Can someone just make it go away?

It’s funny that I randomly saw this TED Talk today… It is exactly what I needed to hear (highly recommended, btw). I have been struggling lately. My brain just doesn’t stop tossing and turning. I feel overwhelmed by my present, by my future, by life… I am a chronic “stresser”. I’m constantly stressing about something and feeling overwhelmed about the possible outcomes, and trying to control them. I wanna be prepared, I wanna be able to tackle it all. I’m afraid of joy, happiness and success because I feel that I will loose it all as fast as it will come, or even worse, that I will eventually discover it was all a lie, an illusion, and the bubble will burst — so why not just burst it yourself, right?

TED Talk about the Power of Vulnerability, by Dr. Brene Brown on Jan 2011.

I guess this fear came from my parents’ divorce. You know, when you are young and you want and believe that everything will last forever — then it doesn’t. People change, life happens, and all of a sudden you feel lied to, cheated by life, because your stability has been taken away.

And if further along the way you run into disappointments in life, where over and over again you have something taken from you, something that shackles your stability, your sense of balance and well-being…well, that just feeds said fear.

And when it’s your turn to have a family and you give it your all (do you, really?), and you try as hard as you can to make it work, just so you can prevent being stolen of that stability or that thing that you feel completes you and keeps you calm and centered, like a child at night clinging to her teddy bear. All because you don’t wanna say it happened to you, too. All because you wanna be able to say, “I did it! I hacked it! I made it work!” or “He loves me and he always will, and we will have this wonderful beautiful relationship forever, because we will be there for each other ’til the end of time…”

Ironically, I still believe and hope for this. Thank God I haven’t lost this deep-hearted feeling. But to be honest, I am afraid. I am terrified! I am afraid that when I finally start earning enough money to pay my debts and get back on my two feet, I will loose it all again (growing pains!). I am afraid that when I start being called for jobs, I will eventually not be good enough or people will get over me and I will be left aside, wondering once more what to do with my life or which way to go — I guess that’s every artist’s fear: that one day your talent won’t be enough.

I am afraid that when I finally find the love of my life, I will not be able to love him because of all the pain in my heart and all the fears of losing him — because in the end we all know it never works out. That one day he will also tire of me, or us, or passion will fade, and he’ll cheat on me (just like my dad, and — with all due respect — all the other men I’ve known of in my life, except maybe three). That one day, if everything does go well, something will happen that will sabotage my happiness and pull him away from me. I am afraid. (And don’t get me started on the children I don’t yet have!)

I am afraid of the illusion of the good, because I know there will be bad right after it, and it will all be disappointing and useless in the end. And I will be left alone, like my mother, to drown in my paralyzing fears.

I believe in love, I do. I always have. But in time, I’m starting to feel a block of ice hardening around my heart. I wanna believe, but I just don’t trust anybody anymore. They all lie. They all hurt. They all wreck the balance. So the only rational thing to do is to not feel, not believe, not let them in, ’cause they’ll just cause pain. (I know what you are thinking: The answer is to love yourself and find happiness within, so no one can steal it away from you. First part: check. Second part: pretty much, but obviously still haven’t got that down…working on that! But I’m only human!)

And I just now realized that this is all about vulnerability. I feel vulnerable. All these bad feelings are brought along by vulnerability. What I wasn’t seeing is that vulnerability also brings wonderful feelings: joy, love, happiness, excitement... Feelings that I will not feel if I numb my vulnerability, paradoxically making all my fears come true.

Vulnerability makes us feel alive.

I’ve always been a whole-hearted, give-it-all, just-love-without-regrets, kinda gal. But lately I’ve found comfort in being cold, not bonding, not believing, not yearning, not giving love (I lie, I always give love…to the wrong people, nonetheless). Because I’ve been hurt, one too many times. I’ve been rejected, I’ve been abused, I’ve been drained, I’ve been abandoned, I’ve been bullied by the people I trusted and loved the most. I’ve been betrayed. When I let people in, they just stomp on my heart, like a matt.

My heart knows that embracing vulnerability and continuing to love above the uncertainty of life, is the answer. It’s in my soul, it’s who I am. But my brain is learning from past experiences and working it’s rational magic to get me to protect that poor sensitive soul of mine.

I still have hope…but at the same time, I’ve stopped believing.

I have to save my vulnerability! I’m gonna have to risk opening my heart. I’m gonna have to embrace the unknown and learn to love what is.

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