It seems that I’m becoming more comfortable with embracing challenges these days. With that in mind, I’m embracing the A-to-Z Blogging challenge, by writing about the things that I most closely associate with being alive, when I show up and engage with life as fully as possible.
And with that, I give you:
VERACITY & VULNERABILITY
I know – a “two-fer.” I started writing about “veracity”, thinking myself clever because this post could so easily have been offered a couple of days ago as “T is for Truth.” Clever and disingenuous. It simply would not do. It isn’t that I equate being clever with insincerity. Some of my favourite people in the world are incredibly clever and I would never dream of calling them disingenuous. It’s just that today I knew my wit was covering for something else.
I cannot stand falsehood, be it by my own hand or handed to me. I have been accused of being too honest for my own good, and I can’t refute that. I have occasionally shared truths that were best left unuttered, I have been known to conceal truths that truly needed to be shared. Some people would say that I am naïve and I plead guilty to that as well. I don’t know how else to be.
I admit to being selective about sharing my truth, my heart in much the same way that I am selective about who I choose to call “friend.” Not everyone has honoured what I have shared and it has been trampled, discarded and soiled. I have wanted to pick up the tatters and cradle them against my chest, run to a corner and cower, reluctant to share again. I want to withdraw and hide, never again to lift my face to the sun. It’s so very easy for me to do.
And too often I have wielded my truth with the subtlety of a howitzer. I seem to have found a way to combine truth and a false vulnerability into a defensive posture that is as aggressive as it gets. And with the inevitable fallout, I begin to disengage, to distance myself, berating myself for being so foolish as to reveal anything of who I am. It is justified, I say.
But it isn’t a true vulnerability and it isn’t a vulnerable truth. It is neither. It is a fabrication I use to justify keeping my distance, a construct that I can hide behind to try to protect myself. It is another mask, another way to hide, another way to keep from engaging with life in all of its beautiful messiness, another way to remain hidden and tame. It is so very easy for me to settle the mask over my face and share a half-truth that is palatable or comfortable or less threatening or simply easier, less complicated. I don’t think I need to tell you for whose “benefit” all this is intended.
Here is my truth: I have tried to keep life in general, and my life in particular in a neat and tidy little package that could be predicted and controlled. And when life escaped around the edges and got messy, as it is wont to do, I created a new “truth” to justify the messiness and called it “vulnerability” without truly engaging with life or the glorious mess that comes with it. Shell games. Mendacity disguised as cleverness, detachment feigning honest contemplation.
I want a better truth. I want a more honest vulnerability.
“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
– Anne Lamott