A Lesson in Vulnerability

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Hello, World.

I recently started watching the new Queer Eye, and I love it. It’s so so good and I highly recommend it if you haven’t already watched. Something the Fab 5 always say is that vulnerability, while often associated with weakness, is actually a sign of immense strength. In one episode, they were talking about how when we try to guard ourselves against other people, we end up closing ourselves in. Building walls against the world mean we end up alone behind the wall, unable to form meaningful connections and losing out on potentially great friendships and relationships.

Some people are bad at being vulnerable. I’m one of them. I often err on the side of not being vulnerable, not opening myself up to be hurt, and I only trust people in so far as they haven’t given me a definitive reason to not trust them. Some people would say this is a problem. Some would say it’s smart to protect oneself. I recently watched Call Me By Your Name, and there’s a beautiful interaction at the end where the Professor says:

In your place, if there is pain, nurse it. And if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out. Don’t be brutal with it. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything ― what a waste!

What I love about this speech is that he’s encouraging vulnerability. He’s encouraging his son to rest in pain and frustration rather than attempting to squash such feelings. The sentiment of ripping things out of ourselves to be cured of things faster is an interesting one. People who have been hurt often carry that hurt with them, even when it’s dormant and no longer felt. The memories of pain and allowing someone enough power to hurt us informs our decisions in the future as to whether we’re willing to give someone new that power again. I once told someone that I didn’t feel people intentionally hurt other people (unless they’re a sociopath). Most people don’t go into things with someone with the intention of hurting them in some way. Sometimes we figure out what we want too late. Sometimes we figure out what we don’t want too late. Sometimes people change and people no longer fit. Sometimes the universe intervenes and too many factors add up to destroy whatever you have. Sometimes people’s pasts are too present and create a barrier that is impenetrable to a new person.

But here is the kicker: we build up walls because we want to avoid pain. We don’t show vulnerability because it’s often a sign of some sort of weakness, as the Fab 5 in Queer Eye articulate at least once an episode. I think in many ways we believe that refusing to show vulnerability is protecting ourselves. But in reality, refusing to be vulnerable is two-way protection. We protect ourselves from being hurt, but we also protect the other person involved from being hurt by us. If we’re not vulnerable, we aren’t showing our cards, the other person doesn’t know where we stand, and then they end up pulling whatever cards they’re holding close to their chest, unable to know if they’re worth showing us. It’s a vicious cycle, really. And then, in small moments of openness, we see their cards or they speak their mind and we’re left even more uncertain or confused than if everyone had just played their hand at the beginning of the game.

I think being vulnerable and being transparent are not equivalent actions. While being vulnerable may feel like you’re being transparent, I think transparency is a version of being honest about where you are and what you’re feeling, and vulnerability is allowing people enough of yourself for them to potentially hurt you, but trusting them not to. When you look at the definition of the two things, transparency is defined as “having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived,” whereas vulnerability is defined as “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm,” and synonyms offered are “weak, helpless, and impotent.” So, maybe we should start talking less about vulnerability and more about transparency. Regardless of the word we use, however, I think the world could use more honesty and I think most things would be easier if people were honest about how they felt, allowed people in, and didn’t dismiss emotions. We should take Professor Pearlman’s speech in Call Me By Your Name and allow ourselves to sit in our emotions, and rather than tucking them neatly in the recesses of our soul, we should allow others to see us as we are: feeling and complex beings.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Creating Your Place In the World: Thoughts on Finding Your Tribe and Building Your Empire

Creating Your Place In the World: Thoughts on Finding Your Tribe and Building Your Empire

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Hello, World.

I recently participated in Hilary Rushford’s How to Make the Right Dreams Happen in 2018, which was a workshop she put together designed to empower people to work hard and reach intentional goals in 2018. I also came across a post on Carly the Prepster where she talked about the beginning of her blog and the somewhat wonky road she took to become who she is today. After participating in the workshop and reading the post, I was thinking a lot about the uncertainty that is all too familiar in the life of a student. Being a student is difficult because a lot of life seems temporary and unclear. For example, I chose to go to law school in Virginia. This was a choice that I made. Yet, after one and a half years in Virginia, I know I don’t want to build a life here long-term. I would say I don’t have anything against the state, but I miss the west coast and I’ve realized I prefer the northeast (hello, New York!). Still, I know that this chapter of my life is so important.

But… uncertainty remains. It’s hard to know what’s going to last and what’s relevant right now but may be less relevant in a month, six months, a year, five years. I read a book recently that said something along the lines of, “you tell yourself it’s temporary. But then you get a job, and you meet people, and you love where you are, and you become a regular at the coffee shop down the street and know the names of the cashier at the grocery, and suddenly your life is here. It’s not there.” As a student, life is often up in the air. So, how do we create a firm place for ourselves in a pliable world? Well, we create it.

You may then ask: how do we create our place? I believe that finding your place happens when you feel secure, confident, and comfortable in your life. So, this involves the people you surround yourself with, the places you live, and the way you approach the day. When I got to law school, I felt really lost. I’ve discussed this at length previously, but essentially I was not one of the people who immediately fell into a rhythm and felt like I fit perfectly in the environment. So, I took steps to figure out why. I realized part of the issue was I wasn’t finding my tribe (this is ironic, since my school’s mascot is, literally, the tribe). I started being strategic and selective about who I surrounded myself with, which meant finding people who built others up, who supported me, who made me laugh, and who I felt a connection to. It took time but I finally felt fulfilled when I hung out with people and not sad or drained.

So, how do we find our tribe? Hilary Rushford’s brand is built on community and the idea of finding your tribe. I love that concept and I think it’s so important that we find people who complete our lives by adding value to it. I’ve had many friends over the year who were fine, but never really added to my life. That’s not to say they weren’t great people, but I think it shows why they ended up being temporary. My closest friends are the ones who I can text or call and it’s easy and we’re there for each other and we support each other and we laugh and feel like something is missing when we haven’t heard from them in a while.

Creating your place can look different for different people, but I think the crux of it all comes in the form of being strategic, selective, and confident. If you know the person you are and who you want to be, and you feel out of place in certain contexts, that implies a lack of fit. That’s not your place, so don’t get discouraged because there’s another one waiting for you. Finding your place in life is similar to finding a good college. You need to feel it in your very being that it’s right for you. Some campuses are pretty and offer good opportunities but don’t feel right for you. If you can’t find your perfect place at the present time you can focus on yourself. Read novels, go to yoga classes, run outside, work on yourself. Work on being happy and confident in yourself. The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to recognize the people, places, and things that complement you.

Truly,

Callie leigh

Saying No to Self-Doubt

Hello, World.

Today I want to share a post about self-doubt. But rather than lament that 90%, probably more, of the population experiences self-doubt regularly, I think it’s important to figure out ways to close the door on self-doubt. Figure out how to say, “no thank you!” or “ain’t nobody got time for that,” to self doubt! We all experience moments where we question our ability, and I think a lot of it has to do with feeling uncertain about the future. It’s not necessarily that we can’t do something, we just wonder if we’re doing the right thing.

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I have four main ways I combat self-doubt that I usually turn to when I’m starting to question myself, and even in the worst moments, at least one of my methods calms me.

  1. Meditate. Meditation is underrated. I think even if this doesn’t immediately wipe away uncertainty, it at least calms the mind, and you can use meditation to focus on the good things in your life, what your strengths are, and even meditate on why you’re feeling insecure.
  2. Call in the Big Guns (support system, whoever is on the list.) I usually go Mom-Dad-Sister, depending on why I need to call. Sometimes I go Dad first, if it’s a school related stress, and Mom first if it’s a social thing. If I really need to break down, Mom is always first. If none of them are available or I’m still feeling meh, I text my two college friends, who I have a group chat with. They’re always quick to give a pep talk and ground me.
  3. Take a Walk. This could also be a trip to the gym, but I know some days when I’m feeling extra down and I don’t have time to hit the gym, a walk downtown or across campus will calm me down. Fresh air is good for the soul, especially when you aren’t sure you’re in the right place doing the right thing. In those moments, get some fresh air, calm yourself, and remember why you started.
  4. Write it out. Sometimes I will journal when I need to just let out whatever is holding me back. I use a pen, and literally write away the self-doubt. The self-doubt goes onto a piece of paper, and then into the trash (recycling bin). Other days I will write “you are good enough,” or “build your empire,” on a little post it and put it in front of me on my desk or in my planner. That way, even when I’m questioning myself, I’m also encouraging myself!

While each of these steps may seem like they’re not actually that helpful, I can assure you, they are more helpful than you would think. Sometimes calling on someone is best, other times spending a little time on your mental health is best. Other times, getting outside and gaining perspective is needed. And other times, you just have to make self-doubt a tangible item that can be discarded! Whatever you need, each of these offers something a bit different in combating self-doubt!

What’s your favorite way to get rid of self-doubt?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Fitness Goals 2017

Hello, World.

Every year I say I’m going to get fit. I’m going to work out regularly, and eat well, and do whatever the new trend is (green smoothie, anyone?). And I don’t. However, law school stress has pushed me into the realm of liking to work out. I look forward to that hour of getting active, and not worrying about anything but what song is playing on my playlist. So, I wanted to share my fitness goals, now that they’ve kind of already started because I don’t like to share something I’m unlikely to follow through on.

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Hit the Gym 3 times a week.

Trying to find a groove was tricky, but I tired to make it to the gym a few times a week. However, now that I’m more familiar with my schedule this semester, I’m going to do the MWF routine. It seems to be the best option, and I feel like it’ll keep me healthy and positive during the week!

DRINK MORE WATER. 

I’m really kind of terrible about drinking enough water. I’d much rather have some tea or a chai latte. But now that I’m working out, I know I need to be a lot more conscious of drinking enough water, and making sure my body is getting the nourishment it needs.

Say no to sugar (except once a week).

I have a huge sweet tooth. I love sugar, and I crave it as soon as my stress level rises. So, rather than reach for a chocolate bar, I’m training myself to drink a glass of water or eat something with natural sugar (fruit). Cutting sugar is difficult, but over the last few years, I’ve upped my sugar intake, and noticed a huge change in my energy and my body.

Don’t get discouraged when I don’t see immediate results.

I’m putting myself first this year. I’ve always struggle with body-image issues, and I think that working out because I want to is most important. Not because I want to lose weight or something external. I want to feel good and confident. If I lose weight, it’ll be a bonus, but right now I just want to encourage myself to take control of the insecurities I have. I want to work out because it makes me feel good. I usually get annoyed I’m not losing five pounds every gym visit. Now, I just look forward to going to the gym, not what my thighs will look like after.

What are your fitness goals for 2017?

Truly,

Callie leigh