THE REWARDS OF VULNERABILITY ARE IMMEASURABLE

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. – C.S Lewis 

I have always struggled with vulnerability. I like being strong; I’ve always had to be strong, and I have associated vulnerability with weakness for as long as I can remember. Of course in everyday life, it would be difficult for people to know this. I am seen as someone who is quite open and outgoing, at least to the extent that my demeanor is not mistaken for being a cold, unapproachable bitch. After all, I’m also seen as someone who is known for being blunt; the quintessential, “what you see is what you get” person.

Perhaps it’s through writing, perhaps it’s through getting older, but ultimately I’ve realized that I’m a really hard person to get to know. And very few people know even the half of it. I’m guarded and I don’t break easily; no matter how close I am to people, I know that most of them are still kept at a distance that is comfortable, a distance that won’t leave me exposed. I do not like to be vulnerable.

If we reveal our authentic selves, there is the great possibility that we will be misunderstood, labeled, or worst of all, rejected. The fear of rejection can be so powerful that some wear it like armor. I like to feel in control of situations, I like to feel that I am always secure and vulnerability gets in the way of that. When you’re vulnerable, your heart is wide open, you put your trust in somebody in the form of giving them the most precious thing you have – your heart.  When you’re vulnerable you leave yourself available to be hurt and people hurt people. So I guess somewhere along the way, whether I realized it or not, I made the decision that vulnerability was not for me. I told myself that to be vulnerable would mean to give up my strength and I did not want to give it up. My construction of strength almost defined me. But the truth is I don’t like to be alone. I don’t want to choose it if I don’t have to.

Recently, I’ve been seeing the error in my thinking. I thought that vulnerability was the weaker position when it comes to love. But I’m realizing that the irony of vulnerability in love and in the pursuit of love is that you actually take the stronger position. When you put your heart on the line, when you give it to somebody and you tell them that it’s theirs to keep or break, when you expose who you are and all you are to somebody – that is one of the truest and best strength that there is. Vulnerability won’t be easy, it might be one of the hardest that I’m ever going to attempt. And it might go horribly wrong – I might get broken or damaged like so many others. But I’m not sure this unspoiled heart of mine is any better off. Loving anything and anyone ultimately comes with hurt and my attempt to not let people get close enough to hurt me has left me with a different kind of pain, a different kind of weakness – the weakness of regret and wonder. I think if I am to be truly strong, I think if any of us are, we have to be willing to expose ourselves and put ourselves through the greatest risk of all – which is love.

And in the words of C.S. Lewis, to love is to be vulnerable

P.S.    A couple of nights ago I opened up & he did not judge me. I will work on showing the rest of the world too a little more of the complexity that is me.

April Lynn McManus

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Facebook would probably define the relationship I’m developing with myself as “complicated”

This past weekend has been one hell of an emotional roller coaster for me. Looking for Mr. Right in today’s restless society is quite daunting.  I have met men but have an unerring knack of attracting the wrong type. For me the past couple of years has rolled on with the hope of a wonderful relationship blooming in my dreams — and ultimately withering in the face of reality.  However, the men I have met while I’ve been here the last six months have had a common theme. They’ve all been completely unavailable. Either literally – because they’ve had girlfriends or wives, or emotionally – because they just got out of a serious relationship or because they’re just not looking for a special someone at this time. None of these guys have been particularly rude or nasty – they have all, in fact, been very kind and openly honest. They have poured out their hearts and their souls or spoken of their leading ladies in the highest of terms.

For me, my life overall is in a good place. My children, family, friendships and career are a great source of fun and celebration, but at the end of the day I don’t have that one special person who is just there just for me. So at the age of 32, I got a therapist. She has shown me how important it is to revisit the problems of the past to move on from them. So off we plunged into my tormented psyche until we crashed and burned at the bottom.

Now that I am in a much healthier state of mind, I realize that in every past relationship I have attempted,  I try to push “him” away before he could give up of his own accord.  I wasn’t gonna  wait for fate to throw off its happy-ever-after cloak and shout ‘Gotcha!’ like some horrible pantomime villain.  I had to step back and  distinguish between what I need and what I want. (there is nothing wrong with wants, but just make sure that they are lower on your list than the needs) I have prioritized and know which qualities & attributes I will not compromise on, and which ones are up for discussion.   I need a man who is compassionate, responsible, supportive, caring, dedicated, etc.,  he is the person who will be able to adapt to whatever comes ‘our’ way in life.

Don’t get me wrong though, I firmly believe a woman in a man’s world has to be tough as nails.  For this reason, I have developed a hard shell that no one can penetrate. But, I do have a softer side that not many see. Turns out, once I agree to give love a fair shot, I am surprisingly vulnerable.  It might take me until I was 50 to find the right man, and I will probably have smooched more than my share of pond life along the way, but kissing Mr. Right (My Unicorn) will be more than worth the wait.

– love is always one step ahead

April McManus.

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“Good Girl”

What’s the most romantic thing I could possibly do for myself? What about setting my alarm for the break of dawn and getting up even though it’s oh-so-early and going to sunrise yoga by myself? Really? Really! My best strategy for really making the most of my life is to get really, really good and grounded. Connect with myself. Connect with my feelings and emotions. Connect with my wants and my needs. Connect with my desires.

Now, breathe!

#April McManus
@April McManus

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Monday. There is never ever a dull moment in my life. Monday morning’s just seem to keep me on my toes a tad bit more than other days. So this morning I am sitting at my desk when I received this text from my oldest daughther:

“For the next 30 years you have to live with one person in the same room all the time. Afterwards you have to kill them. Would you choose someone you like or someone you hate?”

Thankfully, I have a good relationship with God. Naturally, I responded with kind words of wisdom: “Mari, I don’t hate anyone. I would ultimately have to choose someone I like. I am not the type of woman to let hate consume my heart.” Love Thy Neighbor

She has yet to answer her own question….
#April McManus