I turn 28 in two days. Two glorious days away from ticking off another confusing, loving, wondrous year of life. On the dawn of this age milestone I've gained one valuable insight I'll carry for the rest of my journey, however long it may be - the art and necessity of vulnerability. 2015 was my year of vulnerability like I had never experienced before. My family lost a beautiful baby boy, my genetics showed their ass by giving me a diagnosis as a pre-diabetic, I've gone through a major relationship break up, and my career is in transition. If there was a rug of life I was standing on, that shit got ripped out from under me, burned into pithy ashes, the ashes were then baked into a pie by a demon that was then eaten and shit out by his minions. It was that kind of year. I did have some wonderful highs (going to South America for the first time, seeing a dear friend marry the love of her life!) that balanced out the lows, but throughout the ride of this year I kept thinking, what is the soul lesson here? How can I understand the narrative of loss and pain in a way that is retributive and empowering? And then the V word revealed itself - that tricky heffer of vulnerability was like, "Hello...do you hear me?" in a soft, Adele style voice that made me go, "Yes dammit, I do. I want to hate you but I can't because you've stripped me of some things I had to let go of to become what I'm meant to be."
The times where I've seen vulnerability shine brightest are in deep personal conversations with others. I look forward to the one on one times where people get past the small talk about the weather outside to begin to reveal what the weather is like inside their minds. Their loves, hopes, dreams, aspirations, attitudes, inspirations all fascinate me into both awe and debate. They remind me that human beings are complex, emotional balls of wonder that have this amazing capability to sting together words that another can hear and register with meaning. I search for the meaning and connections in all those conversations, wanting to pull the person along to their greatness and the source of their truth. Even if that truth is sometimes scary or in disagreement with my own reality and beliefs. It makes me happy to really connect on something real, something us humans in the modern world typically shy away from for fear of the vulnerability of being fully emotionally naked. Conversations like these can't happen always, but when they do, my happiness meter ticks up significantly.
In honor of my birthday, I reached out to a few ladies from various parts of my life to hear their truths. They've been a part of my life in different ways and on different parts of my journey, spread across the oceans of the world (from Australia, to London, to the Mid West and Cali!). I proposed one question to each of them, "If you could give your 28 year old self one piece of advice, what would you say?" Here's what they they had to say:
On love and children:
ON TAKING ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES:
ON YOUR GUT
Let's not forget that gratitude is vulnerability’s BFF. I'm truly thankful for the lessons this year, for growing and loving immensely and for having a community of incredibly talented, truthful, authentic people to learn and teach and grow from, and create something great with.