One of my recent self-discoveries and adventures has been about learning to be genuine and vulnerable as a person. It has been humorous to me because I didn’t even realize that I was being fake as a person in general. Do you ever have those self-realizations that leave you stunned and puzzled at how you came so far without realizing said epiphany?
Well, when my lovely and honest counselor pointed it out to me, it was like my whole world just crumbled.
ME…Fake?! I scoffed at the very concept.
I am the girl who always boasts about being personally grieved by fakeness; and yet, by a bizarre twist of fate, I was the very thing I claimed to detest.
Humbling moment… let me tell you.
You see, I’m not shallow. I can still hold true to that claim, BUT I am fake.
I wear a mask.
Ironically, one of my favorite poems ever since high school, which I suppose was a self-fulfilling prophecy I didn’t want to acknowledge, has been the one entitled “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
The poem goes as follows:
We Wear the Mask
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
-Paul Laurence Dunbar
There is so much depth and truth to that poem. It is one that has indeed stuck with me throughout all these years. So that leaves me now with the following questions:
- How do I become a genuine person?
- How do I shed this mask of perfection and pained happiness, and let people see the real me? How do I open myself up to being vulnerable?
- How do I shed my idealism of needing to be perfect and strong for everyone else, and let myself be ministered to as well?
- Why am I the girl that LOVES to encourage others, but runs away when people try to encourage and pour into my life?
I’m still seeking the answers.
Therapy is definitely helping me peel back the layers of my mask and exposing my deepest hurts and insecurities and refining those ashes into beauty. I won’t lie, it is a painful journey, but it is worth it! I am aware. I am VERY aware of my shortcomings, but within those shortcomings, I am learning to see HOPE and opportunities for growth, instead of just a bleak fog of despair at my inadequacies.
I think the hardest lesson I am learning is…
I am ENOUGH.
Who I am, where I am RIGHT NOW…
Not my ideal perfect self that I long and strive to be that is but a dream… no…
Rebekah Clark, the human soul born back in 1991, is ENOUGH.
I have to believe that in my core. I have to embrace it. I have to allow myself to be the REAL me, the present me, THIS me.
I want to leave you all with this amazing Ted Talk from Brené Brown. She is such a personal hero and inspiration to me. She pretty much embodies vulnerability and becoming genuine, even when it hurts.
I believe a big part of becoming genuine is laying down of pride. Letting the layers slip away and being exposed. Vulnerability isn’t weakness. Vulnerability is STRENGTH. That concept is really hard for me to grasp though as someone who always likes to ease the burdens of others and ignore my own – which is not healthy at all (Enneagram 2w1).
Let me know your thoughts on this Ted Talk. It is definitely worth the watch.
So, dear reader, what is vulnerability to YOU?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
With great affection and vulnerability,