Today’s guest post is by Jason Binder.
We as humans love to be private. We don’t want the world around us to know what is going on in our lives. We keep our deepest, darkest secrets to ourselves. The problem is, this can eat at us. And eat at us to our very core, in fact.
While we all should have some level of privacy in our lives and for the well-being of our families, we often want to conceal our shortcomings, inadequacies, and mishaps from others. If we have no dark secrets to hide, then we should be less prone to live in the dark.
What if in our lives, in our interactions with other people, and even in our writing, we stepped out from the darkness and stepped into the land of vulnerability? In looking at synonyms for the word vulnerable, “defenselessness” is one word that pops up. This surely is not the context that I am speaking of here, and, truth is, we are more defenseless when we seek to hide in the dark and feel we need to run away from things that we are looking to cover up.
Another synonym for vulnerable is “openness.” What if we were more open—open with others and open with ourselves?
Are we being truthful and brutally honest with ourselves, or are we simply throwing the messy parts and pieces under the proverbial rug?
Death to Disguises
Well, maybe it’s just me. Having been through a long four- year health battle ultimately leading to cancer, and recently the loss of a son, I understand that we have no time to waste in this life. Therefore, I have resolved to live no other way than to be vulnerable. All of us are broken in some regard, but there is beauty in not hiding this reality.
See, all too often we put a mask over our face in hopes that others won’t find out who we really are. We cover up the brokenness in order to put on a façade that we have it all together.
Do you have it all together? Speaking for myself, I certainly do not! And if you didn’t realize it, that question was rhetorical.
But what if we took the mask off and shattered it into a million pieces? What if we came running out of our hiding places like an Olympic sprinter coming off the starting block, to allow our deepest wounds to be exposed? What if we put the disguise in the back of the closet, never to be taken out again?
Now, what if our writing looked like this? Isn’t there appeal when we see someone who holds nothing back and is unafraid to share their hurts with us? This exudes a certain confidence and denies a need for validation from others.
What if we were more fearless with the pen and bolder in our prose? Maybe these are things that you never previously pondered. Have you been going through the motions of your latest writing assignment, simply trying to meet your word-count requirement, or are you putting your heart and soul—your blood, sweat, and tears—on the line? Are you going merely for the completion of a project, or are you going for broke?
What if this was the last opportunity you had to write—Is this how you would want to be remembered? Can you honestly say, “I gave it everything I had and held nothing back?”
Nothing to Hide
I believe that Nancy Anderson can honestly say that she held nothing back. In her recent radio interview on In the Market with Janet Parshall, Nancy spoke of her previous infidelity in her marriage. What struck me was her ability to be vulnerable and open, laying it all on the line. She cited details of how this work-romance began. How they were at a meeting and he bumped her leg inadvertently, and how her absence of an objection equaled an invitation. She told how the relationship further commenced, and persisted.
It would’ve been well enough for her to simply state, “I had an affair, but now my marriage is good.” Instead, she showed extreme bravery and courage to open herself up to listeners she didn’t know and who didn’t know her either.
There was something genuine and sincere about the transparency and vulnerability that was on display. At moments it was almost uncomfortable, and one could think, “Should she really be sharing all of this with the public and strangers she doesn’t even know?”
This is a woman who had no regard for whether people knew of the mistakes she had made, nor did she care if they would judge her transgressions. Her concern was that someone listening might be going through what she went through, and she wanted to help and encourage them.
Isn’t this how our lives should be lived: unafraid, unashamed, and unmasked? As a matter of fact, isn’t this how our writing should look?
As thoughts and words flow from our minds and into a computer screen, are we concerned with helping and encouraging others, despite how it may come across?
All this leads us to the question of whether showing vulnerability will enhance our writing style and the power of our story or will leave us in the same doldrums in which we began.
Yes, life is way too short to not go for the gusto every time our pen hits paper or our fingertips hit the keyboard. Be bold, my friends. Let go of your fears and just let go—and as you let go, allow the juices of vulnerability to flow.
Just like Nancy, you have nothing to hide. Does your audience receive that vulnerability from you? Despite who is reading, allow the disguise to fall to the ground and smile for the photo . . . scars and all. Trust me—your readers will thank you for it, and you won’t regret it.
Vulnerability: a word that we often shy away from, but if you embrace it, you may just find that it could be one of the greatest keys to unlocking your writing potential.
Jason Binder resides in South Florida with his wife and kids. Besides being passionate about his roles of husband and father, Jason also has a great passion for writing. You can connect with him on Facebook or via email.