A few weeks ago I wrote the post Blessings of a Brain Injury. I ended that post with:
I feel more deeply. This depth and sensitivity of feelings is a rawness, an unmasked openness that I have not had in my life before; at least not to this extent. I tended to protect myself from vulnerability. Now that is simply not an option.
Now, I am not so sure that is entirely true. I think I still am protecting myself from vulnerability. I think as I heal some old behaviors – which never really left – are reappearing.
I am pretty certain I will not hear from him again. I think he would say that he didn’t feel “a spark”.
What causes that sense of “spark” to happen between two people? What keeps it from happening? And, more specifically, do I do something to keep it from occurring?
I think I do. I think there is some way that I am protecting myself from the possibility of being rejected and thereby creating the situation where I get rejected. But it is more than that; it is that I numb myself. I numb myself so much that I emit no sparks. I emit nothing with which someone can make a connection.
Now people who know and care about me, especially people in the TBI community, might think that is crazy talk because I do not seem like that on the TBI network. Ah, but look closer and you will see that very often I put myself in the role of teacher, supporter, etc. That is a role that feels safe and comfortable. It is not vulnerability. However, to be fair to myself, I am also vulnerable at times on the network, but not often.
The word “uphold” comes to mind. Hmm . . . some synonyms of uphold are buttress, bolster, defend, and justify. These are not words that have much to do with being vulnerable.
I know with this post that I am barely skimming the surface of what I want to say – or more correctly want I want to be capable of saying. I am not yet capable of saying more. This is just the beginning of awareness that this is still a problem – a big problem.
Last night I watched a talk entitiled The Power of Vulnerability. given by Brené Brown, PhD. I was going to put it in right here but then tonight I watched an even better one by her. So that is the one that has the star spot.
For me, Brené Brown’s talks are a beginning to help me unravel my web of protected numbness. I share her talk here in case it is useful to someone else too. They are excellent talks!!! Follow the link above to watch the first one, which she gave at the TEDx event in Houston. This one below she gave later at the TEDx KC event – which I assume stands for Kansas City.