The Taboo of Nakedness

1 Jul

I really want to write about something happy, you know, one of those happy-go-lucky kind of reads that gets you laughing out loud to yourself. Reality is that is just not where I am at right now. I know I will be there again one day.

Instead I am going to share with you my recent experience with vulnerability. Vulnerability is one of those words that sends a shock down our spine when we hear the word, it shakes our soul to the core. I am going to knock down taboos and come face-to-face with vulnerability. Why, because I am actually okay with it now.

I’ve always been a “tough girl”, the type that doesn’t cry when I fall, a tom-boy of sorts, and the type that just gets back-up and keeps going. I developed that persona growing-up through both good and bad circumstances. In other words I have very tough skin, skin of metal armor. I have finally come to the point that I know it and I’m okay with it.

Recently  I’ve experienced some of the hardest, and most difficult situations in my life. Ever. I’ve been through a lot of sh*t before but nothing comes close to this. I am not going to get into all of the gory details, because it’s just not necessary and through it all I sincerely believe that every cloud has a silver lining. I don’t know all that I have to learn, and grow, from these life changing events but day-by-day I will uncover the secrets they hold that will help me become a better person. The one thing I’ve learned about more than ever before is vulnerability.

Because I have a natural suit of metal armor, I rarely felt and internalized vulnerability. I am that girl who hitchhiked solo in southern Turkey, who took a shipping boat for over 24 hours to cross Lake Nicaragua, and gallivanted through remote jungles all over the World. There were moments in those experiences that I did feel vulnerable, and they were also trust building exercises with myself. Opportunities to build confidence, self-worth, and trust in myself, but also in other people – complete strangers. Not everything about those experiences was perfect and pretty. I ended up with Montezuma’s Revenge countless times. I stumbled across a 3-meter long snake that was as big around as my thigh in the middle of the jungle. I got lost in a remote rainforest and spent the night huddled under some fallen palm leaves with no flashlight or food. I also remember those professional experiences in my 20s when I sat before sat before conservative State law makers in Capital buildings feeling like a complete fraud – what the hell did I know at 25 years old? Those are light experience with vulnerability I will never forget. They were moments that I was having a wrestling match with vulnerability.

I recently came face-to-face with vulnerability again, not by choice, and in a very different context. Instead of snakes, hitch hiking, and conservative law makers, I confronted vulnerability in one of the most intimate aspects of my life – my home. I felt so physically and emotionally vulnerable and scared, I didn’t sleep for days. Yes, days and days. It doesn’t matter what led to this confrontation with vulnerability, its just that circumstances were what they were. I suddenly felt powerless, unprotected, and downright vulnerable. I lost all that I knew and defined as my safe place in the world. That suit of metal armor had suddenly vanished before my eyes. I did what I needed to do. Redefine a safe place in the world for me and my son. It doesn’t make our suits of metal armor magically reappear. Instead it taught me to be okay with a certain level of vulnerability, and that I must define what that means for me and what my boundaries are.

Instead of fearing vulnerability I’ve come to understand vulnerability in ways I never thought of before. Its risk, uncertainty, and emotional exposure. Coming face-to-face with vulnerability is to find ourselves naked and unintentionally exposed, and neck deep in our misery. To be vulnerable is to be human. It is a deep part of the human experience. Things happen in our lives that force us to look within in ways we never have considered before. What we might experience, feel, and see are not always roses – and often times its quite the contrary. However, if we embrace those moments of introspection, in the darkest and toughest of times, we can see the beauty and innocence that lies in our individual vulnerability. Embrace it. And learn from it.

I am not 100% there, and I don’t think I ever will be. The destination is not the goal. What I have learned is that I must commit myself to living my most genuine and authentic life. Living my most genuine and authentic life is not something I can compromise. I also don’t know exactly what that looks like and in time it will take shape if I continue to ensure that I check-in with authenticity in making decisions along the way. I don’t know what life has in-store but the new found acceptance with vulnerability has led me to go further in my commitment to living my most genuine and authentic life.

Here I end with a photo I took high-up in the mountains of Ecuador. It represents a moment that natural beauty took my breath away, but a moment that I found myself physically face-to-face with vulnerability. There I was perched high on a mountain, on a narrow wobbly trail with steep cliffs on both sides of me, where layers upon layers of the Earth took form. The kind of place where the Earth is so deep, that if you fall you don’t know how far you will go, nor where you will end-up.

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3 Responses to “The Taboo of Nakedness”

  1. rainworks July 1, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

    Wow, what an endless voyage, the education of life.

    • Jess July 2, 2016 at 3:55 am #

      wow. I admire you for sharing this. raw, brutal honesty
      I wish I were nearby when you had to maneuver …for whatever the reason..call me….i have left messages for you everywhere…to your gmail, facebook messengeras well as calling what I thought was your cell…. you are an amazing beautful human being on the inside and outside….you deserve to be surround by your friends 978-835-2826 is browne b goodes cell #

      holler

      • vivevivir July 2, 2016 at 10:52 am #

        Thanks Jess! I’m sorry I’ve not been in touch. Things have been hectic. I’ll drop you a line soon. Big hugs and I think of you everyday. Soul sister.

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