Tomorrow morning, my daughter, Kristina, and I are leaving for Ireland to attend blog member, Lesley Farrington’s wedding. Even though the wedding is near Dublin, Kristina and I decided to land in Shannon and drive across the country over a few days, making our way to Dublin in time for the ceremony. We’re even going to stay in a couple of castles. Jamie and her husband will be there, too, because they’ve also developed a strong relationship with Lesley and her wonderful fiancé, Ray. If you met these two people, you’d understand. They’re wonderful, fun-loving people.
I have to confess that my stomach is a bit in knots. First, it’s been forever since I’ve traveled without hubby, and he pretty much takes care of everything. Second, this bit about driving on the other side of the road (almost typed out “the wrong side of the road.” How arrogant,) but I’m sure we’ll get used to it. Kristina knows the long list of Mama’s flaws, which include a low threshold for confusion, so she’s already said she’s going to do all the driving. I won’t let her, of course. She’ll just have to live dangerously. It’s not like they have an autobahn or anything. Third, I’m so going to miss Bella. She’s such a Mama’s girl. Rune says that whenever I leave the house, she stands by the door like a statue, staring at the doorknob like she intends to shoot lasers at it from her eyeballs. Fourth, Bluebell is slowly recovering from sepsis, and Rune’s never given medicine to an animal. I have this weird feeling that she’s going to die while I’m gone. Rune will, in fact, have to do all my daily chores like doing the wash, tending to the plants, brushing Bella’s teeth, making sure Bella and the cats have fresh food and water, cleaning the litter boxes, getting the mail, taking out the trash and so much more. I have a list for him, but we’ll see what shape everything is in when I get back. I keep reminding myself that he is a brilliant man and will do fine.
Tonight, we’re going to celebrate my daughter, Michelle’s 30th birthday. Yesterday was her actual birthday, though. After dinner, I’ll finish packing, hug Bella while I cry and go to bed. Okay, okay. Here’s today’s post. Finally!
Me: Good morning, Jamie.
Jamie (chuckling): Good morning.
Me: Hi, Erik, and what are you doing now to make Jamie laugh?
Jamie (shaking her head): It’s just stupid. He’s shouting out different kinds of meat.
Me: Meats now? It was vegetables before! He must be hungry! Go eat, Erik!
Jamie: Steaks, T-bones, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, chicken breasts, turkey.
We both laugh. That boy!
Me: What are you doing that for, Erik?
Jamie: He knows it drives me crazy to constantly hear stuff [repeated] and he just picks a topic and runs with it. Or he’ll just repeat the same word.
Me: Is that fun for you, Erik?
Jamie: It is pretty funny. It’s very G-rated so, to me, it’s hysterical.
Me: Oh good. It could be worse.
Jamie: Yes. He could be doing s series of cuss words.
Me: I know. Well, he’s done a series of those from time to time.
Erik: Hi, Mom!
Me: Hi baby. Here are your choices. Today is the day of choices for you and Jamie.
I give them three topics to choose from.
Erik: I would like to choose selection B.
All about vulnerability.
Me: You always talk about how vulnerability is so important, yet in our society, we see it as a sign of being weak. To sit there and open your heart to somebody and say, “You know, I really love you” makes some people cringe with fear and anxiety. “God, I’m exposing my soft underbelly to be ripped to shreds by a sharp set of canines.”
Jamie laughs because Erik lifts up his shirt and pinches and jiggles his skinny little belly.
Me: There’s not much there!
Jamie: He doesn’t have anything to pinch!
Me: I know.
Jamie: Nice try, though.
Erik: I love vulnerability. The act of vulnerability is the most powerful, the strongest expression you can have. It’s way better than yelling, way better than pushing. All that aggravation and violence is not so powerful. It’s just bullying. It shows that you’re weak, and you’re compensating. But when you’re sitting down and telling the truth that somebody else might not understand or might want to take it and bruise you with it later, and there you are, sharing with them, that’s some powerful shit, and when it’s out, people then, at least from your standpoint, can’t take it and place it over your head. That’s because you get to announce, “Actually, I shared that with you first. I chose to trust you, and this is what you’re doing with the information? I won’t share my next vulnerability or truth or depth with you.” We talked about fear a few clips ago. Some people are fearful of being vulnerable for fear that it’s going to be used against them and harm them in the long run.
Erik: Not true.
Jamie: Random, Erik! Why?
Jamie (flopping her head down in resignation): Oh, this…Okay. So this example, it’s kind of off-handed.
Erik: Let’s say you’re a man who thinks about harming children sexually.
Me: Okay. No wonder you cringed.
Jamie: I told him there’s got to be a better example, and he goes, “No, I want it to be remembered like kind of a shock factor thing.”
Erik: Of course, a huge part of your head is saying, “Don’t ever fucking say that to anybody because you’re broken; you’re wrong; you’re fucked up. You can get arrested and go to jail,” but finding a point of vulnerability where you can share it with someone trusted, whether it’s a friend, a spouse, a therapist, to really identify that those are thoughts that belong to you. It’s almost like when you keep thoughts inside of you, they fester and grow in ways that you might not want them to grow, kind of like when you keep food in the basement, and it grows mildew.
Erik: You really don’t want it to grow fucking mildew. You want it to stay fresh, but you were just storing it. It doesn’t work that way. It can grow in ways where you might actually act it out with a kid. It wasn’t really a part of your constitution, but you were just following through with this fucked up thing you kept inside. It might be that you’re able to talk with someone and find out that it actually happened to you. That’s why you had the thoughts, but you’re an adult, and you forgot that. Your psyche was flipping that shit on you, and you had the viewpoint of the one that was doing it to you because that was your safety mechanism.
Take on the persona of the one in power in a traumatic event.
Erik: Then, all of a sudden, it’s okay because you get it, but to reach that point, you need that vulnerability. You need to share everything you’re experiencing to get to the ultimate power behind what you were experiencing, what you were thinking and what was going on. I want people to understand that vulnerability is not a choice. It doesn’t just happen when you have positive things in your life. It doesn’t just happen by selection like, “Oh, I guess this is a good vulnerability, so I’m going to share that I love you.”
Me: How can you find somebody to talk to about that? Seriously, even your best friend might say, “Dude, you’re weird. I don’t want to talk to you or see you anymore.”
Erik: Yeah, that would be a best friend with a lot of fucking judgment.
Me: Well, most people do! That’s the problem! That makes it very difficult to be vulnerable in a world that thrives on judgment.
Erik: Well, let’s say, in general, you’re a healthy person. In general, you have healthy thoughts. Define that however you want. I’m just talking about not having a ton of crazy. Just a little crazy. And you go to share your vulnerability with someone. That judgment that might come from that person can be completely flushed out and managed with the right conversation and that requires vulnerability. You can say, “I’m really fucking nervous about telling you this. I know that I’d feel better if somebody else knew this about me. I’d like to know that if I shared something with you, what would you do with it? Do you know how to keep a secret? I’m going to identify this as something very important to me that needs to stay between us, or I’m just telling you it’s important; I don’t care who you tell; I just want you to know.” You know, whatever your boundaries are. Be able to have good, clear communication when you’re being vulnerable because that shit matters. “Will you listen? Will you keep a secret? Will you tell me that I’m being heard, and will you hang in there until you can understand the way I see it?” Most people jump to conclusions.
Stay tuned for Part Two on Monday. I don’t think I’ll be posting tomorrow or Sunday, though, because I’ll be traveling.