Stories. For several years now, I have used this platform to tell stories. Taken a break for a time. Began again because there were some needing to be told. He placed a desire in me to tell stories. I know that about me. I celebrate that about me.
Our stories make us feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is a hot commodity. It’s been researched. It is said to be what leads to true authenticity. But it also leaves us wide open. When we make a decision to be vulnerable we are open ourselves up to attack. Think about most elite military arsenals who are waiting for their targets to be “vulnerable.” Defenseless. Susceptible. Without a means to protect oneself. Unguarded. Weak.
Enemies can prey on the weak and vulnerable.
I have shared stories. I have been vulnerable. And at times it has left me weak, raw, and open to attack.
In an effort to be authentic, I have traded transparency for safety. For approval. For the need to fit in and do the next big, cool, and accepted thing that seemed to make me appear “vulnerable.”
But I sacrificed me.
I love the author Brene Brown. She studied vulnerability and shame for many years, and this quote resonated with me as I read through many of her thoughts on the subject: “We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that our truth isn’t enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.”
We are not enough if we are not doing what they are doing. If our bells, and our whistles do not look and sound like their bells and their whistles. If we begin to do those things because we think we should, or because everyone else is; then we are definitely susceptible. Definitely under attack. Definitely unsafe. We are under attack from becoming someone we were never intended to be.
I mentioned in my last post I stopped doing videos for silly reasons, yet I wonder if they were truly “silly.” Or if the underlying reason was because doing them was just not me. It isn’t in my makeup. It’s not at my core. To sit behind a video screen, watch myself on camera, and monitor how my arms flail, and my eyelids dart about. I don’t like video screens. I am not made for those. That is not authentically me. That bell and whistle is for someone else. Someone else for whom that form of “voice” is made.
Me? My authentic voice is the pen. I write. I have since I was little. I do it all the time now. Notebooks stored in drawers, purses, bags, all with thoughts and words that are all jumbled up in my mind until pen hits paper. It is the place where vulnerability meets my genuine voice. It is the place where vulnerability meets truth. It is the place where vulnerability shares raw, real, and honest stories. It is the place where vulnerability seeks to be courageous, though still very flawed. It is me-nothing but me.
“The core of authenticity is the courage to be imperfect, vulnerable, and to set boundaries.” Brene Brown
So, I told you mental health, the church, and an some initial lessons on boundaries was what you would get-and you will. Just from my authentic place. Pen, paper (well, computer). My voice. My authentic voice. The place where vulnerability meets truth and courage. Not with the bells and whistles that suit everyone else.
That is your first lesson on boundaries (the “meat” comes next week!).
DO NOT apologize for being you. Find your authentic voice, your niche, your bell and whistle, and OWN it.
Your craft will not be like anyone else’s. Your gift will not be like any others. If God intended it to be this way, He would have made us all the same, and we would all be doing and walking in the same purpose. He didn’t. He made us all different. Gave us a variety of gifts, and many ways to use them. Some are for you. Some are not. You do not need to apologize for not using those that are not for you. Ever.
Find and stay around people who encourage you in using your authentic craft.
You will not be for everyone, and that is OK. You do not have to light yourself on fire for them if you are terrified of fire. Those who love you, accept you, and know your dreams and desires will support the unique ways in which you choose to use your voice. Allow them to be your cheerleaders and your guiding lights. You remain light and love to those others, while staying authentic to who you are!