My word for 2016 was adventure. Click here to read my report from a year that was full of running, exploring, personal growth and adventures.
Going into 2017 has been tough for me. I've realized some things about myself that I'd like to further explore, but that exploration is scary. The truth about what we hold deep in our hearts, that we cover up with possessions and smiles and tough skin and super mom personas can be hard to uncover. But that is exactly what I intend to do in 2017.
My 2017 word is vulnerable. My goal is to allow those buried feelings of fear, shame, and unworthiness to surface so I can welcome them and befriend them. I've spent the month of January diving in and what I've found so far is nothing short of fascinating.
Let me describe an example. We are a screen watching family. While we value outdoors and adventures, our go-to is often screens. Winter and the cold makes it more challenging for N and me and we have to stay very cognizant of how much time the boys spend on screens. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by this task this past week, then in the midst of this I took BBZ to the dentist and found that he needs a lot of treatment, much like he did a few years ago. The combination of these two things came to ahead in Saturday.
The boys were playing video games together before dinner and had built a huge village and were working really well together. I was concerned about the length of time they were playing, then the village they built dominated their discussion at the dinner table. I felt completely overtaken by screens and LOST IT. You know, the kind of crabby that makes the family walk on eggshells. It was bad.
In his beautiful and supportive way, N asks me if this is just about the screens or if there was something else going on. I sat for a minute, and really explored this feeling. What was going on with me? I've been so even keeled lately. I've been ridding my home of useless stuff and seeking a more calm and quiet life. Where on earth did this anger come from?
Then I figured it out. The screens. The dentist. The decision to try a more minimal life. Under it all was an intense feeling that:
I am not good enough.
How about that for being vulnerable. A better mom would have screen limits figured out. A better mom would provide better dental care. A better mom (or person) wouldn't have all this stuff in the first place, or would have it all out of the house by now. But rather than admitting that this is how I'm feeling, I lashed out at others in "stressed out" aggression. But buried underneath this outer shell is the fear of being right, that I'm really not good enough.
Something that sent me on this path toward being more open and vulnerable is this talk from Brene Brown. It is a bit long (20 Minutes), but I encourage you to take time to watch or listen if you are interested in exploring this topic.
The example I shared is barely scratching the surface of my own fear of vulnerability. I'm consciously trying to welcome these feelings of uneasiness and fear, breathing them in and further discovering the kinds of connections that are possible with the world and the people around me when I'm being my authentic self. This is my year of vulnerability.
I have kept mostly quite on this blog lately, not making time to document my thoughts. An encounter with an old friend makes me want to dedicate some time to this space of mine. She shared that she was moved by my sharing some private thoughts and experiences when I talked about how N and I chose to start our family years ago. It was beautiful to know that she found strength in my words. So perhaps sharing this experience of being more vulnerable will resonate with a reader out there somewhere.
Like a long run on the most challenging trail course imaginable, this is going to suck.
And I'm actually looking forward to it.