am 34 and I have a bear called Hugs. He is awesome.

 

Now for my nominations for the Versatile Blogger award. These are blogs that, whether they know it or not, are much appreciated by me. Some I have known for a while and some are new to me. Their writing and images bring sunshine to my day, inspire and encourage me when I need it most. Thank you.

Bucket List Publications, Cupcake ‘n’ Sunshine, Talinorfali, The Snazzy Turtle, Leap Like A Frog, Morning Story & Dilbert, The Better Man Project, You Can’t Hide The Spark, Forest Four The Trees