If I told you that I had just painted a picture of vulnerability, what would you imagine it to look like?
For me, I would probably paint a sand volleyball court on the beach, this is where I feel like I am most myself. I would have it be a sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. I would paint my friends on the court playing, a crowd of strangers standing all around watching the competitive match. There would also be the waves crashing onto the beach and some random surfer trying to catch one. There would also be a few bushes in the corner of the painting, just big enough to hide behind.
I have friends who vary with how vulnerable they are. Some will call about anything and everything that is going on in their life, some call when things get too rough to handle, and some never call and just laugh away the pain. I respect every one of these ways because it is a part of what makes them, them. For me, vulnerability is often showing everyone the painting above, letting them get distracted by the volleyball, the sunset on the beach, the crowd of people, and never having to talk about why there are a few random bushes on a beach. Can bushes even survive on a beach?!
This weekend I had the worst anxiety attack of my life. *CUE BEING VULNERABLE* I was in a place that I loved, playing golf, with one of my best friends. I should’ve been having the time of my life, yet suddenly, I felt like running behind a few bushes. The scary thing about being vulnerable is, sometimes, you honestly don’t have much of a choice. Last week in my blog I spoke about telling people how you are actually doing when they ask and not to settle with the casual “living the dream.” Well, this past week I did exactly that, settled. I buried the pressure of work that week and acted like everything was all good. I didn’t talk about how I felt like I was falling behind again with my homework to those who were asking how my classes were going. I didn’t talk about how I didn’t feel like myself. Instead, I pushed it all down because I knew I was about to be on vacation and having a great time.
I think it’s amazing how even in the best of environments with people who care about you, you can be in the worst headspace. It’s almost a testament to the idea that if you aren’t winning in your own head, then you have no shot at winning outside of it. Anxiety can come out of nowhere and it looks different for every single person. It seems to feed off of every little negative aspect you are thinking about and continuously grow until it’s the only thing occupying your head space. Being vulnerable is something that is so outside of my wheelhouse, I don’t even know if I could describe it to anyone without putting up mirrored walls as distractions anymore. Vulnerability usually is something I pull out of my pocket when I feel like someone speaking to me needs to see it. The avoidance of being vulnerable is at times the cause of my anxiety.
When I sat down to write on Sunday, I couldn’t seem to put anything down. I had so much I wanted to talk about, yet I couldn’t seem to make sense of it all. I wanted to talk about my anxiety attack and talk about how I failed myself. I had edits which were based around the thoughts of losing versus learning and how you don’t simply win or learn. Edit after edit, I couldn’t put anything together. So, I gave up on the post. I decided that I would just wait another week until Sunday and start the posts bake up again and no one would notice. But I noticed.
This week hasn’t felt right so far and I can’t help but think that part of it has to do with giving up instead of being vulnerable in a post. I wanted to talk about how I was struggling last week but convinced myself that wasn’t what a “leader” should do. In reality, it’s exactly what I should’ve been doing. It’s our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable, even when that is us.
As you go throughout this week I hope you can be vulnerable, at least with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because you think you should’ve done more in a situation that has already passed. Celebrate the wins to better prepare yourself for a loss. Maybe most importantly, let the right people see you vulnerable, you’ll be surprised with how it helps. For me, I will actually answer how I am when asked and further process how I got to where I was when I experienced my anxiety attack.
I would love to hear what your painting of vulnerability would look like if you would like to comment below! While it might not be Sunday anymore, I am hopeful that you got to spend a successful Sunday with You.
-Colin Lane Croat