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  • Writer's pictureAngee Stevens

This is 42. (Day 01)

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

I’ve been told I’m not the best at being emotionally vulnerable. In an attempt to rewrite my story and find much needed balance within the tapestry of my life, I am going to try something new.


Precisely why I don’t vulnerably express my own emotions is unclear to me. Perhaps it’s that I don’t want to burden others. Perhaps it’s that I don’t want to appear weak and weaponize someone with potentially harmful knowledge of me. Perhaps I don’t always know what’s going on in the moment until it has passed and I’ve had the time to self reflect.


Undoubtedly, whatever reason lies beneath is a protective factor I chose long ago. But from what am I protecting myself? I seem to have no problem letting in those closest to me. I have no problem sounding off the emotional vulnerability alarm to a select few in a desperate attempt for guidance and support. Yet, I remain caged within myself.


I’m also not a big believer in the idea of “we don’t share our private business.” I’m much more of an over-sharer who talks too much yet when in the trenches of vulnerability, confusion, and pain I tend to keep my emotions hidden.


Sometimes even from myself.


It’s funny because I have learned to sell people on my own emotional vulnerability by framing my childhood trauma in therapeutic ways for the benefit of others. Please don’t misunderstand me or see me as disingenuous. Rather, I am pointing out the vast distance from expressing the very raw emotion with tears in my eyes to expressing processed emotion with growth attached.


You could argue this is directly correlated to my childhood experiences between the ages of 0-5. Depending on my caregiver at the time, I could have experienced either neglect or unpredictable and unreliable responses to my emotional needs. On a subconscious level, I learned the world wasn’t a safe place to ask for what you need or to express big feelings. Basically the world wasn’t safe for me to be… me.


Anybody who truly knows me, or has experienced me for any length of time, can attest I am honest and passionate, sometimes to a fault. I’ve often compared myself to Clifford, the big red dog, as I feel the space I take up causes discomfort in others while I sheepishly try to hide in the corner.


The truth is, I don’t like to be in the spotlight. Yet for some odd reason I am deeply drawn to it. Like a moth to a flame, I am but a performer in the movie of my life, subject to the criticisms, tantrums, and whims of others.


Well today, on my 42nd birthday, I am choosing to be the director (or the auteur, as my film aficionado husband would say) of my life. And my first act is to acknowledge where I’ve been, who I’ve become, and who I desire to be moving forward regardless of the response or approval from others. Today, I choose to be nothing but… me.


Action.


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