If I'd have never known your name... I'd still be driving that old green Nova.

    I've settled into my big gray hoodie and my country music. I am quite certain these things keep me safe. This week I've felt the cold chill of spindly fingers grasping at my neck and have made sure that comforts are never far. It has been a while since this feeling has creeped over me with such ferocious density. I could blame the cough I stole from someone else... or the schedules I've been keeping... the stress, oh momma... the stress, but ... I can't. Because I can't lie to myself. 

    I wish I could find an eloquent way to describe this knot in my stomach. The why's and the how it got there's. I wholeheartedly believe that would make me feel better. A little verbal regurgitation... there's never any harm in that. Right... 

    Fear. Breed by Vulnerability and shrouded in Shame and Insecurity. That's the best I can do. Sterile and technical. I used to despise Vulnerability. It's nasty little tendrils gripped fast and strong.  It wasn't until very recently that I was able to address that specific emotion for what it was. I just knew it as suffocating and overthrowing. It was only through the entanglement of a new presence in my life that I was able to realize it's name. The realization started with an occurrence... a situation... a complete 'uh-oh' moment. I began the recoiling process and started throwing things blindly in the dark from behind the fence I'd quickly built. But at some point, I took a deep breath and and stepped over the mess I was making and walked into the situation. 

    You see, I have had this really nasty habit of just accepting certain situations and attitudes as they are, regardless of their effect on me. Of course... that can only last so long. Eventually, I implode at the re-occurrence of whatever disturbance is about and then eventually... I lose my mother loving mind. I snap. The air chills and I start scratching at anything near me. 

    I spent the better part of last year discovering my inner darkness and confronting all of those monstrous parts we always fear lie within us. I do believe that was the most emotional strain I have ever encountered. It cannot happen again. I will not happen again. I cannot hold other people accountable for the way their actions effect me if I cannot express the pain it causes me to them... as it happens. Oh, the horror... openly expressing myself... my confusion... but... that would mean that I am displaying my insecurities... my fears... my vulnerability. I have never been able to do that...well, not until all those emotions have a thick shell of anger to hide behind. 

    So, armed with this new awakening and still nursing my wounds, I stepped over that familiar mess, and I ousted myself. I laid out my insecurities. My jealousies. My struggles and my fears in my calmest of manners. I admitted my biggest faults and my weaknesses and waited for the door to slam. But instead... I was welcomed with the warmest hug and one of the first most authentic and real conversations I've ever known. Every hair follicle tingled. Every defense mechanism disarmed and that presence was right there and then, sealed to me in a way I'll always fail at communicating. Yes. Yes! This... this is what I have been wanting. Brutal honestly. Complete openness.  No shadows, no secret corners... just the most sacred bonding of understanding and complete acceptance. 

    I sincerely love that presence and the effect it has on me, I just wish Everywhere had the same rules and Everyone understood the, albeit terrifying, but beautifully intense moments found while embracing ones vulnerability. I am imperfect and wired for struggle, as Brene says. I will always look for purpose and meaning in all my relationships and interactions. I am constantly looking for new ways to fall apart. It is through that process that I grow and through that growth I flourish. Being vulnerable is only my weakness if I treat it as such...

    ...but the most difficult part, is swallowing the fear and saying, "Fuck it. I am taking this risk. I am accepting these terrifying moments and I'm going to be grateful for them" that still stops me cold. Old habits are hard to kill and it's a struggle to not look at a significant piece of your past and think, but if I just let this time go and don't cause a conflict, I won't lose this. And oh, how I enjoy this... 

    I am growing more and more afraid that I have been here... in this place... before, though. It never works well. It's just a matter of time, though, before I lose the fear and let the risk taking happen. It's a bittersweet, tortured state I keep finding myself in with him.

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