Vulnerability - A Superpower?
Why is vulnerability a quality to master? how is vulnerability and fragility different from one another but yet so close? And how did vulnerability change my perception of anything and everything?
I’m staying in a town that has no public transportation in or out. it’s 7am and i decide to go ahead and hitch hike to byron bay (a beautiful beach town on the east cost). i walk to the side of a road in the middle of no-where, and wait for a car to arrive. as i’m waiting, the thoughts start flooding my head: “what are you doing? why are you standing on the side of a frickin' road Roy? what is wrong with you? you’re gonna get kidnapped or something! like these people in that movie… ah…. what was his name??” and then i see a car. i put on a genuine smile i soften my eyes and my face, and i stick my hand out… i am exposed.
Why would anyone want to be exposed?? Vulnerability is something that, a lot of us are taught, is a bad thing, according to the dictionary of google vulnerability is ‘the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed’. It is actually presented as bad for you as being fragile which is ‘the quality of being easily breakable’. so people don’t want to be anywhere near this vulnerability stuff, it makes you lose right?
but wait a second… vulnerability and fragility are so very different as i see it. Fragility, the way i see it, is having a weakness, and making the weakness your reason not to do things, or to act with stress because of the weakness, whereas vulnerability is having a weakness, but presenting it, owning it, and working around it and with it. in other words- when you can’t beat the army, you can always build a trojan horse to get inside their territory… in other words- you expose yourself truly because you know that the weaknesses and the fortes you have will help you on your journey. Vulnerability helps other people see you, and gives them the opportunities to reach out.
Back in Australia.
I see the first car coming, i’m standing with my hand raised half way, the car comes closer…. and closer… it passes me… i’m thinking ‘oh what a stupi…’ and then the car stops about 10 meters away from me. Yo! that was waaaaaay easier than i thought! the driver is a bearded man, he actually moves things from the passenger seat so i can sit (it is 7am… just reminding you) and i got to the destination after 20 minutes. this encounter was a life changer for me. I didn’t know why, but this guy trusted me.
from that day, i was traveling farther and farther and felt more and more comfortable with hitch hiking. And by the way, that’s no “elevator pitch” you need to give when hitch hiking, that’s 3 seconds the driver has to see you and read what you put out, he needs to spontaneously stop in the middle of his way to pick you up, 3 seconds that determine if this person likes what you put out to the world in that moment.
I decided to go up the coast after a bit, ready for a new adventure. all i had was my microphone, a bag with clothes and a sleeping bag (i was planning on sleeping on the beach… (not a smart idea in Australia). i hitch hiked about an hour and a half north of byron, to the gold-coast, got in to a coffee shop with absolutely no idea what i’m doing next, i asked the guy at the counter “hey man, are there any open mics or jams around here?” less than a second passes and this guy comes behind my back with a big smile and a lot of tattoos, he says says: “YES! i’m Justin! there is one tonight! join me! i’ll pick you up at 7?”. what do i have to lose? so i said “no”, spat and left. just kidding, of course i came with him! he drove me for about an hour till we got to the spot, he introduced me to his friends, and the second we started jamming on stage, we were the stars of the night at that place. When the night was about to end, one of his friends offered me to sleep on his couch… i was thinking “damn, can’t anyone here let me feel like a real gipsy for a sec?”. I ended up staying at this friend’s house for about 4 months and he became a soul mate till this day….
Let's go back to that coffee shop for a sec: i asked a pretty blank question, but that question subconsciously meant was "hey, i'm a dude who doesn't know what the hell he's doing here, i don't have money to offer or girls to show off in, i got myself, i love helping people, and i can speak music, does anyone here speak my language and we can go on from there? am i of value to anyone here?"
when being vulnerable, you amplify what you DO have around your weakness, and apparently i was really good at that. I suffered often from anxiety, depression, lack of purpose, but i latched so hard to the kindness i always knew to express.
that was only the start of my realization: people want to see you and want to help, but do you own your weakness? do you amplify something valuable? do you know your values and strengths?
something to think about