I was sitting at the unemployment office the other day—just, y’know visiting, seeing how things were going. Doing my public service bit. Seriously, I was sitting there, because I was told to report on my job search.
The guy at the front desk assured me that someone would call me soon. So I sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat, waiting to discuss my progress. Finally after two hours, a guy asked me why I was sitting there. “Because you’ve been here forever,” he added. It turns out that the person who was supposed to call me over assumed that someone else was going to do so. Sigh.
Why am I writing this? Because of a TED Talk I just heard, given by researcher–storyteller Brené Brown. Isaac Yuen posted the video on his blog: Ekostories. Brown talked about her job as a researcher, but mainly she talked about vulnerability—what sets apart those who approach life wholeheartedly from those who don’t.
I don’t know about you, but I usually have to be beaten with a stick to be vulnerable. So I was totally with Brown who described her fight against vulnerability.
But yesterday was all about vulnerability. I had to go to the unemployment office twice, because the first time, I’d forgotten the letter I received ordering me to arrive, and the guy at the front desk told me I needed it. I got lost trying to backtrack after leaving the unemployment office. I turned left when I should have turned right. And after returning and finally talking to someone about my job search progress—and being told what I’m doing wrong—I felt a mess. I wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere.
We want the success story, don’t we? The triumphant days where someone gets engaged or gets the job or gets that book contract. (Or has only a two-minute wait, instead of a two-hour wait.) But life sometimes isn’t like that, or at least lacks that definition of triumph. For me triumph was finally making it back home—after getting lost a second time!!!
Maybe there are days when you feel broken or wobbly or sad. If you listened to the TED Talk, you’ll recognize the quote used in the title of this post. That statement resonated with me, because I’ve wondered if having X made me worthy. Brown talked about those who were vulnerable as those who had a sense of worthiness. So what’s X? Whatever I thought made me worthy: another degree; a great job; a great spouse; a twenty-pound weight loss; a great bank account; a six-figure book contract with celebrities embracing my book. So, if I don’t have those, what then?
As I write these words, I can’t help crying. Because this is where I live. This is reality. But you know what? I needed to see that statement—“I am enough”—shown on the TED Talk (and you have to hear it to know what I mean). I needed to know that I don’t have to have X or hide behind a polished veneer, even in this blog. I can have the guts to be real with you, to be who I am, warts and all. Because I am enough.
Image from fishoilblog.com.