… from the bungalow

Getting Vulnerable


I think I’m going to take a break from the “promises” series. I enjoy writing them, and they’re great for transparency and personal accountability, but they’re being read by about, oh, three people. As much as I’d like to keep writing them, it’s apparent most people aren’t interested. It’s tough putting so much effort into something only to realize nobody really cares. But this isn’t about getting pity or sympathy; it’s about vulnerability.

A funny thing happens when you make a bunch of one-sided promises to people or spell out some of your most personal thoughts and ideas in a public forum: you feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is a good thing, really, but it can be extremely uncomfortable.

Belly-RubVulnerability opens you up to new experiences. The problem with being open is it can feel scary. Dangerous, even. That fear of danger or risk the ego’s way of protecting itself from harm. Think of it like this: A dog who loves and feels safe with its owner will roll over and expose its underside for some delicious belly rubs. The second there’s any kind of unfamiliar distraction, it’s on its feet again. Say a bee comes along and stings the dog on the belly while it’s turned over. Bam! Off and running. No more soft belly, no more exposure to risk, and you can bet that dog will think twice the next time it exposes its tummy for lovin’.

So if you’re making a public promise to be more and do better or if you have grand plans that seem to fall flat, be prepared to get stung from time to time. It’s nobody’s fault, really. It’s just the nature of exposing your belly.


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Author: Chris

Introspection to a fault. College administrator, parent, soapmaker.

17 thoughts on “Getting Vulnerable

  1. I like the way this was written. It’s true, sometimes when we expose our bellies, we do get stung. Sometimes I am left wondering why I even tried in the first place…. But I do always remember too that sometimes I just need to hear myself talk…. Or sometimes I just need to trip myself up just so I can rise again. I don’t know if this makes sense to you… I just woke up… But your post really spoke to me. At any rate, always remember your efforts are never ever in vain.

    Have a great day,

  2. I love the idea of the promises. My issue is that I must be dumb because I could never get to the pages the had the 4 other promises. I have a post-it stuck to my computer screen to go back and read them when I have more time to putz with my computer.

    • Ha! You’re not dumb. Could be a browser issue. I’ve been thinking about removing the page breaks from those posts to make them easier to read. I was just worried they were too long without the breaks. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Beautiful post, my vulnerable friend,please don’t stop being that which makes you and i and all the other vulnerable people exist. you must be a wonderful father. 🙂

  4. Chris, it’s all okay! We write for various reasons, and as the blogger said above, sometimes it’s for our own healing, and the amount of viewers and readers isn’t the point. I still don’t have tons or readers, commenters, followers, etc, but I write anyway. I write to heal, I write to expose, I write to help myself and maybe someone else, I write because I like to and because it’s cathartic. 🙂 Sometimes the posts I think should get the most attention have only one or two comments…I let it go and just keep doing what I’m doing. One thing is for sure: different topics speak to different people, and you never know who you are going to impact. You are awesome! XOXO-SWM

  5. Keep on keeping on. Only three have read it so far. But once the blog takes off, you’ll get more readers browsing the backlist. Plus, you have people who subscribe by email, right? If that’s the case, I don’t know that you can really say how many people are reading your posts, just how many visitors your site has had. Just my thoughts, but I have to remind myself not to get disheartened when i see I’m the only visitor my blog has had in a week. I don’t think traffic, or lack thereof, detracts from the value of your posts. My2cents.

    • Thanks, Jody. I had really set out to write this post more in the direction of advising others to make pacts over promises. Promises go one way, but pacts are like covenants. It’s more about the fact that you’re saying you’re going to behave differently with someone who has no intention of reciprocating. That can be tough. Then when the posts weren’t getting any attention, it just added insult to injury as it were.

  6. I’ve read your postings and found them interesting and good food for thought for those raising children. Don’t give up!

  7. Wow! I understood these promises as “one-sided” promises to your special needs son. I wouldn’t say that you are vulnerable to society because it is not about them. It is about you. You and your kid who needs your promises. Keep the promises coming; I find them motivating for other parents involved in “the system.” Thanks!

  8. Being open and vulnerable in such a WIDE OPEN SPACE is insanely difficult sometimes. It puts you on display and it can be hard to not take things personally, get upset or wonder what you’re doing. That’s my personal feelings when I try to open up and expose my soft belly.

  9. I’m about to start working on a post that will make me feel extremely vulnerable. We’ll see how brave I really am.

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