Steadfast in the Vulnerable

I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability.

About being truly vulnerable.

It was in the forefront of my heart and mind yesterday when I sat and listened to over 20 people share their stories, standing fiercely in a place of vulnerability and give us their words. *(I’ll share more on this tomorrow)

I was on a connected plane of empathy with them because I have found myself in a place thick with vulnerability lately. With all the whiplash change that has happened in my “Plan” the past few weeks, I’ve really felt raw. . . as if my armor had been stripped and everyone was Instagramming my shame.

One tiny chink in the armor, one tiny hiccup and before I knew it, I was questioning everything. I’m questioning myself, my abilities as a student and as a girlfriend and as a friend and as a daughter and as a sister…you get the picture. I’m questioning, and then I begin doubting.

I’ve had a few weeks of this, and feeling like I couldn’t talk about it. Couldn’t write about it. Because really, one more thing? One more thing that isn’t going right and here I am bitching about it? One more thing that someone else has done wrong, one more thing that I’m not happy about. . . my fear, my ultimate fear is that you will leave. You will leave. Mark will leave. Everyone will leave. It’s scar tissue that is inflamed and throbbing. It’s irrational and can put a pit in my stomach faster than the sound of that belt could…whipping through the belt loops and heading my way for a spankin’ years and years ago. That kind of a pit. Unshakeable.

During these moments, seized in shame and just raw fear, my scar tissues flair, and I need reassurance. I need some extra.

Yet I do not ask for it. I do not say, please…I need this.

I gunnysack. I list. I manipulate every movement into an unintended slight. I loose sleep. I cry. I emotionally eat. And if there is nothing whatsoever going wrong? I’ll find something.

I hate this version of me. I hate her. She is desperate and clingy and needy. She is mean and cold and joyless. I have nothing nice to say about her. I don’t know where she comes from. What I do know, is that she is vulnerable. And being vulnerable is an uncomfortable thing. It is scary and painful. 

What I finally did was dig up the courage to word vomit, to just break the seal and say the things that had started my spiral into the land of stink.

Mars. Venus. What a bunch of crap.

Total on the money crap.

Communication. When something blocks the communication, when something clogs the words…things start to back up. And if communication is clogged during a time of vulnerability in any other area of life…Lord help the man.

With one simple exchange, I went from a knot-filled, tension-wired time bomb, to someone who believed in everything again. Someone who could breathe easier, and felt like a *mountain of support just arrived on the doorstep.

*it had always been there, btw.

I want to say how lucky I feel, how lucky that I know I am, to have someone walking this road with me who is patient, and willing to do the work and learn with me how to navigate this communication thing. Someone who will listen to my stories because he hasn’t gone away because he is here to listen.

Vulnerability isn’t a bad thing. Brene Brown tells us that “Vulnerability is the birthplace for connection, love, and change.”

This is the motto that I have for our Listen To Your Mother cast.

I can’t wait to tell you about them. But first, I needed to tell you about this. And to tell you that at the end of the day I may not know where I’m going, or how I’m going to pay for it, but I know that I’m not alone.





10 thoughts on “Steadfast in the Vulnerable

  1. Oh sweet girl! I know those feeling so well! Something happened to me the other day and I was immediatly trasported to a place of pissed off and raw as salt in cut. I am so glad you have somebody you can trust to talk to. It makes all the difference in the world…YOU ARE NOT ALONE


  2. Sister, you just wrote my week. My story. I can’t tell you how you just opened me up. Things I never connected in my head with the things my mouth says.
    I kind of hate how I feel about it all right this minute…I feel like I learned something horrible about me. But, something useful too.

    This makes me want to see things differently right this minute…because I am also impatient.

    Flawed. Grateful and flawed. I love you. Thank you.


  3. Ugh…I just re read my post…I’m sorry for dumping here in the comments. Moderate at will…

    Angry? Me?? hahahahahaha

    Maybe only a little 🙂 I am so angry at me for being unprepared for vulnerability. For being unprepared for change. For being unprepared to have to be the cheerleader in my life all.the.time. For being unprepared to just let some things go.

    I love you sweet Misti.


  4. It’s fine girl. This is the place to do that. I think as women who are considered successful and educated and focused, it’s even harder to realize how much of our proverbial shit we do not have together. 🙂 It’s okay. We’re all just doing the best we can. And if we’re not…well…then we try again tomorrow. Right? Do you know Brene Brown and her work with shame and vulnerability? I suggest looking at her website and watching her Ted talks. I love her. ❤


  5. Listen to your other mother here. STOP.IT.NOW. One of your best qualities is how well you can kick the crap out of yourself. You have the strongest support group, lots of people who love you. If you don’t get these poison thoughts out, your head will explode. Voice of experience. I’m here if you need me. Now go eat some fruit or have some tequila. Always works wonders for me. Heart you.


  6. I hate that you go through the first part, but everyone who reads and shares with gets it. We have all been there. What I love is the last part, the part where you break the wall of doubt and you find there is still someone here, by choice to listen and walk with you. Mark is a gem. And we will still be here to fill in the gaps. You believe in us, don’t you? I know I don’t see you often, but when I do, or when I read your words, I just see good and beauty, deep and true, even when you don’t.


    1. Of course I believe in you. I’m grateful and thankful. For all of you. It’s old wounds, ya know. Old old scars that for the most part are just that. A reminder of an old wound. Sometimes, they flair. But always…always I believe in you. 🙂 I’m so thankful that Mark is the kind of man that is formidable in spirit and not easy to run off. it’s that kind of steadfast assurance that eventually…will seal up those scars forever.


  7. Misti – I’ve read your post several times and each time I am touched deeply. I remember not too long ago a manager walked by my office and didn’t say “hello” (btw….he never does nor does anyone else mostly because they don’t want to interrupt.) I was in a bad, bad place and for about an hour I sat there almost in tears wondering what on earth I could have done. This was my MO for years (!!), but never knew how to talk to those a##hole voices. Today I can and I did. I am so proud of you for voicing and writing this post. It is beautiful, real, authentic, and SO FULL OF HOPE. We need HOPE and you, girl, provide it when you walk in any room. Did you know that? Just your person is beautiful even when you are struggling with the junk. The junk and old wounds are not your identity. They impact yes, but they are not the whole story. xoxox

    P.S. I love your quote for the LTYM show, so beautiful and so true. I just have to restate it, “Vulnerability is the birthplace for connection, love, and change.” 🙂


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