Letter to Myself on Vulnerability
As each day winds down, there’s always a brief moment where the guilt flashes by reminding me of the cobwebs and dust Under the Rosemary has steadily collected. I’ve lost track of the tiny promises I’ve made to spend the next day writing a few words or editing photos. But the fact that I’ve found my way to this keyboard and letter confirms what we already know-- those moments have yet to manifest.
Why? Well, quite simply… I’m tired. And afraid.
My last experience with vulnerability was during a time in which my life and body weren’t my own. Few days went by where there weren’t tears carrying me through prayer, or nights where I prolonged falling asleep because I feared I wouldn’t awake the next morning. To this day, I still have trouble shaking off this fear before bed. There was no way to “turn off” this vulnerability as I was at the mercy of time and one medical procedure after the other. While April 15 marked a shift in this journey, I remain wary of where to guide the reigns next now that they’re back in my possession.
I haven’t dealt with any of the trauma this extended episode of vulnerability conjured. Instead, I’ve ran toward my career and rekindling relationships with family as they’re the few areas where I can bury myself. It’s led to some incredible things: new job title, published writing and photography, stepping completely out of my comfort zone, connecting with new and old friends, traveling out-of-state (twice), and creating new experiences with family. But regardless of the joy these bring, there’s still a part of me that craves carving out time to create. It’s a part of me I didn’t think I’d miss much since I get paid to create and curate for others. I’ve been reluctant to accept that although my paid work revolves around creation, it’s ultimately to reinforce the voices of others and not my own.
Last week, I had a brief brush with vulnerability as I took to Instagram stories to share a few words reacting to a photo series published by Cheyenne Gil. After reading her story, I just needed to get a sliver of my own out. It was a moment where the words poured out of my fingertips and onto the screen, reminding me of that scene in “The Words” where Ben Barnes’ character confined himself to his typewriter for two weeks. My grand trance lasted all of two minutes, but afterwards, my thumb could only manage to hover above the “share” button. As I stared at the words, I realized that for several eyes it would be the first time they’d read about my past with disordered eating and war between my body and food. Yet, there was still an element of controlled vulnerability as they only scratched the surface of these troubles, making it so that gravity eventually pressed my thumb against the screen.
Ironically, this was one of the reactions that Instagram story received: “Honestly, I feel like you’ve been far more vulnerable on here than on your blog, and I wonder how we can bridge that.” Shit. Cue in another wave of guilt. But it’s true! Where did I first post about being off Coumadin? Social media. Who has a whole Instagram highlight dedicated to tracking my healing process? Me. Blogging on Under the Rosemary? In the words of Mariah Carey, “I don’t know her.”
Blogging isn’t something I approach with the intention of capitalizing on, whether that be monetarily or through followers. It’s something I’ve sought since I was a TEENAGER (is Tumblr still a thing?) to focus my creativity in whatever way it wanted to emerge - recipes, tutorials, essays, features, photography, and finding inspiration by how others utilized blogging. To have complete creative control over a slice of the Internet and make it yours meant that what I was piecing together was born out of intention and intertwined always with vulnerability in that process.
“Writing and posting is easy, anyone can write some shit up (not even spell check), post, and release it like it’s nothing. It’s making the post have VALUE, that can become difficult.”
- “20 Something” by Karla Osorio of koinsocal.com
I haven’t quite found my rhythm when it comes to approaching this blog. The desire is there, but equating vulnerability to my recent traumas is going to take time to unlearn. And that is just what your body and mind need at this moment. Until then, turn toward those in your community who are creating and celebrate them rather than weaponizing these moments to feed a false guilt. Allow yourself time away to address this painful journey you’ve survived and loosen your hold on escapism as a means of coping. Forgive yourself for wanting to rest and trust this process- when it’s time to return, you will do so.