Vulnerability as courage
Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness.
It’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.
- Brene Brown, Power of Vulnerability (TED talk)
I struggle with making myself vulnerable. It’s no secret.
I feel vulnerable at times, of course, but I show it very selectively, with reluctance, and I don’t like how it feels. It’s hard for me. If you want to see what my vulnerability looks like, well, it looks like this and this, and if you want to see me bleeding out all over the floor, it looks like this.
Having said all that about how I am not comfortable making myself vulnerable, vulnerability is one of the qualities that I am most attracted to in a submissive. I want a boy who is willing and able and *eager* to lay himself bare.
The fact that I admire and seek vulnerability in my submissive, but am not good at it myself is interesting to me on many levels.
My own vulnerability feels like weakness. His vulnerability feels like strength. I honestly don’t even know how that works in my head. But it’s there.
I wonder if I am trying to balance out my deficiency with what he offers. That it makes us balanced, somehow, as a couple. Perhaps I feed on his vulnerability like some kind of emotional vampire, and he gets an environment in which he feels safe to express it.
And I think it’s also about power. Not just the power of keeping my own vulnerability hidden, but that I feel more powerful if he is more willing and able to make himself vulnerable than I am. A kind of emotional equivalent of ‘clothed female, naked male’. That doesn’t sound too healthy to me, but since I’m practising at making myself vulnerable, there it is.
Either way, his vulnerability makes him violently attractive to me. He becomes prey when he is vulnerable, when he sends out a distress signal and opens himself up. I can smell blood in the water, and become all sharp teeth and hungry appetite. At the same time, it brings out a terrible and deep tenderness in me, the nurturer. And they both exist at the same time, which is, I guess, what prevents me from being some dangerous sociopath.
Making yourself vulnerable is courageous. It’s essentially the ability to overcome fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of making a fool of yourself, fear of embarrassment, fear of shame, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of getting it wrong, fear of loss… a million fears all neatly tied up in a big scary bundle with a big bow of terror. Being willing to make yourself vulnerable is really saying “I’m willing to take the hit, bring it!”, and that kind of courage blows my mind.
I’m in awe of those who can do it, and a little bit in love with those who *crave* to do it. When I think about what I want in a submissive, one of the characteristics is someone who is emotionally fearless, and that means someone who is willing and able to make themselves vulnerable. And that’s so very difficult, and amazing, and wonderful.