The Vulnerability Hangover
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
Back in the day it was not uncommon for me to be chemically hungover. On the regular, actually. As my alcoholism progressed, the hangovers became more and more brutal. I'm happy to report that this month, April 18th to be specific, I will celebrate 18 years without alcohol in my life. Holy shit!! That's pretty epic, if you knew me back then, or even if you didn't.
It's still epic.
There is another type of hangover that doesn't get as much glamorous air-time. Crashing cars and ending up in jail has more panache than feeling crippled by too much exposure, yet this type of hangover can be just as brutal. Most people don't talk about the things I shine a light on, nor would they ever expose their true authenticity that is behind the socially acceptable authenticity. Why? Because what will THEY think??? What will THEY say about me??? What if THEY don't like me??? Yeah. Fuck that. You know why? Because the truth is THEY will think whatever it is they want to think anyway! It's actually quite liberating when you can get yourself to this point.
I have nothing to hide, from my students, from my children, from anyone reading this. What ya see is what ya get with me, yo. That being said, the consequence of authenticity is vulnerability. I've done my work around all of this, and I teach others how to do it, but I am still human. I still have feelings. I still want to be loved. What I refuse to do though, is dim myself down so that others won't get uncomfortable, and bump up against their own shit. It's not my job to manage anyone else and their reactions to me. It's really none of my business what others think of me. That's up to them and whatever they have going on. There is a boundary where I end, and others begin.
The ability to be vulnerable is a super power. Nonetheless, it still takes time and practice to build that strength, just like in asana practice.
Pixie Lighthorse writes: Vulnerability is not a weakness. Our willingness to show up humble or in our feeling state is important for allowing our emotional components be a part of our relationships. Just as our intellectual, spiritual, and physical aspects get to shine, so must our real feelings. When offered honestly, vulnerability is a strength.
More often than not, what I witness in my personal relationships, and what I see with students and clients, is the defending and posturing of the ego armor. This makes sense when we don't know any better. The ego is trying to shield us from pain by building up that armor. The damage of that behavior, well-honed over decades, prevents us from having true connections with others, and we stay stuck.
The price of my true authenticity and connection with others is the occasional vulnerability hangover.
I can handle that.