“Most people believe vulnerability is weakness. But really vulnerability is Courage. We must ask ourselves...are we willing to show up and be seen?” Brené Brown
My grandmother Clara was fearless. She marched to the beat of her own drum and she never worried about what others thought of her. To say that Clara was colorful and unique would be an understatement. She boldly dared to be herself every moment of every day and even those who had trouble understanding her had to admit she had a flare all her own. She was an extraordinary woman who loved adventure. She traveled the countryside all by herself for many years, taking odd jobs here and there, staying on just long enough to make enough money for her next big adventure. When in her later years, she finally decided to settle on a single location, she decided on an isolated area of the Mogollon Rim of Arizona, with nothing around her for miles save cactus and coyotes. She was no sissy.
Clara was never afraid to be the authentic version of herself and paid no attention to what others thought of her many eccentricities. As a child, I remember being absolutely fascinated with her, a captivation that would continue into my adult years. Of all the qualities that I admired about my grandmother, what I loved the most about her was her unwavering commitment to be true to who she was. I have to admit I have not been quite so brave throughout the years, but eventually, I was able to find my way back onto my own path of authenticity.
I say back onto because at some point in my adolescence I lost a very important element of my personality—my sense of fun and adventure and my love of silliness and play. It would take years for me to reclaim those elements of myself, but when I did, it made an incredible difference in my life. It was only then that I began to realize that playing and being silly are not just something I do, they are something I am. I was born with a vivid imagination and as a child I found endless opportunities to explore the world through the lens of imaginative thought.
When I remembered this as an adult it changed my daily experience with the world around me. Reclaiming this part of myself shifted me back to a place of wonder and amazement and transported me back to carefree days of lying in the grass and gazing up at the clouds in search of elephants, dragons and other magical creatures. It allowed me to remember myself as the child who saw beauty in all things and understood the power of imagination. That child was the embodiment of the Magical Child archetype and I was thrilled to learn that that child was still with me.
Reconnecting with this part of myself not only meant that I found magic in the mundane but also brought with it richer and more meaningful relationships. Because I was now comfortable being my authentic self I began connecting with people who were not only more like me, but people who “got” me, something I hadn’t experienced for a very long time. As wonderful as this experience was, it wasn’t easy. Should you decide to take this journey I promise it will be a lot of fun but you will need to be brave, because I have to tell you from the outset that this journey is not for sissies.
I believe that an unfortunate fact of living in our society is that many of us learn to hide away the most fun and interesting parts of ourselves. The creative and imaginative aspects associated with our inner Magical Child. Living in a society that values conformity and sees vulnerability as a weakness can make being authentic an uncomfortable challenge, however it is a requirement of all non-sissies everywhere that we dare to embrace our true nature and allow our vulnerabilities to be proudly displayed, for these are our most valuable and interesting qualities. They are the qualities that allow for real and meaningful connections with others. They are the qualities, that once embraced start us on a journey that leads us home to ourselves. I can’t think of a more important journey than that.
Written by Tonya Madia, RYT, RMT, LMBT