Vulnerability as strength

Hands up if you’re grieving profoundly and have had the following said to you: “you’re so strong”, “you’re so brave”, or “you’re so resilient”. Now put your hand up if anyone has said the following: “you’re incredibly fragile right now, and you look it, but I wouldn’t expect anything else”, or “you be you, don’t feel pressured to put on a mask”, or even “I know that you’re broken, and I’m here to sit with you and your broken pieces”. I’m guessing not so many of you huh?

Some people see a picture of us smiling here on Instagram and think ‘oh, she’s getting better’. Sometimes they say as much, other times they allude to it. They fail to look beneath the surface and to see that we’re mush, smiling only because it’s social convention to smile. We live in a society that pressurises grivers to ‘heal’, to ‘mend’, to be silent, to be anything but in deep pain. And heaven forbid if you actually express and display your pain. Whoah! How come wearing a mask and faking it is seen as strength, when the real strength is demonstrated by those who have had their hearts broken open to the extent that they feel they have no choice but to show their vulnerability. Strength is not pretending that everything is ‘ok’ when your life has just imploded, it’s in being true to yourself and in turn to others, and to expressing and living that truth. It takes great courage to admit that what’s happened has destroyed you, that you’re in constant anguish, that you would still rather be with the person who meant most to you in the world, and you in turn to them. It is not a weakness to be honest about how you feel. It is not a weakness to cry, to wail, to swear (thank f***!) It is not a weakness to show that you feel, and have felt, and that above all you you love in a way that will always lead to heartbreak. To love and allow yourself to be loved like this – that takes real strength.

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