I’ve always hated being vulnerable, whether that is people seeing me cry or just sharing my problems. But the older I get, the more I realize it’s not that I hated being vulnerable but that I was scared of it. I have always been the fixer, the one who will stay up listening to people’s problems, the shoulder for people to cry on. That’s me. I have always been the fixer, and while a part of that is because I love helping others and patching up their wounds and fixing their cracks, maybe another part is because I know deep down I didn’t want those people to see my own cracks. I have always wanted to be the savior but never the victim.
I had always wanted people to save people because I thought I couldn’t save myself.
I wanted people to depend on me so that maybe someday I could start to depend on myself. If I had to picture it, we are all made of clay, and life has cracked every one of us in a unique way. Some people have fixed themselves to near perfection while others still have holes that they find too hard to fix. I see these people and I am constantly trying to fix their broken parts. I give parts of myself to fix them, and that is good until I discover my cracks have now become holes, and those holes expose the most vulnerable parts of me. I don’t want people to see these holes, so I ask them to tell me all their problems and focus my undivided attention on their cracks so they don’t see mine.
For too long, I have ignored my cracks and have left myself broken, and it’s only now when I am looking back at myself that I am reminded that I matter too. So, for once, I want to speak my truth. I am letting myself be vulnerable, because for the first time, I am seeing that vulnerability isn’t a weakness. To be vulnerable is its own kind of special power, and in doing this, I’m finally saving myself. I hope that you do the same.
In my head, I’m picturing a girl standing in front of a house. The house is beautiful, but there are cracks in its foundation. Some of the windows are broken and it needs a new coat of paint. The girl walks into the house, paint and plaster in hand, and begins to make the changes she knows this house deserves. She cleans away the dust and cobwebs, remembering to be gentle with each touch as she tears down the old wallpaper and removes the dusty carpets. She pulls down the ripped curtains and coughs at the dust while smiling at the bittersweet feeling of old becoming new. She stands in the middle of this house. This old but beautiful house and melancholy fills her as she traverses the hallways and corridors for the last time, her hand trailing along the cracks that she once thought were too deep to mend. Cracks she had tried to cover for so long but could never quite do the job. She tilts her head back in relief, because once and for all, she knows she will finally be free. Step by step, she studies each room, allowing herself to feel sadness, joy, anger, and finally, catharsis. And with a heavy breath of relief, she starts to rebuild the broken house around her.
We are all that girl, every one of us trying to clean house and get rid of the old, the dust, and dirt. We are trying to plaster over the cracks and repaint the walls to make the house beautiful again, but we often give up when the cracks run too deep, when the foundation is too unsteady and we forget about how beautiful the house was and refuse to see how beautiful the house can be. We build over the cracks and cover over the old wallpaper, and we keep doing this without allowing ourselves to see potential, because we only see damage, brokenness, and something that can never be fixed.
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we are not covering up but accepting. We are allowing ourselves to heal and be whole. I was wrong—a phrase you won’t hear me say often. Being vulnerable will never be a weakness. Being vulnerable allows us to be truly, wholly, and unapologetically us. We claim ourselves back, not as victims and not even as survivors, but to be just simply us again. We are our own saviours, menders, and creators. And when we are finally done and we take a step back, we finally realize that the house was and always will be beautiful, and nothing will ever change that.