Scarcity and Vulnerability ( 1# Cancerversary!)
|By Angie L. Photography|
I am coming up on my one year "cancerversary"this month. There are certain events that take place in your life that separate it into "before this event" and "after this event". Once you get married there's your life before marriage and then there's your life after. The same with being a parent, life before having kids and life after. Well, last summer was one such marker for me. There was life before having surgery, and life after. I could talk about so many things. The struggle and frustration of trying to pay for so many medical bills, ongoing lab work, and prescriptions (I've often thought I could have taken a vacation, bought a new car, or gone back to school). Or I could talk about vitamins, and super foods, and being gluten free, and eating healthier. Or I could talk about fatigue, weight gain, and headaches. As I have before. But instead I want to talk about scarcity and vulnerability.
Scarcity is a struggle, and a mentality many of us are not aware of facing. And vulnerability has greater value than our culture will ever acknowledge. But first , here's the backstory.
A few months ago I attended a creative conference that was one of the best days of my life. During one of many amazing sessions one of the speakers mentioned something called the "scarcity mentality". She described this as having thoughts of not enough first thing in the morning before you're feet even hit the floor. And your last thoughts before sleeping being everything you didn't do that today. Upon hearing this I was like " Oh my gosh! She's describing my life this past year".
I would have used the word tired, or overwhelmed, etc. As soon as my eyes opened in the morning I would feel like not enough for all that the day demanded from me. I could already feel that I didn't have enough sleep, wouldn't have enough time to get everything done, and already had the feeling of not being or having enough. As I lay awake at night I felt like a failure. I could have done something better at work, should have done more with my son, how awful of a person I was for feeling so tired and not accomplishing more. We have a culture of "never enough". Our culture values productivity and hustling above sanity, being healthy, whole, having courage and being vulnerable.
I had the same values of hustling, being productive and pushing myself, much to my detriment.
But some things are to be valued more. Like vulnerability.
I wrote once before about how I don't believe you can have it all, do it all, or be it all.
I believe you can do a few things very well, and have what is most important to you.
But to have a few important things and to be a few important things you have to embrace vulnerability and challenge the scarcity mentality. To quote the expert on the subject "Vulnerability is the catalyst for courage, compassion, and connection. The core the heart and the center of meaningful experiences."- Brene Brown, Daring Greatly. Vulnerability doesn't mean to overshare with perfect strangers. But vulnerability is taking a risk, facing uncertainty, and emotional exposure. As Brene Brown would say " Vulnerability is life's great dare. It is where fear meets courage. " Vulnerability can take on many different shapes and forms depending on who you are and what your values are. Maybe it's sharing your ideas, starting new friendships, or taking a chance when you might fail.
For me embracing vulnerability has looked like realizing I have limitations. And not being afraid to acknowledge or share those limitations with others when there's a conflict.( Like with work, family or friends) It has looked like investing in my creative pursuits and putting myself out there in environments where I don't feel I belong or don't know anyone. It has been learning to accept myself with these new limitations and not tear myself down. Scars fade but often the affects of something that have happened to us run much deeper than what you can see on the outside. It has been intentionally creating space for joy and peace. Challenging scarcity has also meant challenging comparison. It's so easy to compare myself to another twenty something doing so much more than myself, on a such a bigger scale than I feel I ever could. I see my peers traveling the world, getting degrees, etc. Meanwhile I've struggled to work, and be a Mom with heath challenges and try to not lose myself in the process. While the results of our choices look different, the choice was the same.
Choosing Courage. It takes courage to travel, to learn, to keep going forward when you've taken a blow.
It has been a really hard year. This time last year I lost a home, lost a job, lost a thyroid. I couldn't hold my son or swallow without choking for several weeks. It took several months for my voice to come back. I got another Job, was in between homes, changed prescriptions 6 times, lived in three cities. A year later God has blessed me with another home, a less overwhelmed soul, and while still feeling shattered and shaken I think the peaces are coming back together. I learned how to thrive in the midst of literal pain and in the midst of heart break. I learned God can bring you through when whatever the worst thing you imagine happens. I'm still learning to not measure or value myself by productivity. I am learning to embrace vulnerability, and to challenge Scarcity. When you own the story, you get to write the ending.Or from where I stand, let God continue writing the story.
I am taking a risk on Love and creativity. I am choosing forgiveness and choosing to move forward.
To Love and To create are worth doing, even if I fail. What's worth doing even if you fail?
Because of God, because of love, because of prayer I see 7.7.15 as the date that I learned to start thriving. I am so grateful to God, family, friends, and the perfect strangers who encouraged and gave!
Have Courage, be vulnerable, and go thrive!