Posts Tagged ‘transparency’

(This.Shit.Gets. Messy.)

This morning I came across a song that lead to this post on accountability and “digging deep”. Lately I’ve been sitting on a couple  of topics to bring to the blog I just haven’t had a chance to sit and just…write. But today’s lyric (brought to you by Spoons “I Turn My Camera On”) reminded me of a core value which I have been working my brain around; Transparency.

“I turn my camera on
I cut my fingers on the way
The way I’m slipping away
I turn my feelings off
You made me untouchable for life
And you wasn’t polite”

“I turn my camera on- I cut my fingers on the way” 

This reminded me of  how I came into this program and realized I wanted to see things from a different lens, but that turned into a painful process for me-it meant digging deep.

“I turn my feelings off, you made me untouchable for life…and you wasnt polite”

This screamed transparency for me. And most of all its messiness. Transparency has the potential of making you turn yourself and your feelings off. Who really wants to have to own up to their shit? I surely didn’t. The bit about it being impolite? Who is it coming from? Do you know of their intentions? Delivery? Tone? Location? All  things to take into account about the transparency of the person.

Truth is, Public Allies gave me a space for reflection that I had turned off a long time ago. I was hesitant and stubborn and realizing I wasnt going to change any or all of that in the context of this program was the most difficult. There was no “band-aid” solution to my socialization. I couldn’t  just pinpoint something I wanted to work on and expect a puzzle solution.

My difficulty was in understanding how could I truly believe that when I was challenged it was because someone cared about me and not because they were being vindictive and mean?


A constant thing to have to shield myself against. No, I don’t want to be vulnerable- it’s like driving without a seat belt or riding a bike without a helmet. You hurt yourself once (or someone hurts you, for that matter) and it’s really easy to not want to deal with that anymore. It’s “messy” It’s making me have to dig deep.

I think Public Allies has really helped me in finding out that to turn yourself inside out for all to see isn’t such a bad thing after all. It’s baby steps.It’s speaking your truth and your realities. We’re not being “opened for the sake of being open”. It’s moments when our vulnerability serves a purpose. I feel that in finding that purpose I lost myself at some point,  only to find myself all over again. It was messy that’s for sure. But so far, it’s been well worth it.


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Throughout my PALA experience so far, the one thing that has become more evident to me and those around me have been my feelings surrounding vulnerability and nervousness. It has almost become a running joke, I even entitled my Mini Presentation of Learning as “The five reasons PALA makes Ben Nervous.” But in all seriousness, I have been able to reflect and understand why I have these feelings around vulnerability.

My coach, Vanessa, sent me this video that in addition to our talks over lunch have really helped me understand why I feel nervous all the time.

It’s a long video but definitely worth watching.

Recently, I have been going through a lot of personal trials and have lost sight of what Brene Brown would call, “The Power of Vulnerability.” These personal trials have definitely brought me into a spiral of negative feelings and have brought me to question the things in my life. But then I remembered this video and decided to watch it again, in hopes that it would get me out of this slump.

“Connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives”

With my personal struggle these past few days, I have been forced to end a relationship that has contributed to the purpose and meaning to my life for the past two years. What I have recently realized was that although this relationship has been an important part of my life, many of the other people who I have a connection with, such as my PALA cohort, didn’t know about it (but thats a whole different post in itself).

These two parts of my life were separate because of the vulnerability I felt with bringing them together. It was this fear of disconnection and fear of the unknown. I was eventually able to embrace the vulnerability and “invest in a relationship that may or may not work out” in all aspects. I was set free. A weight was lifted off my shoulders and I was able to breathe again. Temporarily.

“Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear, the struggle for worthiness…but also the birth place of joy, creativity, of belonging and love”

What stuck out most after re-watching the video was Brown’s point of not being able to numb vulnerability without numbing everything else such as joy, gratitude and happiness. Although I thought I was finding the power in vulnerability with my relationship, I was simply numbing the truth and lost sight of the joy and happiness of the connection. I began to resort to blame – “a way to discharge pain and comfort” and the blame pushed me to a place I hope I never reach again.

I stayed home this whole weekend, and I am proud of myself for that. I resisted the temptation to numb my new vulnerable situation with going to the mall for retail therapy or grabbing a stiff drink because I don’t want to also numb the feelings of joy, happiness and gratitude.

As I continue to sort through my deep abyss of emotions, I am letting myself be seen and sharing this to be more transparent. My normal way of dealing with something like this would be to keep it inside, and deal with it on my own, to not burden anyone else with what I’m going through…aka hiding from vulnerability.

I’m letting myself be seen.

Everything is very “up in the air” right now and nothing is certain. But I’m hoping that in sharing this with you all, it’s a step in the right direction for me and that someone else has found the strength in vulnerability from my discombobulated thoughts, meshed together in this post that may not make sense.

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