Vulnerability is all the rage, a trend* punted by society, podcasts, vlogs, Op Eds and after dinner drink talk for all men to embrace. Yet, our Editor Mr Siphiwe Mpye writes, those who preach it, are seldom ready for it.
Vulnerability is complex. At once encouraging when you realise how much of your daily existence requires it and encouraged by the fact that you have been micro dosing on it your entire life, but also such hard, intentional work that can take everything out of you. I am also coming to realise that vulnerability is something that many people around you are not ready for.
Romantic partners, friends, colleagues, family and those who may think they know you from your public and digital interactions are seldom ready for the vulnerable you. They may encourage it, crave it or even demand it of you, but they are seldom ready. They are not ready for the frank you. Not ready for the questioning you. No ready for the honest you. Never ready for the emotional you, the you at your weakest and owning up to all of it in weepy staccato, with no immediate solution.
“They may encourage it, crave it or even demand it of you, but they are seldom ready for it.”
They bluster on, on an illusionary high, crafting an alternate universe in which you gallantly wear that superhero cape that once weighed you down. You get drafted into a loop, where over and again you show them that you are content with being a different person and they consistently call in the Marvel character, one that has a plan, one that has an answer for it all, one whose spirit doesn’t break and whose mind is never weary. When their order comes dressed in different clothes, their outrage is renewed.
They are not ready for what they think they want, but it was never about them to begin with, it was always about you, the better you, the best you. You should never alter that path for anyone. Keep doing the work, it is for nobody else but yourself. The dots will connect for others, when they are ready to snap that superhero out of existence.
*Vulnerability is not a trend, or at least should not be seen as one. Vulnerability is our state of being.