What is vulnerability to you?
Being available. Accessible. Beyond physical presence emotionally and spiritually available and accessible to others. I often feel that authenticity and vulnerability are also interchangeable.

What vulnerability feels like to you?
Vulnerability feels like fire to me. It’s warming and inviting. I want to stand near it, move closer, lean in, use the light to see better up to the point I get so close it blisters and sears me. Then I jerk back from it.

Go away into the dark to heal, to try to rouse more courage. Then I start moving closer again because the fire is warm and inviting. It’s a cycle for me.

Why are you practicing vulnerability?
Because it feels honest to say to another person, “Here I am the good, the bad, and the ugly. All three and everything in between is okay with me. You are okay, too. I see you. You matter. We’re in this together. It’s going to be okay because we’re way more alike than different you and me.”

I believe vulnerability really could lead to world peace if everyone would practice it and allow others grace as they practiced it. I think the next “Miss Universe” should use this as her answer.

What’s your response to a violation of you being vulnerable?
It’s the fire thing. I shrink back. Ice my wounds. Bitch about it. Find my courage. And make my way back toward the fire.

Was vulnerability encouraged growing up?
No way. The ongoing response to anything I did that could be construed as “bad” was, “But Amy, what will people think?” Like it mattered less how it would actually affect me and more what other people “saw.”

To this day, my openness and vulnerability in my writing are not discussed in my family. Everyone sort of ignores that I write. Like I’m not really out there telling my stories. It’s weird. Safe and unsettling at the same time. Safe because

I don’t have to talk about it. Unsettling because of no feedback when you expose yourself. Is almost worse than negative feedback. Maybe. I’m still deciding on that one. 😉

Who is supportive of vulnerability in your family.
My husband is the most supportive of this kind of authenticity. He is very much “who he is” and allows others space to show up as themselves, too. I love that about him.

Amy is a maverick mentor, counselor, and coach. On a daily basis, she answers life questions for young(ish) women at “dear Amy” on Medium. Go for a visit.