You know that noise you make when you do or say something you regret? Like when you're talking crap about someone in a moment of weakness, and you turn around and they're standing right behind you?
You know that noise? The slight gagging. Or maybe a small gasp of an, "Oh God" escapes your pursed lips?
Well, that's the noise I've been making a lot recently.
It happens most often when I write. The second I hit "publish" on anything I have diarrhea (metaphorically.....sort of). I've been told that I'm not putting myself out there unless I feel a little bit nauseous.
Well, baby, I guess I'm out there (#lol literally), because I haven't stopped dry heaving and power sweating in about a year and a half.
It's a vulnerability hangover.
I've felt the flop sweat consume me a few times lately. Between the podcast, and this silly blog, and helping new moms, and navigating the dating world (Jesus help me), I don't know how I'm not dehydrated.
The closer things hit to home, the more electrolytes and saltines I'm going to need that day. It amazes me that no matter how often I put myself out there, my body doesn't get used to it. I love Brene Brown (hallowed be thy name) and all of her vulnerability malarkey, but please, for Christ's sake, find an antidote to this.
If not for my sake, for Christ's sake.
You'd think it would get easier after the millionth blog, wouldn't you? Add that to the millionth podcast, and the millionth mom looking for help and the worry that you don't know what you're talking about, or the millionth time you try to not choke on the foot you just put in your mouth in front of the person you're in to.
You get it, I know. We all have our things that are so vulnerable that it makes us genuinely wish that we'd get struck by lightning where we stand.
Today, I'm having *that* day. The "What If" day.
What if I'm putting something out there that is just utter crap? What if I don't know what I'm talking about? What if the thing I think is emotional, poetic and deep, is actually overwrought, overkill and cringe-worthy? What if I write something for someone, and miss the mark completely? What if I harm a mom with my advice? What if the podcast takes a different direction without me? What if I'm undatable?
Oh God...what if I'm not funny?
<Today's what-ifs are brought to you by my inferiority complex.>
One of my worst fears (right up there with heart attacks and spider eggs in my ears) is the scene from Wedding Crashers where Craig and Christina exchange sailing vows: "Through sickness and in health, clear skies and squalls...to be your anchor and your sail, your starboard and your port..."
Everyone thinks they're idiots.
It's my fifth worst fear (right below surprise parties) because what's worse than putting yourself out there only to be laughed at?
Actually, it's such a fear, that I even hate it when other people put themselves out there too. Clearly what you're doing affects me directly because I'm red-faced for you, and you're forcing me to nervous eat...stop embarrassing us!
For me, it's not the performance anxiety of actually being vulnerable per se, it's the three days of wallowing in sorrow and neuroticism that accompany it.
I don't know about you, but when I put myself on the line, I eventually find myself laying on my apartment floor, staring at the ceiling listening to Katy Perry's "Roar" on repeat until I'm well enough to roll over and order pizza on Grubhub.
DeFazio's understands me. They keep asking me to stop hugging them, but still, I know they get it.
Being vulnerable doesn't feel cathartic or rewarding or brave in the least. It feels like I'm about to get my head chopped off by Henry VIII, and I can't think of a good one-liner to go out on.
Jesus. Imagine that performance anxiety? Someone was literally sitting there with a quill waiting for you to say something awesome right before you become about a head shorter. What if you asked for your mommy or exclaimed that you just shat your pants? #ohgod
So. What now? I've put something out into the world. I'm in "the arena." I'm feeling wicked vulnerable, horribly neurotic, mildly narcissistic, and terribly nauseous...what do I do now?
I've done it before, so I know how to answer this one.
I keep going. I sweat it out. I drink wine in the park. I hold my head as high as I can, and I try not to apologize. I gave something of myself, and that's more than many people do. I just have to keep putting my pants on one leg at a time (if I remember) and get out of the house.
And, y'all...not only is vulnerability hard, it's necessary. I mean that from the perspective of being just flat out wrong about 86% of the time too. Missing the mark doesn't mean that you should stop showing up to practice. I'm well intentioned...horrible at execution. I'm getting better at communicating my intent, at least. It's all very emotional and exhausting.
The sharp edges of strong emotions always erode to soft and blurry. They just always do.
Your vulnerable thing might be getting to that 9am yoga class where all the skinny girls go. Or trying free weights at the gym even though you have spaghetti arms. Or telling your ex that you love them, and they still can't be in your life. Or standing up to your family when they're wrong. Or following your heart, even when your head says no. Or going to the grocery store, even though you think everyone is looking at you. Or freaking dating. Or moving. Or apologizing. Or doing a podcast. Or writing a book for your best friend.
Whatever makes you feel exposed and slightly nauseous, do it.
It sucks, and you're going to sweat. A. Lot.
But even if you end up face down battered and beaten, it's still better than doing nothing. Trust me. I may not nail it every time, but this is all new for me. I spent my whole life avoiding being vulnerable, so it'll take some time to get my bearings.
Put yourself out there, because unless you do, you'll never know how awesome it feels to be this hung over.