Ok not happy about this, what’s got my panties in a twist is this pervasive feeling of being vulnerable. This is a foriegn and unsettling feeling. My identity is based on being “strong like bull”…most of my life has been spent developing 1 type of strength or another. My family is known for their mental and physical strength. And now the lesson seems to be get with being vulnerable and be ok with new levels of weakness. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
This conversation first popped up last summer, when there was a warning on the Gold Coast about men in a white van trying to abduct a young woman at 7am on a weekday. I had the thought for the first time in years, if that happened to me I wouldn’t be able to fight back or get away any more…it was the first time I felt physically vulnerable in some time. The truth is I am physically vulnerable all the time now. It is an odd realization. Chances are if I am hurt it will be here at home.
Part of my identity may be being strong, no doubt formed at some point before high school, when looking or acting strong saved me from my inexperience…and then adopted as a winning formula for all situations; except it wasn’t of course and now it just isn’t accurate anymore. As my muscles weaken and my walk depends on a walker, what was once a core value of the self is exposed as a facade.
And that’s not a bad thing really, for sure it’s more honest. No posing, no posture of “go ahead try me!” I am now as vulnerable as one can be, publically so. The physical vulnerability at least allows me to be truthful when I need rest. I rest rather than press out fearing a percieved weakness. I’m not obliged to go long, stay late or be the last woman standing. I am free from all the hallmarks of a stuborn stregnth, born from a facade.
It’s foriegn, this feeling, but oddly emancipating upon reflection as well.