I had an aha! moment today that was life-changing.
All the hairs on my body stood on end as if I had had an electric current flow through me. Maybe it was more like a fork in the electric socket moment. Whatever. It definitely woke me up.
I came to the realization that a large part of the reason my husband and I have been at odds has been because everything is fine. That probably sounds really dumb, but hear me out…
When my husband and I met, I was only recently separated from my ex. I wasn’t looking for love. It started online—we didn’t know each other. We just knew people who knew each other and so it was recommended that we should be friends.
At first, I was nothing more than super physically attracted to him. He had that edgy thing going for him. My friend told me that he was nice, funny, but just not for her. So it began.
At first we just scoped out each others pages and talked about common interests. After messaging for a couple weeks though he wanted to meet me.
It so happened that this was the point in time when the greatest tragedy I had known would unfold. I picked up the phone one morning to hear my best friend on the other end, but there was no life on the line.
Her son had been shot and killed.
The world came to a screeching halt.
I spent days on end walking with her through the greatest hell a mother can ever know. Sleeping on the floor next to her, sleeping on the couch just to be there when she would wake up crying, realizing that it hadn’t been just a bad dream.
I became distant and vague with the new guy, not wanting to share a story that wasn’t mine to share. Until one night when I was sitting on the porch with my friend. She asked me to do her a favor.
She asked me to meet him for dinner. She told me life was too short and I had waited too long to be happy. I mustered all of the courage I had and obliged.
The favor my friend asked of me was vulnerability.
She asked me to put aside everything I had just been through in an abusive marriage and take a chance for her that she knew I wouldn’t take on my own. He ended up being the love of my life, and I never would have known that if it had not been for vulnerability.
Vulnerability, it turns out, is the key to life’s greatest joys.
I’m of the opinion that because we live in a world where tragedies unfold everyday, we’ve all become desensitized to tragedy without realizing that we are also allowing ourselves to be desensitized to joy.
We put up impenetrable walls to guard ourselves. We write our safety laws, rules and regulations upon them. “Do Not Enter” the sign reads. Proceed with caution. Beware of the raving bitch. Do not look at the man behind the curtain.
These walls do not need to exist.
Since the first moments of my husband and my’s relationship, there have been people and circumstances we have struggled to deal with. It is truly remarkable how many times our hearts could be broken without our actually dying.
Even though we always made it through, we had also conditioned ourselves to be prepared for the next obstacle. We knew to turn to each other when it happened, but when nothing happened rather than accept the joy and space, we prepared ourselves for the next struggle. Because of this, we’ve been missing out on the joy of this beautiful, precious life we had made together. Right here, right now.
So I’ve decided I’m submitting myself, to him, to us. Screw hell and high water, come unspeakable joy and overwhelming sunny days, I want it all. I won’t wait for the other shoe to drop. I’m going to throw caution to the wind, be completely vulnerable, make a total ass of myself and I’m going to love every second of it.
As my friend asked of me, I ask of you. Be vulnerable.
Be aware of the space it brings, respect it, and instead of letting all the “could’s” and “should’s” stop you, recognize the chance that vulnerability gives you to fully experience life.
We cannot know what happiness awaits you until we take the chance, whole heartedly. You’ve waited long enough. It’s never too soon to be happy, my friend.
Author: Stephanie Myers
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Dmitri Kichenko/flickr