Monday, November 15, 2010

My Vulnerabilities Exposed

Vulnerable: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded

I’ve been really excited for the next topic in the Self Discovery Word by Word Series. This month it is being hosted by Karen at Before & After: A Real Life Story. But then I found out that the word this month was vulnerability. Dang. This is not a subject I really want to talk about. Gratitude was super easy for me. I have a lot to be grateful for. But vulnerability is something that is not easy for me to discuss. That is why this post is my version of the popular Exposed Movement.

I am a pretty strong person. I am loud and obnoxious, and I have a big personality. I have been told that I don’t know how to whisper. I tend to intimidate people, which is definitely something that I do not do on purpose. I love to help and inspire people, but something about my personality tends to scare people. That is until they get to know me a little better. Then they figure out I’d never hurt anyone on purpose. I like to joke around and have fun (sometimes at the expense of whoever I'm with, oops). Being vulnerable is the LAST thing that people who know me would ever expect me to feel.

People assume that I am strong and have no emotion. They assume I’m never vulnerable. They assume wrong.

Those who know me the best have seen me at my most vulnerable moments. A while ago, I had a very stressful job for a year and a half, and I didn’t have a lot of support during that time. After that year and a half, I changed jobs within the same institution. Everyone knew me and knew my previous situation and they took me in and treated me like a wounded puppy. They knew what a strong person I was, but they could also sense that I had a bad time. They were like family. Well, a customer service situation came up at work one day that got pretty intense. My new coworkers came right to my aid and had my back and stood by my side in everything. I got teary eyed. Me being the person I am tried to hide this, but they caught on. They thought it was because of the intense situation. Believe me, I can handle intense situations. If I am anything, it is strong! I intimidate, not the other way around. The reason I got teary eyed was because I was not used to having the support of my coworkers like I did then. Having them rush to my aid like that was very new and refreshing, and it meant a lot to me, and I got emotional.

In regards to my weight loss journey, feeling vulnerable is something that I have felt a lot more than I am used to. I have mentioned time and again how emotional this journey has been. I’m not used to these emotions, so it’s very new for me. I’m used to being a rock! But when you lose a significant amount of weight, you start to become a new person. I’m still trying to figure myself out. While I’m figuring this out, I’m very susceptible to feelings of vulnerability. Things that never would have hurt my feelings before are starting to bother me. I bounce back quickly, because that’s just how I am. Things that people say or even what people don’t say can have an impact on me, which is new. Unfulfilled expectations from my weight loss journey also leave me feeling emotionally wounded.

How can I end this positively? Feelings of vulnerability are definitely a new thing for me since I’ve lost weight. But guess what else? I’m happier than I remember ever being. I’m not the same person I used to be, and I’m discovering more about myself every day. So I guess I’m grateful for feelings of vulnerability, because that makes me a little more normal. If I have to deal with some painful emotions to be this happy, I think I can handle that.

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