Outside Magazine and Being Vulnerable
A few years ago I wrote a piece about our beloved dog Max, who had just died. It was the most personal piece of writing that I’d shared with the public since my divorce. To say I was nervous and afraid to share my emotions so openly would be an understatement. But Max had had such an immense and positive impact on me that I almost felt as if I owed it to him to write down my thoughts and feelings and put it all out into the world, regardless of the response.
Shortly thereafter, I found out I was pregnant. It took me several months to summon the courage to write about my worries, fears, excitement, and feelings. After the initial post, I received a flood of encouraging messages. The many comments on this blog created a positive discussion, and it suddenly felt like I had been accepted into a new, incredible community.
This blog has been a way for me to openly face some of my fears about being vulnerable—and what it has given back to me in the form of a connection to other readers, moms, and climbers around the world has been not only surprising, but truly amazing.
Brene Brown, in her TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability,” says, “In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.”
Since Theo was born, I’ve tried to become more comfortable and accepting of my own worth. That includes accepting all of it: the usual ups and downs, the totally avoidable messiness, and all of the glaring imperfections about myself, which usually makes me want to just shrink up into my own shell.
Life is a struggle. Even when life is really good, life is a struggle. Everyone has bumps in their lives—why not embrace it? This is how we learn and grow from those that really make us who we are.
I have a piece in the new “Women’s Issue” of Outside Magazine and it covers a big portion of my life—my career, Kyrgyzstan, my marriage and divorce to Tommy, my marriage to Randy, and the birth of Theo. This feature is probably the most open and vulnerable I’ve been in a piece of writing, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to put it all out there for such a large audience. But if climbing has taught me anything it’s that sometimes the scariest things to us can be the most rewarding. Brown says it even better:
“Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness,” she says, “but it appears it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.”
I owe an immense amount to Liz Weil for helping get this story out there. Also special thanks to Andrew Bisharat for giving me the confidence to open up to everyone over the past few years.
If you have a chance to read the story, please check it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Photo credit: Annie Tritt for Outside Magazine