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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lessons in Vulnerability, Shaming Yourself and Loved Ones, and Who the Fuck Have I Become?

When your whole world has been rocked, your heart has been broken and what was once held as true is no longer so, where do you go from there?  How do you begin to put the pieces of yourself together again?  How do you reconcile what your heart desperately screams for while listening to your mind that yells, 'move on! pull yourself together! you deserve better, more and stronger!'?

My friends have been amazing.  It's gotta be torture for them... to see me in such a state of despair, to field my telephone calls and text messages of, "I miss her.  I miss our life together.  You don't know what we had and I want that back.  I hate what she's done.  I hate what I've done.  I love her so much."  And on, and on, and on.  But, like the protective, loving and support folk that they are, they hang in there.  They remind me that I am loved, worthy and strong.  I am blessed.  I know that I am blessed.  But no amount of protection, love and support has been able to pull me out of this loneliness, hurt, desperation and melancholia.

I struggle with asking for help.  I'm "the strong one".  I'm the shoulder that everyone leans on and that is a most comfortable role for me.  So reaching out to my friends and loved ones makes me feel vulnerable and scared.  But I also know that I can't do this alone.  And I know that vulnerability is trust.  And trust is real love.  So I have to put my faith in that my loved ones will be there to catch me when I fall, and continue to fall and continue to fall.

I'm reading a wonderful book right now by Brene Brown called "Daring Greatly".  In it, she writes about living your life with vulnerability and opening yourself to others with love and compassion. I am the type of person who loves with her whole heart.  I never hold back and give it everything I've got.  I am vulnerable in love.  Brene Brown (to summarize) writes that with great vulnerability comes great risk, great rewards and great loss... all of which I've experienced with my love.

The opposite of vulnerability is not strength, is not invincibility and is not power.  No.  The opposite of vulnerability is fear, shame and cowardice.  And in my darkest moments of anger, rage, jealousy and insecurity, I exercised fear, shame and cowardice.

When I lost my fucking mind, I used every weapon in my emotional arsenal to wound my love.  I shamed her publicly and in the most humiliating way.  I betrayed her vulnerability to me and I publicly shamed her by airing all of her dirty laundry for our friends and family to see.  Some might say, "well, she betrayed you, so she had it coming."  And that is the exact rationale I used to hurt her, but it was vindictive, cowardly and completely lacking in compassion.  All of the qualities I never thought I possessed.  And in the end, what purpose did it serve?  I wasn't true to myself, my character or who I want to be in this world.  I pushed her away for good (which I never wanted to do).  I pushed her straight into the arms of "The Other" (which I never wanted to do).  I burned every hope of reconciliation, forgiveness and friendship for good (which I never wanted to do).

And when I realized the consequences of my actions, I begged forgiveness.  I pleaded for a face-to-face so that I could apologize and convince her to trust me again.  But how could she?  When one makes themselves completely vulnerable to another, only to have that vulnerability turned around on them in a most publicly shaming way, how can one begin to trust again?  So I'm left with knowing that, despite the fact that she may still love me (and I believe she does), we will never be able to trust each other again and move on towards reconciliation.  She betrayed my trust and I betrayed her vulnerability.  Two wrongs certainly don't make a right.

So who the fuck have I become?  I'll tell you, for the last few weeks, I've become a wounded animal.  I've become desperate.  I've become vengeful.  I've become frightened.  And I've become my own worst nightmare: a vindictive scorned lover completely lacking in compassion and maturity.  Fuck.

But with self-discovery and a new self-awareness, I am forging on.  Aware that shame destroys vulnerability and that vulnerability is love and trust.  Aware that compassion feeds and nurtures vulnerability.  So I'm learning (again) to exercise compassion; compassion towards myself, compassion towards my love and compassion towards my friends who have stood and continue to stand by me, fielding my late-night phone calls and text messages.

And I am learning to Dare Greatly.

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