The concept of vulnerability is pretty foreign for me. Over the years I've created an impenetrable barrier in an effort to deal with all of the bullshit thrown my way. I've always felt like having this barrier is the reason I have been able accomplished so much in the face of adversity. My 27 years on this earth have been cluttered with road blocks and obstacles. I am one tough cookie and have managed to break though each barrier with tenacity and courage. Yeah I know I'm bad right.
Unfortunately, I have recently recognized (read: I realized this more than 5 years ago but am only recently making efforts to change) how it has adversely affected my love life. Having a relationship with me is no easy fete. I'm hard headed, smart-mouthed and getting me to believe I am not right about anything is damn near impossible.
I barely ask anyone for help because I am so used to doing everything on my own. I am aware that others are willing to help but feel that it is best not to be a burden to others. Did you catch that, even I know it wouldn't necessarily be a burden but burden is the first word that comes to my mind when thinking of asking others for help. I've had friends make it very clear that they want to help and I'd shoot them down immediate.
Over the past few months I've been making a conscious effort to change my ways. My steps may be small but boy do they feel like I'm going in the right direction. For example, yesterday I was walking from the neighborhood grocery store to my house with several heavy bags. I couldn't hide the fact that these bags were far too heavy for me to even attempt walking 2 steps let alone 0.5 miles to my apartment. I struggled to balance these heavy bags in my hands as I slugged down my block. A young gentleman approached me and asked if I needed help.
Normally I would have flashed a smile and turned down the gracious offer. Later I'd have to ice my back for an hour or so dut to the strain caused by carrying half a ton of groceries. Instead I remember the promise I had made to myself about my new practice. I flashed a smile and thanked the gentleman for stopping while handing over half of the load. After he carried my bags to my apartment I emphatically thanked him for his generosity. I allowed myself to be vulnerable for a minute to a stranger when I was so clearly and desperately in need. While I still won't be quick to ask for help, I also won't be too quick to turn it down either.
Another adjustment I am making in an effort to allow myself to be vulnerable is to cut back on my sarcasm. [insert readers large gasp followed by a unison exclamation "But Silent, we love your sarcasm!"] I said cut back not cut out! There's no way I can or want to change who I am entirely. I do however want to offend less, push away less and overall get my point across more. I've always said my personality is one that takes getting used to however, there are some parts that can easily be well...adjusted. A part of moving in the right direction will require me to also be more cognizant of tone and delivery. My use of sarcasm has been a defense mechanism for far too long. While at times I find myself pretty damn funny, I also know sometimes I'm covering up my true feelings with these snide remarks.
I've been doing this more over the last few weeks and oh boy is this work. After an all out 1 hour long debate a few weeks ago with a group of my closest drunk New York friends, I knew something had to give. I'm glad my friends were able to speak to me in a manner that made me reflective instead of defensive.
So sometimes before I send a text, I read it aloud to myself. Before I blurt out my first reaction, I say the comment to myself first. This is going to be challenging and I am thankful for my friends who are here to support. I am especially thankful to friends who have let me know when I've changed too much. Thanks to those who have said, "Silent, can you give me your first reaction to my story because I know that aint it!"