Vulnerability. Ah, yes. Our old friend.
Vulnerability: the state of being exposed to possible attack or damage, physically or emotionally. Why we would choose to be so assailable?
Brené Brown reminds us why. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” With all of that positive potential, the better question is why do we resist making ourselves vulnerable?
Because it’s scary and uncomfortable. Because we can feel our powerlessness. Because we lose our illusion of control in the face of the unknown, opening ourselves up to misunderstanding, ridicule, rejection. And, yes, the dreaded “f” word: Failure.
I’ve been thinking about this even more than usual of late. I have been working on a new dance solo that is different from anything I’ve choreographed and performed before, along with preparing for a few performances with new audiences. I am definitely out of my comfort zone.
I thought I had been doing a pretty good job of risk-taking with my solo–and, yes, it seems I had been doing just that. A “pretty good” job. The feedback I have received recently reflects that I need to up the ante on openness, on letting myself be seen, on risk-taking.
My first reaction was a sigh of appreciation at the challenge of making myself more vulnerable because I know that this is where all of the magic happens–the birthplace of all that vitality Brown describes.
But the “ahhhhhh” transformed into an “ugh,” as I struggled with the challenge. Looking back, I see that I was still holding on too tightly to the illusion of control, overanalyzing rather than sensing how to paint more evocatively these kinetic images.
Thankfully, we have gotten back to “ahhhhh” after I loosened things up. A wise ally had reminded me to get out of my head and let myself go along for the ride of the transformation in the character I am depicting.
I also returned to Brené Brown’s new book, “Braving The Wilderness” and the marvelous words of gifted actress Viola Davis who shares some of her rules to live by: “I will allow myself to be seen…I apply the advice an acting coach gave to me to all aspects of my life: Go further. Don’t be afraid. Put it all out there. Don’t leave anything on the floor….” (pp.86-87)
So, I am back at it. Throwing open the shutters to some fresh air and new eyes, striving to go farther, letting myself be seen.