Into the Abyss of Vulnerability

Fourty-three. The number of NO's that Gisele Bundchen received before receiving her first YES in international modeling. Now, she is wearing Under Armour while boxing, surrounded by all the negative judgements people make about her, and telling me that she wills what she wants. 

I don't own any Under Armour and I don't have the intention to buy any since I'm currently set on my workout gear, thankyouverymuch. It is just an ad, but it is powerful. Why? Because if I were Gisele, I would have probably quit after the first NO. If I were feeling particularly brave, I may have stuck it out until the third NO. If I were being honest, I am not sure I would have tried at all, just to avoid the whole idea of failure. Fourty-three? Yeah, right. I will what I want... in theory, right?

I am really glad that Gisele stuck it out. I appreciate her story. She's made me think about life balance, environmental issues, and motherhood. I do not always agree with her, but I like her. Maybe I do not harbor judgement because I do not see her as a standard of perfection, as so many other women do. I'm not trying to be Gisele. I'm trying to be Kristen. She and I could level on this. Maybe we could talk about tuning out the noise that judges us harshly and seeks our undoing.

My closest friends would argue with me when I suggest that I lack bravery. They would say that I have proven to them over and over that I have the courage to bust through fourty-three NO's like I own the world. They would name several situations in my life through which I have demonstrated grace, perseverance, and passion. Depending on the day, I may or may not agree with them. This time, though, it is different. It is not like all those other situations.

There is this One Thing. It is the One Thing that stirs my heart, illuminates my soul, and makes me feel extraordinarily vulnerable. I am not good at this One Thing. I am going to fail at this One Thing. I do not know what I am doing with this One Thing.

It feels like I am flying in a perfectly good airplane, and this One Thing requires me to jump out of it. (Brené Brown says we should lean into our discomfort - Brené, this is not leaning. This is full-fledged jumping into the abyss of vulnerability, motion-sickness included.) If I am in a perfectly good airplane having a flight without turbulence, I would be a fool to jump. I could just continue to read my book, listen to my iPod, and make it to my destination comfortably. Of course, not jumping means that this One Thing remains a dream.

Am I more of a fool to jump or to stay on the plane?

You should know that I attend my own lectures.

I met up with a friend who has been going through a lot and has been earnestly trying to think her way through it, without success. I can relate, as I try to think my way out of all things, including how to not fail at my One Thing. Anyway, I told her she might need to feel her way through it instead, which - I fully admit - will be absolutely terrible for a while. However, it will end, as all things do. One of the keys is supporting ourselves and receiving support from those that love us during these terrible, vulnerable times. I have done this many times in my life, and during my most recent bout, I promised myself I would never do it alone again. I know my friend is staring down at the edge right now, and she knows I am there for her if she takes a step. 

I need to attend my own lecture right now. It is not that I have been dealing with a lot (well, maybe I have). It is this One Thing. I have to try. I have to step off the edge. Jumping out of the plane will feel absolutely terrible for a while. In fact, I may never like it, ever, even if I have to do it fourty-three times. But it will end, as all things do. I can always get on the plane with my book and iPod in tow.

I am watching Gisele's Under Armour ad again, and I am shaking my head at all the things said about her. Gisele is getting harshly beat up with these words. Ugh. This is going to happen to me and my One Thing. I have to get everything ready for my Big Jump.

Wise Words for Today

“Don't try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.” Brené Brown

I assume Dr. Brown also means the Hater In My Head - I need to put her on my Ignore List. #NotAJackassWhisperer


That's me. Because, even as I write this, I am still thinking I can chicken out at anytime. My bravery is fleeting. I want to go back to bed.