real vulnerability.

I am a talker. I can talk to almost anybody about anything. I joke all the time that I can have a great conversation with a cat. I’m actually quite positive a lot of people find it quite obnoxious.

Part of me being a talker is me being a sharer. I’ve got stories for days. I can tell you about this “one time when” applied to just about any topic of discussion.

To many peoples’ surprise, I share a lot of personal things as well. There are details about my past or even my present that I throw right out there on the table for the entire world to see. And that shocks folks.

What they don’t really understand is why. Some people try to avoid judgement by being closed off or shutting down. I’ve always taken the opposite approach. I tell/show people my version of things so they hear it how I want them to. They know who I am, my mistakes my struggles or whatever else I decide to share and they can make an informed decision on whether or not they care to actually know me before I have a chance to know them enough to be bothered by there decision either way.

When I decided to launch my website, I did tons of research. I stumbled across another spoken word artist/blogger Emily Joy (emilyjoypoetry.com). I’ve actually become low key obsessed with her. She has made a career of doing what she loves, what she is good at. And she is so unabashedly honest about her issues with faith, her child hood and so much more. Or is she? This is how she put it in regards what she shares when she performs.

“ I have a mental rolodex of facts I’m okay with divulging. People come up to me afterwards and thank me for being so vulnerable and I laugh silently to myself. I want to tell them that I’m not actually vulnerable. I just have a higher threshold of what constitutes vulnerability than most people.”

I read that and it smacked me right dab in the middle of my gut. “SHE GETS IT” I thought. When I talk about myself, when I stand on stage and perform these pieces with “intimate details” about who I am or what I’ve gone through, it’s all rehearsed. It’s all information that I’ve decided a long time ago I’m ok with sharing. It’s all how I’ve decided I’m ok with portraying myself. Loud, bold, unapologetic, honest, messy. You hear what I’ve practiced in my head before the “truth” comes out later down the road and I didn’t not have the chance to defend myself or soften the blow. Some think I’m being vulnerable but often my threshold of “vulnerability” is just higher than what yours is. And believe or not, it’s been a great way to mask my insecurities. Even from myself.

God challenged me this year to be truly transparent. It wasn’t enough to say I struggled with abuse, addiction, self-worth or whatever. What happened? How did I respond? How did it effect me? How does it still effect me? Will it always effect me? What are people going to think? Am I ok with that opinion? If not, Do I have enough faith in God to find my validation in Him and not what they think about me?

So with this blog, I have been trying to be transparent on another level completely. I’ve shared details about events I’m not even sure I’ve ever shared with a single soul. I’ve explored feelings and emotions I normally keep for people closest to me right here where anyone can see. And it’s been TERRIFYING. With every word I write, I feel completely exposed . I’ve actually had to call up my best friends more than once already. “I can’t believe I posted that! What if so and so sees it for real.” And each time they had to talk me off the edge of the panic cliff I was ready to jump over, lovingly reminding me that I am doing this for a reason. Reminding me I just want people to see no matter what the struggle, you aren’t alone and there is always hope.

But for the first time in forever, I actually feel vulnerable. I’m also learning an awful lot about myself.

So thank you to anyone reading this for allowing me to be honest to my depths and still wanting to hear what I have to say.

One day, writing these things won’t be so scary anymore.

-Kristen

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