Why It’s Terrifyingly Worth It To Be Vulnerable

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Falling in love is terrifying. And while that’s so simplified that it barely scratches the surface, it’s the truth.

That shit is complicated. (cue Avril Lavigne)

And hey, maybe you’re not looking to ever be involved in such sticky situations. Perhaps you’ve been there once or twice, or just seen how romance took a bat to the hearts of friends. You run into moments of thinking, “I just won’t let that happen to me.”

You’ve made a conscious decision to avoid anything that requires a trust fall. Your instinct to survive kicks in and those walls put in place to protect you will swing back up. You’ll put a layer of distance, an invisible barrier slapped in between you and the people who could hurt you.

You might hum along just fine for days, months, even years. Everything is safe, comfortable. You’ve got an access code to your inner feelings and you never give out the number.

Until something happens.

One day, a rock will be thrown straight into your glass shelter and the smallest crack will form. This, of course, sends you into a panic. Why wouldn’t it? Someone is breaking into your home — your refuge from the storm.

And this will be when you find the bravery in vulnerability.

Well, maybe not at first.

Like most scary things in this world, being vulnerable won’t be easy in the beginning. You will resist and try to quickly repair any wear and tear. You know if you just patch up the hole, no one can get in. You’ll stay unharmed, untouched. That way, there is zero risk.

But someone will look at you that way that makes your hummingbird heart flop up into your throat and you won’t know what to do with it. Someone will reach a hand toward yours, and for the first time in so long, you feel drawn to grab it. You’ll want to invite this someone inside, to leave the door open as wide as their toothy smile.

But what about the plan? The plan to stay detached? To never allow someone the chance to hurt you?

That plan isn’t looking as plausible now. That plan is looking a lot like someone pretending. Like standing at the edge of a cliff and knowing, eventually, you’re going to jump off.

The question is: when will you make the leap?

We are not guaranteed anything in this world. You’ll live and you’ll die. What happens in between is a giant mystery that will only reveal itself as time goes on. But as soon as you are able to look at something, calculate all the chances of things going terribly wrong, and still decide to make the plunge — that is a bravery you will never forget.

I hope you will try being brave. I hope you will fall, even if it’s straight into a pile of dirt. Because that is how we grow. That is how we know our strength. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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