Today I want to share my story of how Vulnerability is Sexy came to be. It’s a funny thing when the very thing that we write about sometimes is still difficult for us to do ourselves. Vulnerability is a layered kind of thing, and I am peeling off another layer.
I grew up in a middle class home. My parents worked really hard to give me and my brother opportunities and access that they didn’t have. I was keenly aware of this. Aware of the differences between me and some of my family members. I was reminded of this constantly. We lived in a nice house, I had both of my parents . I went to great schools, and the list goes on. I started to believe that that I didn’t deserve it because I hadn’t earned it.
So began the endless pursuit to earn all of this goodness that was in my life. To prove that it was ok to be born into this kind of family. I became fixated with everything being perfect. Obsessed with not making any mistakes. If I didn’t, then feared I would somehow lose this love.I couldn’t make any mistakes because that surely translated into a lack of gratitude for all that I had been blessed with.
I kept feeling this sense of not enough. I also felt a sense of a shame for having had certain things growing up. I graduated from a prestigious university with a Bachelors and Masters degree in 5 years. I felt like a fraud. I told myself things like “I graduated because of how I came up not because of my hard work. ” It was both my upbringing AND my hard work, but I couldn’t acknowledge that. I helped found a school in Sacramento and enlivened young minds in Chicago schools, but still felt this sense that I hadn’t struggled enough. That I hadn’t worked hard enough.
I left teaching to start a business and become a writer. That struggle pattern came back swiftly. I struggled (and in some ways am still letting go of the rest of that residual struggle.) My car got repossessed. I defaulted on a lot of my loans and debt. Couldn’t pay my bills on time. I started to feel like I was struggling as if I was finally proving myself .
During this time, when it seemed like everything in my life wasn’t making sense, I hid it well. I had finally struggled and paid my dues, and now I was ashamed. Shame works like that. Damned if we are. Damned if we don’t. It makes no sense at all and kept me in this holding pattern.
I didn’t tell many people about my car getting repossessed. I padded things with a lot of optimism while all of this swirled inside and in my regular life. Something had to give. Until very recently, I am talking less than I year, I wasn’t ok with sharing my story.
I couldn’t acknowledge to myself that Yes I grew up with great circumstances, but I also still hurt about things. I also still felt pain about some memories. I also felt guarded. That was just too hard to admit.
Vulnerability is Messy ya’ll. Taking the layer off of the onion is no easy task. Telling your story even to yourself is one of the hardest things to see.
I didn’t think my story mattered much. I didn’t believe that I had struggled enough, fought enough to deserve to tell my story. I didn’t believe that I had something to share and give to the world. I didn’t believe that I could ever write this post and share this with you .
But I know differently now. I know that no matter what side of the tracks we come from, we all have a story to share. We all have a message to bring. We all feel tender around certain parts of story. Every single story matters. Mines. Yours. All of us.
You could have come from wealth, poverty, or every shade in between and your story matters. You could have grown up with both parents, one parent, no parents, and your story matters. You may be married, singled, divorced, and your story matters. This is one thing that I know for sure is that understanding that our story matters and honoring them as sacred will change the world. Letting go of shame around who we are and what has got us here will allows us to share our gifts freely and live our lives freely.
And that is what Vulnerability is Sexy is all about. Being ourselves, flaws, bruises, hurt and all. Uncovering who we truly are underneath all of that. SHINING without ever apologizing for it again.
Vulnerability is Messy. Vulnerability is Hard . Vulnerability is Sexy.
Here’s to embracing that which we are so that we can become that which we have always been.