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Learning how to be vulnerable

One thing I’ve started to realise is that I am a bit of a control freak. I like to control the way things happen, the way I feel and look if I could, I would even control the weather! BUT I also know that I feel incredibly uncomfortable when I can’t control my circumstances or the way people see me. It’s probably the reason I love social media so much, I can be vulnerable and share my story but I’m also in control of what people know and see. While I’ve been bossy since I could talk and I’ve always enjoyed being a leader, I’ve only recently realised that this need for control isn’t always healthy. This came to light because of two main things;

1. I use my eye-patches as a security blanket to be in control of what people see. I say this because I love my eye-patches, I have a collection bigger than I would have ever thought possible and it’s a lot of fun matching the patch to my outfit. That’s not where the issue is, it’s when I’m at home and the postman comes to the door, when I’m wearing sunglasses and it starts to get dark, I’m skiing or out swimming and while I shouldn’t feel like I need an eye-patch to do any of these things, I do and I feel very uncomfortable without one. I find myself wearing sunglasses in the dark and hardly able to see or destroying leather eye-patches because I don’t want to swim without one and it’s ludicrous. I should feel comfortable to do anything with or without a patch, it shouldn’t control me. I have been pushing myself in the recent weeks, I went hiking without one and while I felt myself grabbing at my sunnies and shoving them on my face, or walking with my head down at times overall, I was proud that I didn’t go and put the eye-patch back on.

2. I’ve just started a relationship and I’ve had to learn to be more open with my boyfriend than I ever imagined possible. While we haven’t been together very long we’ve certainly had to have some extremely difficult conversations, including opening up about my cancer. It’s probably one of the hardest conversations to have with someone you’re trying to start a relationship with, “I’ve had cancer and it has spread to my brain, and while I’m all good at the moment and I’ve been stable for 10 months, it’s a new treatment and things could change” was the gist of what I babbled as I avoided eye contact and I was honestly just ready for him to turn around and say “that’s a bit more than I bargained for, maybe we should just be friends” or something to that effect. Instead he was amazing and took me by surprise, he admitted it was tough to hear but that he wasn’t just going to walk away from this because of something I have no control over. However, the most intimate moment in our relationship was when my eyepatch started to slip off and I realised I was comfortable enough to just take it off (I make it sound easy, but it wasn’t, I was in full blown panic mode) and he looked at me and told me I was more beautiful without it.

For me this has been a hard adjustment, I am someone who is very guarded and usually keeps my cards close to my chest and now I’ve entered into a relationship where from the get go I’ve had my cards on the table. There have been times when the neurotic control freak inside me has had a bit of a melt down and I’ve wanted to drop everything and bolt because I feel so vulnerable and it scares me. Thankfully I didn’t but it was a close call!

While I’m still learning to be more vulnerable and open, I’m finding a freedom and joy in letting go of some of the control I am usually so attached to. I love the feeling of being me and being accepted for me in all forms, its empowering to really stop caring what anyone else thinks, even if its just for a moment. While being vulnerable in my relationship has been scary and hard, its amazing to have someone there to hold my hand and remind me that its worth it. Having that person there and on my side, makes it a lot easier than learning to be vulnerable in front of the rest of the world, but its something I’m striving for.