Vulnerable Me


I met someone. He is so tall, I almost come off the ground when he hugs me.

With his octopus arms wrapped around my waist, I bury my head in this giant’s neck, close my eyes (sniff), and wonder: Is this something?

Are we compatible, even though he’s never watched one episode of Game of Thrones and doesn’t like spicy food?

Better yet, am I capable of quieting my mind for two seconds to actually listen and learn about him?

I just get so excited about the possibility. I’m like a little clown child trying to run around and not trip in oversized red shoes.

I want to press fast forward and know what will happen next.

I tell myself to enjoy the moment, and let it unfold, but patience is not my virtue.

In fact, asking me to be patient is like sticking a tiny knife in my finger and then telling me, “Now, just let that sit there. You will be all right. Just let that sit there for a while.”

When I get ahead of myself, I pray, tell my brain to shut up, and run a few miles to shake the need to predict out of my skin.

Although I spill my guts in my writing, the prospect of being vulnerable in real life is more frightening than the time I jumped out of a plane barefooted and trusted that the dude strapped to my back would pull the ripcord in time.

It is scarier than the time I accidently picked up a real bat and was convinced I’d contracted rabies (I didn’t).

Sometimes I get nervous with this guy, and he laughs when I blush. Then I end up staring at the wall saying things like, “Wait, the words are coming. Just give me a second,” and he laughs some more.

Revealing the sticky parts of myself, the parts I don’t want to say out loud, stop me in my tracks. I know he has his own sticky parts and isn’t super-human. So what is my problem?

We don’t want to be rejected, right? We don’t want the other person to sneer and walk away horrified.

My scary parts are actually pretty common, I guess. There are no violent felonies to report, so lately I have been thinking about why I get so nervous.

My fear lives in the part of me that remembers the worst heartaches. Those memories unfortunately tell me to run sometimes, but I don’t, and I wont.

I haven’t bolted because experiencing loss gave me a shield in a way.

I don’t think we can ever hurt the same as we did before, because by getting through the worst battles, we taught ourselves that life goes on.

It can’t ever be that bad again because the part of us that learned how to survive won’t let it be.

I am an all or nothing kind of gal, and I’m really working hard to (just eat a few chips and not the whole bag) to find a middle ground.

My mind sometimes selfishly tells me to dump every detail of myself at once to this person, and say, “There, you deal with it and decide if you’re still interested.”

I realize this is a ridiculous, childish, and weird thing to do, but I swear I either have a sock in my throat or words are teeming out of my mouth like green slime.

Authenticity is key here, but when we strive to put our best foot forward, the lines get blurred I think. It is difficult to be totally real, when you are anxious like me.

Although, I guess the nerves are part of me, so then I really am being myself after all.

In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brene Brown reminds us that we are, “enough.” She says our imperfections are what make us special, and even though fear gets the best of us sometimes, we are all, “worthy of love and belonging.”

It is important for me to remember Brown’s words in dating and in life.

When my muffin top makes an appearance after a dedicated weekend of pizza indulging, when I feel too tired to write and all my words sound boring, when my students aren’t laughing at my jokes, I am still enough.

For now, I will continue to reveal Michelle in doses and focus on whether or not this person is right for me. It doesn’t matter how much I fret anyway, because all I can be is myself.

There is no guarantee on anything, but taking the risk is worth it. I will always take the risk in cultivating meaningful relationships, no matter how scared I feel.

My shoulders are finally relaxing, and now I will go attempt to eat “just a handful” of chips.


Image credit: WhiskerPrints on Etsy

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