Getting Naked & Vulnerable

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Living From The Heart Days 12-15

Honestly for the past few days I just could not bring myself to get on the computer and type anything on WordPress. Writing from the heart (for me) is all about inspired writing. Over the past few days I just was not inspired to write anything. I guess a few things had to happen in order for me to get the inspiration to write – so here I am. The past few days have been interesting. I want to speak a little bit about presence today. I’ll start with a short story.

The other day I went to purchase my Christmas tree. When I got it home I literally hugged the tree and felt its presence. I know it sounds crazy to say that I connected with the tree, but I did. Its presence just felt like home to me. I am not talking about the homes where you grow up with nana and pop-pop or the homes where your mom and dad raise you; I am talking about that bare unforgiving presence that just demands your attention {now that’s what I call HOME}.

It’s an internal feeling of home. That feeling of being naked, vulnerable, open, and adored anyway. It is just a tree, but it brings such a spirit of comfort to my home that I cannot even adequately explain the feelings in words. It has a natural, peaceful, stable presence that just fills my home with love. I look at the tree now – all dressed up with the ornaments, lights, and shimmery garland  and I think to myself… it doesn’t even need all of that stuff for me to feel my connection to its presence.

The Same Is True About Us

We don’t even need all of that stuff. The makeup, the cars, the jobs, the clothes are just a mask hiding the real us. I realized that if I could just be truly comfortable with who I am – my true presence would shine through. I loose confidence in my real self because the false self is the one that gets the credit and recognition, while the real self remains hidden.

I am in no way shape or form saying that I am an impostor sitting here writing to you, but I am saying that I hold back sometimes. Sometimes out of fear of sounding stupid or awkward. I shape my words so that they will make sense to others. I try to dress the articles up with pictures and quotes that make sense and that are appealing. The truth is, people are just looking for honesty. All that other stuff is just the icing on the cake.

For some of us we feel too open and too vulnerable in our real presence. There is something wrong with our real presence we feel. Let’s be clear… there isn’t really anything wrong with being open and vulnerable it’s just that so many of us are paying attention to our false sense of beauty that we forget what our real beauty is.

Our real selves have no drama attached, no bias, no gossip, and juicy details to share. Our real selves have no makeup to hide behind, no calories to count, or things to want. Our real selves have the nerve to just be what they are. Not to fit in – not to get checks – not for more likes or approval, but our true selves have the goddamn audacity to stand in a room and say, “take me as I am. I am not catering, shifting, or molding myself to fit your ideal image. I was simply born to be.”

How bold and beautiful is that outlook?

Now, How Do I Get Closer To That Presence?

I’ve figured it all out. Not! I have one small step. Just one little itty bitty baby step that might lead you in the right direction of becoming more authentic, living naked, and telling people to shove it {joking}.

Simply do what you believe is right.

The other day I had someone really test my character and my beingness. I had a very hostile experience.  I will try to make this story as short as possible. About a month or so ago I created an art site on Tumblr featuring ebony art paintings. My intention was to draw attention to beautiful black art and have the people who followed or viewed the site take a detour to the art sites and see what appealed to them. Unfortunately, me posting from their URL’s didn’t work properly so it looked like I was taking art photos and just copying them to my page without giving the artists any credit. SO FAR FROM WHAT I WAS ACTUALLY TRYING TO DO…

Anyway, some people started a blog attacking my whole character and calling me a thief. They said I was stealing black art, putting it on my site to basically get views, and not giving credit to the appropriate art sites. To make a long story short, the theme I chose for Tumblr did not link back to the original sites so I could see where their assumptions came from. Instead of informing me of this they posted nasty messages on my Tumblr site and just basically were acting completely inconsiderate and hostile.

A Test Of My Real Character

I was mortified. Not only was that some kind of attention that I definitely did not want to attract, my reputation was also on the line. How would I look? What would people think? Would people take my image and connect it to the title “thief”. My defenses immediately went up. I thought about lashing out on them, but something stopped me. I thought to myself, “who am I and would that response be representing me in the best way?”

I stopped, took a deep breath, and posted a :::Keep Calm & Carry On::: picture to my site on Tumblr. I then wrote a message apologizing to all the followers who had to witness such ridiculousness. After that, I wrote to the hostile critics and directed them to the post that explained exactly what happened and what my intentions were so that they could get the real truth behind what was going on. I thought that would calm their assumptions, but apparently they didn’t believe my story and kept attacking my character. After that, I went to each picture and placed in the comments the credit source to where to find the art. I then gracefully bowed out of that argument. I knew from their constant continuation (even after I had explained myself) that they weren’t out to rectify things, they were just out to attack.

Let’s be clear… I am not going to argue just for argument’s sake. It doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

I simply corrected the situation by adding the credits as I originally intended to do and I let the rest of that drama rest. I simply did what I believed was the right thing to do.

Now the “small me” would have tried to hide their comments, delete what they said, or would have deleted the blog all together, but the “real me” said, “here’s a chance to show your true character.” The “small me” would have avoided the hostility at all costs, but the “wise me” said, “you have nothing to hide here. You know what your intentions were, just do your best to fix it up the best you can.”

It was a small step, but I was happy that I stood up for myself and didn’t let what they said about me bully me into taking down the Tumblr page.

I want to end this story with a quote…

You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. {Author Unknown}

I Want To Share This With You

I want to share a wonderful video with you. A little while ago while visiting the NeuroNotes Blog I was introduced to a researcher named Brené Brown. Brené is famous for her TED Talks on Vulnerability and I would like to share one with you. The video will be at the end of this post.

In Closing

We have the chance in every moment to be more of ourselves, to be naked, to be true to what we believe in and are. This video is all about the journey to that authenticity. Brené speaks crazy talk about “reserving seats” for your critics and about embracing them. Boy did I ever have to do that these past couple of days. In addition to that, she talks about the right to be yourself even regardless of what they say.

I am learning how to do that step by step. As I learn – I share because I know that I am not the only one on this journey through discovering our true selves.

We are all trying to figure out how to be better people and how to find home (that internal feeling of being at peace with who you are and unapologetic for it) within ourselves. Do what you believe is right. No one can take that from you. It’s not a prop, a mask, or a costume, it’s who you are. Embrace it.

I will leave you with a quote.

The ache for home lives in all of us – the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. {Maya Angelou}

Thanks for reading and here’s the video!

finished-heart Nay

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