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


An Amazing Beautiful Journey

 It always seems so much easier to hold everything in and try to ignore it. But in reality you never realize how hard it actually was until you let it flow out of you. I’m overflowing. And I’m exhausted. So tonight I grieve my childhood by saying goodbye to her. Like having a funeral without a body. I’ve said my goodbyes to her in my mind I think the next step for me in this process is to do something. A real something to say good bye. Because I owe her so much. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her fighting so hard to endure.
Grieving for me is more then just walking around crying and wearing black. Its a chance to honor the deceased, remember them, and honor who them were. I exist today because of a child whose spirit had to die inside of a house filled with rage and anger. I wouldn’t be who I am had all those things not happened so I wish to honor who she was. She was smart, funny, loving, trusting, caring, and gentle. She had the ability to love more then she was ever loved herself. She was inquisitive and wanted to know about the world around her. Why was the grass green? Why was the sky blue? She loved asking questions even if they only one she could ask was god. She was independent and wise beyond her years. She was resilient and found ways to smile even when there was nothing to smile about, even when they tried to beat the smile  off of her lips. She lives on inside of me. I love her and want her to be a peace now.  Goodbye little one and thank you for fighting.


As kids we would day dream…
that our parents were not my real parents. Somehow these people, imposters, had gotten a hold of us and our real family was out there somewhere searching for us. Our real parents were a King and a Queen from a magical land far far away and we were their princesses. We lost each other but we knew that they were still looking for us.  All the little girls they saw must have reminded them of us. So we drew pictures of crowns and the magical land and we taped them to my window because we just knew that they would find us. They would drive down the street and see those pictures and they would know that that’s the house that we were in. They would pull up to our house in a long white limo, and I would run to them and they would take us away. They would take us away from all the anger, hurt, fear and pain that this fake family had shown us.
 Though we knew it wasn’t real, the hope was enough in the moment.  Every night we would pray that our real family would finally knock on the door and bring me out of this house of terror. That they would save us from the pain and let us be a child, and we would run into their arms and forever we would stay. Sometimes I still pray for them to come, sometimes I still need arms to run into. 

It would be quite unfair to live in the shadows of “what could have been.”  This is life moving on. This is us moving down the path we’re on, doing our best to be more grateful for the blessings here and less obsessed with the roads we didn’t take. 

This is acceptance in progress.

April Lynn McManus