I never thought I would openly quote Chelsea Handler in anything motivational. I honestly do love listening to her comedy and really connected with her when I was younger. I chose to buy Life Will Be the Death of Me: …And You Too! on Audible thinking it was another comedic book that Eddie and I could listen to on our most recent road trip.
I was wrong. While there was a lot to laugh about, there were plenty of life lessons to be learned. This time, I connected with Chelsea in a different way. I saw so much of myself in what she was saying and sharing. We had different experiences, but I relate to her emotions throughout the book.
After Chelsea told her story, she shared wisdom with the reader. That’s when I heard her say “vulnerability is strength.” I had never thought of vulnerability of being anything close to strength.
You see, I have spent pretty much all of my life trying to not be vulnerable. I couldn’t stand being vulnerable and any moment that I felt it brought on horrible anxiety. Vulnerability is not something I was willing to welcome into my life. I can look back now and see that when I was my most vulnerable, I would lash out and be a pretty big bitch. It burst the bubble of vulnerability that was building and it felt better. In that moment.
Most of the regrets I do have are of these lashing out moments. I am personally working through a moment from as recent as last Christmas. I had been drinking all day and was sitting down to try to play some gambling card game (I think blackjack) and my husband was dealing it all wrong. It was not how you played the game. He tried to explain to me that there are multiple ways to play the game and I was not having it. I lashed out. And now I regret it.
If I had sat in the vulnerability and learned the new way of playing the card game, everything would have been just fine. But because I was vulnerable because I didn’t know how to play it his way, I got lost in my anxiety and fear. When I don’t know something, I feel stupid. When I don’t know something I am vulnerable. When I don’t know something, I do everything possible to not let it be known that I don’t know it so I don’t appear stupid.
As I’m talking this out with you, I’m recognizing that I equate vulnerability to feeling or being stupid. I believe this comes from growing up and the way not knowing something was treated by my parents. And by the kids I went to school with.
I am stuck in the mindset that vulnerability is a bad thing. No matter how much I’ve tried to change my mind about it, I am still in the same place. Sometimes we have to unpack things more and more before we can truly learn.
Vulnerability is strength.
Just those words together give me anxiety. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to be stupid. I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to be vulnerable.
I am being vulnerable right now by sharing this with you. I am not stupid, although my anxiety is telling me different. I am not weak, even though every fiber of my being is saying I am.
Vulnerability is strength.
This is something I need to sit with and work through. How can I be more vulnerable in my life? With my friends? With my family? How can I overcome the anxiety that plagues me anytime I am vulnerable?
I don’t have these answers yet. But I am going to sit with vulnerability and I am going to find new ways to work through it.
“Vulnerability is strength.” Chelsea Handler