Why a Little Vulnerability Goes a Long Way

We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.”― C. JoyBell C.


'When was the last time you found yourself vulnerable?' my neighbor asked me as we sat outside of a nice fusion restaurant at Downtown LA. While I like to say that the bustling traffic and stressful environment got in the way from me answering such direct question, it took me quite some time before I could find an honest response. If you know me, you would know that it's rare when I am caught off guard like this because for some strange reason,  I always manage to find the right things to say. This time, however, it was different. This time, I sat there and was at loss for words.

'I don't know. I don't know. Maybe it was during Thanksgiving break when things went sour with the person that I was talking to.' Nope, that wasn't it. 'Maybe it's those moments when I would reminisce about what could have been with the person who is very much happy with his life right now. ' Nope, that wasn't it either. To think of it, it has been a very long time since I've honestly let the feeling of vulnerability in. Am I scared of losing people? Of course. Who wouldn't be? But I'm at the point in my life where I have stopped fighting to sustain a friendship and instead, invest my time with the ones that matter.  Also, these things cannot be pushed nor be pulled. If anything, it's about opening yourself up to the idea that a person can hurt you, but trusting them not to do so. But then what happens when it they do it anyway? Whether it's intentional or not, I guess it all goes back to those who genuinely have your best interest at heart.

Very recently, I had a brief encounter with a person who I clicked with right away. Unfortunately, I have met enough people to know that chemistry can be quite deceiving so my guard was naturally up. After a couple of hours of hanging out, we sat on the couch for a little while when I noticed his placed his arounds arms around my waist. Instead of being the natural responsive person that I am, I suddenly felt nervous and stiff. I couldn't move and I sat there in silence. 'Am I supposed to lean back and rest my head on his shoulders at this point? After all, it has been such a long night. Or should I stop overthinking things?' After a minute or so, I stood up, placed my hands out so he could stand with me. 'Now...I'm safe. Now I no longer have things to worry about.'

Looking back and reflecting on the circumstances, I realized that despite being extremely logical, I am completely oblivious at times. The person could have been with any other amazing people in the room, but he chose to spend his time with me. He was fun, charismatic, handsome, extremely intelligent, but beyond all of those things, we laughed, shared small moments, and had a great time. Instead of just going with the flow, I instantly backed away like I always do.

We ended the night by giving each other what is probably our very first and last hug with him telling me this: 'We're so impressed by you.' At that moment, what I should have done was tell him what great of a time I had and that we should keep in contact. But you know? I've been through these things before. From small talks to casual conversations to potentially having a much more meaningful companionship, everything seems fine until one day, I'd wake up to realize that there's no future and do what Elsa would tell me to do which is to simply 'let it go.' Suddenly, what could have been the worst case scenario has evolved into the ultimate reality and to top it all off, the timing is just plain awful. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I have been drained and angry. Although it is so nice to meet such wonderful and inspiring people, I naturally feel like I should let my guards up in case those people decides to walk away.  The risks, to me, are always high and I hate being in a turmoil of  mixed emotions and of course, vulnerability.

Today, however, I decided how ridiculous that thought process was. Since when should I ever be okay with living in fear? Life is about taking risks, it's about waking up every morning and embracing all the beauty that comes with not knowing. Moreover, it's about opening up your heart to knowledge, to nature, to possibilities, to lust, and if we're lucky...to love. I have roughly seven weeks before graduation aka I don't have any time to waste. I want to live the golden college days so I can look back and reflect on my selfish twenties and say, 'Khanh, you've truly done it all.' No more excuse this time around. I'm going to change.