By Florence Taglight, International Ambassador UK, Project HEAL
Vulnerable was a word that I only ever heard when my year 6 teacher used to tell my class not to walk home with headphones on or on our phones as we made ourselves vulnerable to not hearing the speeding car coming around the corner, or being mugged. A word that I knew but scarcely used. A word with negative connotations – as being robbed isn’t exactly a good thing. To my younger self if I were vulnerable I was naively putting myself in a risky situation, on the edge, choosing danger.
Unprotected. Exposed. Liable.
Although the meaning of the word has not actually changed in any way, to me it has.
No longer am I Liable, I am Accountable.
No longer will I be seen as Unprotected, I am Open.
No longer do I feel Exposed, I am Authentic.
It has been nearly 2 years since I was first encouraged to be vulnerable, to reveal my everything to a group of 30 complete strangers and professionals. Nonetheless it took almost 3 months for me to understand that being vulnerable wasn’t something I could do half-heartedly; it had to be done with every inch of me (which FYI Meghan Trainor thinks is perfect from the bottom to the top and I think you are too). Resembling jumping into a freezing cold pond, I had to be entirely exposed. There was no point just dangling my legs in, (which for a while I did, before realising it was pointless, the semi-exposure left half open wounds and lies, and although these were unintentional they were secrets nonetheless – Secrets that kept me sick) I had to fully immerse all of me – past, present and future, Sounds exhausting? Yep it is, but worth it too.
Although I am not one for resolutions, I believe if you want to start or stop doing something you should make that change then and there. There is no need to wait till the first (why?). This year (Oh, I forgot, Happy New Year!) I’m going to focus on being vulnerable in the manner I now see it A.K.A. accountable, open and authentic.
Overcoming this what was once a fear of being vulnerable has enabled me to make connections I would have never made if I still correlated it to being defenseless. By embracing my newfound meaning of vulnerability I am forced to welcome my genuine self in all its honest and unique ways. To divulge my soul, leaving myself undeniably open, susceptible to judgment, cognizant that some of those may be negative, but being confident enough to accept the disapproval and get on with my life the unchanged. However scary this may have be in doing so I have been
able to form relationships and discover passions that are entirely, unequivocally and indisputably 100% Florence.
So although (as eponymous with my blog,) I am still finding me, I am also vowing to find the real me.
The Florence that doesn’t come with a ‘may contain traces of expectations and stereotypes.’ The Florence that is well, who she was born to be.