Writing Vulnerability

By David Brockway

I really hate writing articles, not that I get invited to write many. In fact, this may technically fall under the category of a blog, in which case I hate writing those too. But the process of working through my dislike of writing has allowed me to reflect on how our participants experience our workshops. In dwelling on my displeasure for writing articles I found myself trying to find a reason; I struggled to other than the fact that it seemed like a challenge. Now that I’m sitting here writing I’m reminded that it’s not actually that bad, the words flow, my mind ticks over nicely and it’s not proving to be the excruciating pain I believed it would be.  This got me thinking about actually giving this article some sort of direction - a revolutionary thought! There are many challenges that can easily become insurmountable in our minds, the old “mountain out of a molehill” come true. Rather than putting this down to laziness or seeing a task as simply difficult, I feel that this is as a result of anxiety. In this case, I think that my subconscious hatred (how male, that big angry word) of writing an article stemmed from the knowledge that I had to put something of my own imagining out into the open. It would appear that some vulnerability has crept into the mix too.

I fell straight into that old masculinity trap of seeing that something could leave me exposed and tried to make it go away - not run or hide or complain - but “disappear it”, take the approach that most removes me from any interaction with something that could open me up to..what,.the caring reaction of our lovely supporters?! Seems an illogical thing to be afraid of. And something else creeps into the mix here too: the fear of failure, the fear of not being good enough and letting people down. Something that again requires vulnerability to open yourself up to.

In our work we teach that vulnerability is a strength and being able to expose yourself to it is a skill; so here I am, after much showmanship I’m actually doing the thing I dislike, giving it a go and seeing where it takes me. It’s not easy, and that’s something that we’ve always sought to teach in our workshops too; whether it’s facilitating with teenagers, students or adults, we never say it’s easy to confront the uncomfortable, challenge a norm, step outside your comfort zone and ask questions of yourself. We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard - and things that are hard to achieve are worth having.

Our aim is to help people try and as I’m writing this I’m reminding myself that sometimes you’ve got to try, perhaps fail, learn and try again. Then you succeed.