The morning after my article Aborting Shame: one women’s experience within abortion was published to over eight million readers, I woke up expecting to feel certain emotions from stripping down and getting in the vulnerability spotlight on such a controversial subject.
I stood listening to Justin Vernon’s voice bouncing off the walls of my little log cabin as I stirred sugar into my coffee, and listened as my phone announced comments, emails and messages pouring in.
It was the most vulnerable I have been in my entire life. I expected to feel fear, embarrassment maybe. I was scared my article would blow up, and I was also afraid that no one would read it.
I was surprised that what I felt was empowered, gentled, humbled and beautifully torn up with the experience of being so open.
“The moment when we become uncomfortable is exactly the moment when we start to grow.” ~ unknown
A large volume of people chose to contact me and stand bravely in the light with their own experiences. The me toos that crept out from under the rug and into the air to breathe astounded and inspired me.
I had women reach out who had never told anyone about their abortion.
Women whose fathers forced them to abort their pregnancies, dropped them off alone for the procedure and told them to never speak of it again- to live with a heavy shame in their hearts.
I had multiple men write me and say, “Hey, you said this was written for the women of the world—but this meant so much to me.”
I had women write me to tell me they gave a child up for adoption and carried curiosity and shame to this day.
I had Catholics and Christians I know contact me privately saying that it brought them to the roots of their belief system- to question, feel and seek further than the seeds previously planted.
I listened to hate.
I received anger.
We live in a world where some people prefer to judge others instead of taking a real look at themselves. How much easier would it be to let go of our self-righteousness, see our different beliefs and not personalize another’s experience within our eyes?
I received love.
So much overwhelming love.
I felt so completely loved up. I got the most naked I’ve been in my life, and I felt as if the world just looked up at me and said, “Yeah, so what? I love you anyway.”
And beyond what the world saw and said-I looked at myself in a new light that morning.
I realized that regardless of the opinions or process other people had of my experience that nothing can alter the light within me. It can neither be inflated nor deflated by the animosity or affection of those surrounding me. I am a vigorous being of worth and the only person who can take away from my power-is me.
My nakedness did exactly what I wished for and more.
My vulnerability not only permitted those around me to get naked within their experiences, but also allowed myself to dive into a deeper level of acceptance, understanding and love.
Nothing is worth hiding. Nothing needs to be crammed away somewhere no one will find.
If we are going to be at home with ourselves we must not self discriminate and filter that which we share with the world. We must just exist as is– and be prepared to be loved anyway.
“If we are going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path. And I know its seductive to stand outside the arena, because I think I did it my whole life and think to myself “I’m going to go in there and kick some ass when I am bullet proof and when I’m perfect” and that is seductive, but the truth is-that never happens. And even if you go in as perfect as you could, and as bullet proof as you could possibly muster- when you got in there- that’s not what we want to see. We want you to go in -we want to be with you, and across from you and we just want, for ourselves, and the people we care about to dare greatly.” – Brene Brown
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Editor: Renée Picard
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