4/12 – On Being Vulnerable

Friday morning 6:22 AM. Thank you for all the calls and concern about my ginormous headache. It’s gone but not forgotten. Probably just some sort of bug. I doubt it’s related to the Cancer.

I wrote earlier this week that I had a conversation about being VULNERABLE. That I was VULNERABLE to flu, infection, nausea and other stuff because of the chemo being pumped into my body and how it affects my immune system. The person I was talking to told me “I feel so VULNERABLE…” and I thought to myself what does that really mean.

Being VULNERABLE has a negative connotation. It means (to most people) that I am EXPOSED, I am WEAK, I am not WORTHY (by the way – TED.com has an excellent video on this by Dr. Brene Brown of the University of Houston – I will link below)

I told this person that I don’t look at being VULNERABLE as a weakness. I look at it as a positive. You see, EVERYONE is VULNERABLE. If we aren’t VULNERABLE we have no capability to care, to persevere, to love. We all have weaknesses but through those weaknesses comes the opportunity to fight, to learn and to improve.

VULNERABLE has three definitions according to Merriam Webster

1. Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2. Open to attack or damage
3. Liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses (in a game of bridge)

Here’s the thing: I am VULNERABLE just like everyone else in the world. But I KNOW my vulnerability. I HAVE BEEN physically and emotionally wounded by Cancer. I AM open to attack or damage – flu, headaches, nausea, achy and weak bones, back pain, secondary cancer, etc.

BUT – I KNOW MY OPPONENT – and that is a tremendous advantage. I can fight the KNOWN opponent. I KNOW what I am dealing with and I will adjust, fight and persevere accordingly. Yes – I have increased penalties in my life right now because of Cancer but when I beat it I am entitled to increased bonuses just like the definition says.

Being VULNERABLE – to me – is a good thing because I know what I am up against. How many people are fighting something they don’t know exists? I go back to September or October before my diagnosis and think of how tired I was or the back pain. I think about the fact that it affected my work, my life and I didn’t even know that I had Cancer. I was fighting (although I didn’t know it) an unknown enemy. My VULNERABILITY wasn’t known.

A friend and client said something to me a few weeks ago when I told him I had Cancer that has stuck in my mind. He said “We are all just walking through raindrops.” Does that mean that everyone will get sick or get a Cancer diagnosis? NO! But – what it means is that we all have shit we are dealing with or will eventually have to deal with when the raindrops fall on us. We are all VULNERABLE! It’s how we choose to deal with our VULNERABILITY that defines our fate.

I will take definition three. With increased penalties come increased rewards.


Brene Brown on Vulnerability

I am feeling great today. Feeling #bradstrong.

4 responses to “4/12 – On Being Vulnerable

  1. I am not sure I aggree with your statement of vulnerability being a positive and that it gives you the ability to love and feel, but you are right that every one and indeed everything is vulnerable to something. Even Superman has at least one weakness. However, a wise man is one who recognizes his own limitations.
    Thumbs Up Brad!

  2. Well put. We can’t fully live life without letting ourselves experience both joy and pain thus being vulnerable. It is the human experience. Keep up your amazing strength. Love and prayers!!! Joni & Jeffrey

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