20-something miseries, being a writer

Hiding Behind Vulnerability

It’s been a week since I saw this tweet, and I still haven’t stopped thinking about it:

Like…yeah, damn is right.

I talk about some pretty vulnerable topics on this blog, and some people have told me they don’t understand how I can be so open, or they’ve expressed concerns for my privacy, but those comments have always come as such a surprise to me, because in my heart of hearts, I know I’m not actually BEING vulnerable on this blog, I’m just talking about vulnerable things. Even though I try to be honest in a way that connects with others, I rarely risk opening myself up completely on this blog, so I guess I’ve never thought about privacy concerns or oversharing.

To be honest, I rarely open myself up completely ever. I use the fact that life is complicated to my advantage, presenting certain angles of certain situations to certain people to make things seem open and vulnerable rather than actually being open and vulnerable. 99% of the time, this isn’t even a conscious decision. It’s just…what I do. This is most likely a byproduct of trauma, high empathy, and my natural Gemini nature.

The result is…well, a lot of hiding. I am always hiding, or almost always. And it comes so naturally to me that it can be hard to tell when I’m not hiding. For a long time, I thought pain meant honesty, but I’m learning that that’s also a gross oversimplification (and can lead to some seriously unhealthy coping and communication skills). I’ve gotten very good at acting vulnerable and talking about being vulnerable, but when it comes to actually being vulnerable? I’m totally lost.

I want to change that. I don’t really want to hide, I want to connect and share and genuinely be myself, but I honestly have no idea where to start. How do you stop hiding when you’ve been doing it for so long? Is it disingenuous to talk about vulnerable topics without actually being vulnerable? Since much hiding, at least in my case, is due to overintellectualization, does thinking about the problem this much actually make it worse?

I have no idea. Sometimes I feel like it should be easier to be a human. Like I’m doing something wrong by making things this complicated. Just be open if you want to be open, Megan. Just write what you want to write. Every little thing doesn’t have to be an existential crisis, you know.

But then I think about what it actually means to be a person. I mean, it’s the single biggest project we undertake in this lifetime, and part of me thinks that I’m not overthinking it, I’m simply seeing it for the hugely complex thing that it is. Becoming the best version of me, connecting with others in the best possible way, creating a world worth living in, even if that world is just the my own tiny little system, is a complicated process. And it’s one worth struggling with, I think.

I don’t know if this was really vulnerable or not. I’m still learning what that means for me, but I hope that you can relate to it, and maybe feel validated in any crises related to your own vulnerability. To help you in your journey, enjoy these encouraging words from the one and only Amy Poehler:

2 thoughts on “Hiding Behind Vulnerability”

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