The theme this week for me has been vulnerability. It has come up in conversations. I have thought about it and puzzled over it and dove in, because in my mind, it is the essence of being human. We are, after all, born into a challenging world with very little to protect ourselves, save our smarts and ability to connect with one another. In order to connect, we show our need and that is the vulnerable part, when we say, “I can’t do this alone.” It is from this revealing of our weakness that we gain strength in connection. You can’t have one with out the other. So, in the middle of my week with the vulnerability topic circling, I watched Mortified Nation, the ultimate reveal your soul to all experience.
Mortified is a stage show, where folks get up and read excerpts from their childhood diaries. It is touching, sad, revealing, uplifting, sweet, and hilarious. It is telling secrets, inner most thoughts, the feelings that are difficult to share. The longing to be loved, to fit in, the anger and rage, overwhelming happiness and love- dizzying feelings that overcome us, written in desperation, secrecy, code, or ALL CAPS in our diaries, expressions of what it is to be human. We are all trying to find our place. When one person can stand up and say how lonely they feel it resonates with all. The honesty and vulnerability of these readings give voice to the awkward teenager that we all were at one time and celebrates our mutual dorkiness.
We were on a road trip last week, my family and me. We drove to Kentucky to visit with friends and have a break from the Michigan snow, which seems to really mean it this year. In fact, there are still good sized banks of the stuff hanging around. These banks have been here since November, when the snow started. It is hard to remember the green grass. So, we hopped in the car and headed south. It was a refreshing break to be in a place where the air didn’t hurt when it hit your bare skin.
We packed lightly for this trip. We took pleasure in loading our small bags with just the necessities. Nothing extra. It was a short trip with a longish drive and we wanted space in the car. There is something freeing about grabbing a few things and getting out, away from the usual. It wakes a person up. The unexpected is all around.
We returned to still cold temperatures and more snow. But, the feeling of spaciousness from our lightly packed trip through new territory lingered. I came back to the usual a little changed. Refreshed. Fresh eyes on the snow banks. Fresh perspective on packing things and a longing for lightness. I am sitting with this feeling of needing space. Sitting with the urge to sweep our home of all the unnecessary items that we have packed. The spring clean is calling to me and simplicity is waiting on the other side. Like the road trip with an atlas and an extra pair of jeans it says, “Come on, you don’t need all this shit. The world is out there, waiting for you. Let’s check it out.”