The Necessity of Vulnerability and Why It's Not That Easy

Dear Diary! Boy oh boy am I peeved on ten different levels right about now. First up, what kinda bul-

There are very few times over the course of my life when I have felt genuinely vulnerable. This is partially due to the fact that I’m startlingly – if slightly excessively – self-contented, but also because as soon as I sense myself edging anywhere near the precipice of vulnerability my brain switches into autopilot and we run. the hell. away. Even if on a conscious level I actually want to suck it up and push through, it’s as though I’ve pulled this move one time too many and now I don’t have a choice; like a self-preservation-oriented version of Adam Sandler in Click.

That isn’t to say I’ve never been open or honest or completely, uncomfortably raw; I’ve been in relationships and I’ve been in love, and once I’m there that flight instinct switches off. But that’s the thing - once I’m there the risk is gone. In one way or another, the other half of the situation has signalled that it’s safe to take the guard down, so displaying vulnerability automatically involves significantly less… vulnerability. To me, honesty and vulnerability are completely different concepts. I've had breakups, I’ve had breakdowns, I frequently have no-holds-barred conversations about my entire life with virtual strangers and honestly as a blanket rule I’m pretty much an open book, but there's always the exception of one life-long trend.

I’m gonna go ahead and say that there has probably never been a single instance when every even vaguely relevant character in my life did not know I liked someone before they did. Real talk, I am so phenomenally abysmal at expressing any kind of romantic feelings towards someone if they have not explicitly told me they feel the same way prior, that I think I might have literally only done it once in my life. When I was ten. Over the phone. To David Roberts from my 5th grade class, and it was a bad, bad idea and I haven’t done it since.

When I was seventeen I was p much 100% in love with my best friend Tom for a solid year and although it was VERY OBVIOUS and made my life VERY COMPLICATED, not once did I actually say it out loud to his human face. I did do witchcraft one time with my god sister Sussy directly resulting in his girlfriend breaking up with him (if it was a coincidence it was a very, very potent one like we're talking a matter of hours here, which is why I do not, at present, fuck w magic. I also apologised to him for this in 2014 so my karma is chill) and also sewed him a very beautiful stuffed sharkodile (I still possess its reverse counterpart, the crocark), but I am me and there was risk and I didn't want to ruin everyone's lives so I said nothing.

There are ways around this emotional incompetence, yes, such as the classic ‘he started it so we’re fine’, slightly riskier ‘leading questions to test the waters’ and my personal favourite ‘whoops didn’t know this was a thing but now we’re making out and I am surprisingly fine with it’. But there are also times when the feelings just kind of get stuck in there with nowhere to go until eventually the flight instinct kicks in but the feelings are like ‘no this is important though’ and the flight instinct is like ‘nah buddy taking off in 5...4...3’ and the feelings are like ‘I SAID THIS IS IMPORTANT THOUGH’ and then it all goes a bit volcanic.

It may have gone a bit volcanic.

Or it may not have and I’m sitting here googling flights to Melbourne, wearing a penguin onesie on my bottom half and eating an entire bag of snow peas for a completely different reason. You never know. Gotta keep the mystery alive.

Innywho, why am I shattering the mystique and expressing genuine sentiments that every ounce of my sarcastic, self-contained soul wants to lock away in a small, secure mental vault between some niche octopus facts and all the Spanish I knew when I was six? Well, dear non-judgmental, anonymous reader who I am going to pretend I definitely couldn't possibly know in real life, like every other detrimental comfort zone I've managed to settle into during my blessed time on this earth, I'm over it and I'm ready to yank myself out. Simple as. Also I'm very bored of my bitch-ass emotional reflexes jeopardising relationships with people I care about, but admitting that would be a mild display of vulnerability so we're gonna gloss over it. ...Except no we're NOT, Madeleine, because I'm GROWING as a PERSON and I CARE about SELECTED OTHER PEOPLE SOMETIMES AS WELL SURPRISE I got up and made coffee just now can you tell.

At any rate, this has been a rather cathartic outward manifestation of my increasingly-repetitive current inner monologue, and hopefully now that it's out I can start listening to something other than 'Oops' by Little Mix. Probably not. Tauntingly addictive little banger, that one. Also I do somewhat reluctantly appreciate how that was my initial response to addressing this complex matter and not 'now I can rectify the crushing wrongs I have committed against those I hold dear'. Consistency of character, if nothing else. I really am just listening to Little Mix on repeat now so I'm gonna bail, but do tune back in next time for 'Emotional Chafe: I Don't Know What That Means Yet, But I've Probably Got It.'