If Vulnerability School for Perfectionists was a thing, I like to think I'd enroll myself today. While all attendees would (obnoxiously) expect to be top of the class, at least we would all be operating from the same basic framework. We would know how hard it is for each other to resist being shiny, put together, and "doing great!" at all times, forever.
This season of life I'm in makes me long for Vulnerability School. My perfectionism has been kicked into high gear thanks to the wretched and wonderful writing process.
Confession: I don’t like trying things for the first time in front of an audience. I don’t like for people to see me stumble. I struggle with a deep fear of failing. I am a perfectionist through and through, and I like to control the impression I have on people in the hopes of making it as positive as I can.
But what if we valued real, authentic connection more than our impression? I’m the first to say I need to step more boldly into this deeper way of living. Vulnerability is the path to untapped beauty and yet, I’m not always willing to take it.
If I speak a dream, a desire, a struggle, or an insecurity out loud to a listener, I’m afraid it’ll become more real. I’m afraid that person will use this knowledge to hurt me or will take off with it and leave me regretting that I let my guard down around them. It’s happened before. It hurts like hell.
But maybe it’s time for new life to bloom in the places where fear has reigned.
It’s springtime, after all. The earth reminds us that after losing the green and shriveling up for winter, the rain comes, baptizing the ground anew. From the withered remains of what used to be, fresh blooms begin to sprout, turning their faces towards the sun, open and yearning to display the beauty they’ve held inside. I suspect it could be our time to stand in the sun, too. What would it feel like to unfurl the petals we've kept closed and stretch out under the warmth of the rays?
The church's season of Eastertide tells us to not waste our time looking in the grave—it’s empty. Death can’t hold the return of new life. Let it be so in our own lives, too.
What would new life look like for you?
For me, that’s giving less-than-tidy answers to questions like “What are you up to?” "How's work going?" or even "How are you?" It would be freeing to acknowledge that things can be complicated and still deeply hopeful. The struggle is acknowledging it with dry eyes.
New life would look like inching closer to speaking the truth out loud, one encounter at a time. Maybe instead of hearing the mocking laughs I anticipate, I will find a friend instead. A co-dreamer, possibly. A supporter, encourager, or maybe even a pants-kicker. Someone to hold me accountable isn’t actually such a bad idea.
How can I walk alongside you into new life?
What do you need from someone else? A listening ear? Someone to say the right thing for once? Someone to just bear witness to what’s really going on? I’ll be that. Let’s help each other. Let's be classmates in Vulnerability School for Perfectionists. It's nice to not be alone.
If you're looking for new life and chatting with someone non-judgmental who gets the hesitation might help, comment below or email me here.