You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
– Mary Oliver
I’ve never been a fan of strategic emotional rationing- withholding access to your person, your feelings or your love and friendship just so the power in the relationship is yours. If you’re a naturally reserved person it’s okay, but if you’re only playing hard to get to pique someone’s interest or manipulate a situation that’s not going your way, you’re an emotional tease and nothing is more cowardly or deceitful. Being vulnerable is not easy and it’s not for everyone. But that’s an evolved level of vulnerability; baring your inner life to strangers, being willing to field hate and judgement. You don’t have to invest in that sort of vulnerability. You can start by being honest with yourself and allowing yourself to feel. The emotional labour involved is rewarding- acknowledging your discomfort and your fears is the first step to self awareness, and self awareness opens you up to the possibility that there are perhaps things around you you’ve been misjudging, or not seeing for what they were. I find that practicing quiet vulnerability helps you peel layers of old, mouldy stuck wrapper from both your inner life and your outer one so something magical and beautiful and unexpected is revealed. I find the exercise so calming I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen.