Vulnerability Without Boundaries is Madness.

 

Parts of me are reserved just for me. No matter what.

I have more or less smeared my entire life across the internet in the past few years. 

I have exposed my fears, my longings, my sh*t, my healing and the secret pathways of my darkness. 

While so much of it has been freeing, and I have dug deeper and let my voice out in ways I never thought I could---it gets to a point where it sometimes feels like too much. Too raw. Too exposed. 

I shudder. But I am not regretful. I'm just tired of feeling naked. See-through, like a pane of glass. 

Nakedness is great. Authenticity is ripe and plentiful and feeds us like nothing else, but when we are only naked all the time, the slightest breezes feel cold. Everything dials up in intensity.  

As I sit and breathe, a little tense and raw, as usual---I feel a new way emerging.

It grows like new skin, where all the old scars used to be. It's awkward, it does not make sense of itself. It does not snap back, it does not know it is skin. It is still forming, cell by cell. 

And in this, I am utterly torn---because part of me wishes to be utterly unmasked forever. To be that soul-naked exposed absolutely all the time. But part of me is more practical and pragmatic, and hell---she wishes to cover up a little bit. For more privacy. 

And it seems so contradictory, I feel like I am always saying---be more vulnerable! Be more vulnerable. Take that risk. Expose your heart. 

And it's true. We become warriors through having a ballsy, heart-centered vulnerability practice. But it's not the only truth. 

There's a flip side, too--one that I'm not so good at..

BOUNDARIES. 

 I am faced with it. It is right in front of my face. I won't look away, because it is what I need to work on now. 

To be frank, boundaries scare the shit out of me, namely because I haven't the slightest clue how to have them. I have spent much of my life not being centered, not being sure who I was, what I needed. I have always said yes when I meant no, agreed to things I couldn't do, getting constantly walked on, due to not having any limits or just being too plain scared to speak them. 

And you know, perhaps there is a certain vulnerability that comes with articulating our boundaries. 

I think so. 

So these words wander & meander, I comb all of this out, in real time. I don't pretend in the slightest to have it figured out. These two concepts melt together. Earth and water. Yin and yang. Openness that is honest & also needs to close down. Boundaries & vulnerability. They are not really opposites, they are sisters. They all pulse with the same blood. 

For I know--- 

I cannot be open all the time. I am leaking out. Drained. Exhaustion. 

I cannot be closed all the time. I was rigid. Hard. Sad. Lonely. Distant. Unreachable. 

Those are the two things I do know---and they meet in the middle, they marry in fire and confidence and being sure of our own truths. 

How do we get there? 

I don't fully know, but here's what I've come up with so far--- 

We try. We experiment. We fail. We breathe. We listen to our bodies. We test the waters with people by being more assertive---and we inquire about what that truly means to us. We say "no" more often. We check in with how we feel. We adhere to complete & utter honesty within our own hearts. At all times. 

And we rinse, lather & repeat. 

Difficult. Scary. Not fun, but enriching. Strengthening. Absolutely Necessary. 

"Parts of me are reserved just for me. No matter what."

As I sat on the couch tonight feeling itchy and anxious all over--those are the words that found me. They tunneled into my ears, and left a mark that can never be removed They are fierce, and kind. 

They embody all that I am learning now.

And this is what I wrote as I followed those words, as more poured out---

Not everyone needs to know my deepest, darkest secrets, and yet I have such a desire to not hide. To be daringly authentic. I have hid for far too much of this life. I want to sink my teeth into the wolf-soul of pure, glistening nakedness. And not holding back at all. 

If I had it my way, I'd let my heart ooze and swell like an ocean tide and reach out toward infinity with the fingers of my soul. 

I want that all the time.  

And I have my spaces where I know I can do that. Spaces where I can melt into tears and be spontaneously transmuted into fiery phoenix vapor as I scribble words on parchment paper. But I can't---I won't---do that everywhere, all the time, with everyone. Not anymore. Because to me, that no longer feels okay. I need some safety. A restricted access area, that is only ever mine. 

Is it possible to do both---to be seen---and to be safe? 

It's not just possible, it's necessary. It's a dance. 

Yes. A mysterious dance. A rhythm I do not yet know. One I stumble through to find clarity. One I find by listening to my body. That's it. That's all I ever needed to do. 

Seep out

But hold yourself firm.

Be confident in all that you feel

Cry out and ask for help

But know that your are made of earth and dirt

Know that you never have to reveal or unravel the tender bone underneath

Unless you want to

Unless you feel moved to

Sometimes there are things

Best kept to ourselves

And maybe one trusted treasure of a person that we love.

A secret is precious for the very reason that it is not leaked out everywhere. 

It is holy, divine. 

A note to tuck into our own hearts. 

Not everything needs to be shared with everyone.

Not every story must be voiced. 

And yet, we shouldn't spend our whole lives hiding in silence. 

Both are true.

Take risks, don't wear armor and feel a lot

But keep some things

Just for you.

 Not everyone is allowed extra-close in. 

And that's not fear

It's knowing our worth

And holding it close

At all times.

When we do that

We are in control, for we don't need a mask, 

We keep ourselves safe

And stay true to who we are

At the same time.

This mixture of water and earth...

Flow

But have definition. 

Have certain limits. 

Yet, not rigid. 

Be open

Move

And keep yourself safe. 

Be aware,

But relaxed, not viligant. 

The sweet spot is in the middle, always in the middle---

Because vulnerability without boundaries is madness. 

But a life without vulnerability is pointless. 

Find the sweet spot in the middle where they marry & kiss. 

Stay there. 

Hold yourself in the contradiction that opens, blooms

And begins to make sense. 

What a strong tenderness it is. 

What a strong tenderness you are. 

 

 

Photo via Pixabay. 

 

© Sarah L Harvey, published on Jan 20, 2017.