I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.Brene Brown
I had to think quite hard about this quotation. Much as I wouldn’t like to admit it, I think in some ways I have been similar to Brene Brown. Looking back at my life, I would have to say that I probably did protect myself from vulnerability. This wasn’t a conscious thing but I did work hard to make things definite and certain. I had quite black and white thinking. This would still be my preferred default, although Dominance and submission has pushed me in another direction. I have had to make myself vulnerable and allow myself to give up some of the control that kept me protected.
Not that I feel as if I am at risk, of course. As a Dominant and protector HL does a good job of keeping me safe and allowing me to grow. And it is this growth that allows me to see how much I held back before. I had all of the things listed above and was happy with that, but I didn’t experience them to the same level. I feel that currently my ability to expose myself and show my vulnerability allows me to experience things on a different level. I suppose it allows me to take more risks.
I am definitely stronger now in terms of what I can endure. Partly, we endure it together and that makes it so much less of a burden. What happens, happens to us, and not just to me or to HL. That has made a significant difference. I am also more resilient and more resourceful. I can take those chances, put myself out there, in a way which I might not have done previously. I don’t have to worry about an escape plan, although that is a hard habit to break, because I trust that HL has my back.
When I lean into my submission, and into my vulnerability, things tend to work better and more smoothly. At points where I feel it less keenly and drift into my own world a little more, the habit of black and white thinking returns and I am less flexible and less open to new things. I close the door and baton down the hatches, and try to keep myself safe in the unknown. I am less able to experience things as fully as I do at other times, because my focus is much more on doing and much less on feeling.
I have learnt over the years about the value of vulnerability in building the sort of connections I want and crave, whether those are connections with things and experiences, or with people and relationships. Submission has certainly taught me about this. Without it, our relationship would not be what it is, and I would not have the level of intimacy and intensity that I have always desired. It has also allowed me to take this and apply it to situations outside our dynamic so it has been positive on all counts.
It is still difficult to allow myself to be vulnerable. It is part of a conscious letting go really, a choosing of a different path and a different response. It is very difficult to re-route those hardwired reactions, particularly when they are there to keep us safe. But moving beyond the black and the white has allowed me to experience so much more than I would have done without it. I am less stuck. I push back as a natural defence, but Dominance and submission allows me to be pushed past it and into new realms of colour.
To read more of my submissive reflection, please head to my Submissive Journal.