I had a nostalgic moment with some friends I met in an online community dedicated to learning about New Age and non-Abrahamic centered religion and spiritual practices. It had given me much opportunity to reflect on how I was back then, and how I am now. To say I am a different person than I was ten years, five years, or even three or four years ago is an understatement. Sincerely, I realize just how much younger and more foolish I was then. My present self looks at these moments, only to shake its head in disapproval at the foibles I exhibited.
I am hopeful I can continue my path of growth and combat my personal demons, especially as I am building a long-term career as both a librarian and a writer.
Years ago, I admittedly had a controversial phase, one I was ashamed of enough that I deleted my social media and started over. I wanted to send my intention of breaking away from that history a time after that unpleasant era of my life. People looking at me back then might have accused me of not-so-positive things – all with good reason. Among these things, I approximated myself to power and was excessively critical of social movements. Through my lack of wisdom, I was slave to power dynamics that now, I hope to disrupt when given opportunity. When I realized I was not the ally or person that was right for all things human, it was one of the most intense, yet greatest awakenings in my life. I began to notice what I was contributing to in the name of ‘being different’ or ‘controversial.’
If anyone who saw me back then cringed, I do not blame them. I can only apologize, make amends when possible, and hope to do better through having a touch more self-awareness – and do better. I am grateful for them having called me out when they did. Inside my own mind, I can honestly say I certainly supported the notion of embracing diversity and equality. I can genuinely say this, and acknowledge I only had wished to help and do the least amount of harm as possible in this world; to be the positive change I wanted to be. Over time, though, I realized just how many of my own personal biases and older mindsets I had to contend with on the way, just to get toward where I am now. I see there was no way the fallacy of my adolescence and twenties could not have been bad for me, knowing what I do today.
It is perhaps one of the many reasons why I have struggled with being ‘okay’ with vulnerability. We live in a society where there are plenty of wolves, looking for any moment of weakness to take over the pack or assert dominance over another. I know I have flaws, acted least optimally in the past, and in retrospect, should have done several things differently in a few learning moments. At the same time, I am perhaps even less of a person for not seeking how to live with being vulnerable.
The paradox of being okay with vulnerability is that one becomes less ‘vulnerable’ over time. Yet, it is always a process, and I must learn how to trust the process. Trusting anything with what I know of life takes more work than not. I am trying, though.
I am looking up. And I am hoping. In the end, I aim to succeed at being a better change I want to be for the world.