A beautiful, captivating woman said to me yesterday, “When you make yourself vulnerable, you are actually safer.”
…I would tend to agree.
I am sitting here on my grungy sofa, listening to my little people talk themselves to sleep through the monitor, with a chill YouTube playlist in my ear, and pinot grigio on my tongue. The FINALLY warm air is on my shoulders, and I smell the damp earth carried in through the window behind me. For the first time in several days, I am letting down my guard, and I am letting my thoughts and ever stormy feelings melt through my fingers.
I have known “guarded”. As much as I lay myself out there for the world to see, I tag on a little follow-up of “fuck you” to anyone who has a problem with it. I guard myself against those who will potentially hurt me with that threat. How I decide they fit into this category is a messy, tainted process. You will find things in there like racism, sexism, religious baggage, affiliations by the thousands that carry a poor vibe in my mind… past memories of hurt and resentment. These are not your friend when it comes to the playground of my mind.
When you choose to live in a “life-long” partnership with a beautiful person… you damn them—your best friend and lover—into the jail of both predator and prey. Those are roles they will play in your life. They will hurt you, you will hurt them. It is no easy task for two broken people to care for each other to the degree that an ideal marriage/partnership demands.
So now what?
What are your options when there is such high risk of hurting and being hurt? Why do people even do this? It can’t just be because of the babies. There’s more to it. I think we as humans want to feel vulnerable to another person. Protected, cared for, exposed. Naked.
Maybe we have to be exposed and vulnerable in the relationship, the personal connection, to really relate sexually. To be naked physically, and connect in a really authentic and meaningful way, there has to be some sort of meaningful exposure of the human spirit… BOTH the beautiful and the dark and ugly parts of your humanity. Otherwise it’s guarded. It’s closed up and wary, self-conscious. It almost feels violating.
“Guarded” has not worked for me in this relationship. After ten years, I have found that it is only vulnerability that brings good things between us. It ends up being a safer, happier place. In the process of achieving that end, we take a risk. And we hurt each other. Pretty badly. We are broken people. We cannot possibly care for another person’s emotional or physical needs perfectly all the time.
The question I’m left with is—Is it worth it? The pain? So far I’d say yes. But you know what, it’s a real fucking hassle. And it gets really fucking old sometimes. It’s fucking exhausting. To be so fucking vulnerable all the goddamn time, especially when that person is struggling through a place of hurt and insecurity, caused by you and a myriad of others from the past. Who wants to open themselves up to that level of unpredictable volatility? It’s a huge risk.
I think it’s the only way to live.
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