“Walk in as vulnerable as you need to be.” This is an extrodinary piece of advice I heard a student say on her last day of class to all of us freshman’s 4 weeks ago. And I have reminded myself of it many times along my journey. I’ve encouraged my student and life vulnerability to evolve in order to enable myself to keep growing. It’s uncomfortable at times of course, but it’s imperative to ‘ save my life school’ success. Analogy time 😉 I use to be like a nervous student, standing on stage, ready to speak, but only while imagining everyone in the audience naked, and myself bundled in a hot restrictive snowsuit to hide from what I though would be unbearable negative judgement. But as this journey has progressed I’ve been losing (or winning…depends on how you look at it I guess) at stage-fright strip poker, and every day I have been the one getting naked….vulnerability equaled freedom! See ya later snowsuit!

I, as a ‘save my life school’ senior (la dee da) 😉 gave the vulnerability speech to a new student today, and it reminded me how far I’ve come. She was frustrated with not having all of the tools already and couldn’t comprehend how she would ever be able to change. Rewind 4 weeks ago to my second day post, “Patience Natalie…PATIENCE!” and what do I find?…Me feeling frustrated with not having all the tools and unable to comprehend how I would ever be able to change. Coincidence? I think not.

“Trust me”, I said to the girl, “just make sure you keep coming to class! I remember feeling exactly the same way during my first week. But I had to allow myself to be a bit vulnerable and trust that I would learn what I needed to learn. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it.” She agreed. I was so happy she had found the first drop of vulnerability she would need to succeed in all this. I didn’t tell her that eventually she would need an ocean of it to move forward through each week. But why try to drown her on day 2?

I’ve had a few people tell me that they love my blog, but they couldn’t do the same. They would have a hard time letting people (including strangers) know about their mental health. And touché! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy for me as well. But layer by layer I found that the more I ‘exposed’, the less weighed down I felt. I sorta feel like a kid holding 100 balloons that cause me to walk so lightly I’m almost off the ground with every step. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself when you stop hiding from you. Some days the balloons pop because of my own negative thinking or someone else’s negative influence. But I rest assured that when I least expect it, I walk past a person who hands me 50 more balloons. 🙂