Finding Strength in Vulnerability
I woke up today feeling grateful for my ability to be vulnerable. It is a scary thing, opening your heart to a world that often times lacks compassion. With this blog I have exposed parts of myself that are tender and raw, with the understanding that my pain is now open to judgment. I am okay with that. I am not afraid to share the inner workings of my heart, because my ability to be vulnerable only deepens my love of self.
In our technological world, we are able to express whatever part of ourselves that we desire. Most times we only share the parts that make our lives seem exciting and follow-worthy. Our social media lives can take a toll on our self-love; we place a crazy amount of value in other people's approval. This inauthentic way of living creates a disconnect between people in that it often raises feelings of envy and self-criticism. There are times I feel like everyone is doing better than me, but I am grateful for that. I never wish hard times on anyone, and it gives me a chance to embrace my vulnerability and work on my self-love.
Being the sole survivor of the accident left me feeling very alone at times. Once my cousin's boyfriend Jeff died, I fell into the darkest place I have ever encountered. When I was not crying, I was numb. I avoided sharing the depth of my grief with anyone because it was easier acting like I was mostly okay than unloading the pain I truly harbored inside. At times I almost stopped breathing; occasionally even wishing I would. I was never angry, but shaking off envy was difficult when seeing the normality in other people's lives, since my life was crushed to pieces.
That so-called normality I was seeing was not necessarily an authentic representation of life, as most people post only the good parts of their lives. But I did not focus on that when I was feeling down. I almost wanted to see how everyone's life was "better" than mine; it gave me just another reason to feel bad about myself. Then one day, I acknowledged that I was capable of being better. I began embracing my vulnerability and accepting that I could heal my pain. I started seeing life in a new way, in a way that I knew my dad and Jenna would want me to.
I now see a richer beauty in all aspects of life, more so than I did before the accident. I appreciate the warmth of a hug, the sweet taste of cherries, the feel of laughter, in a way I did not before. I realized that if I am looking, but not fully seeing the beauty in all of life, I am selling myself short on how grand this adventure is. There is amazingness to be found in everything, but I did not appreciate that the way I do now. I have started focusing on things that always made me happy such as painting, yoga, and eating healthy, in an effort to find myself again.
Grief is the manifestation of love for the one you miss. I am always choosing love, and as long as love stays with me, grief will as well. I embrace my ability to be vulnerable. I am not afraid of showing my moments of happiness, so I will not be afraid of sharing my grief. I find courage and strength in my ability to open my heart and acknowledge my pain. In that, I am showing my humanity, and working on loving myself even more.