The Price of Vulnerability

“There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” ~ M. Scott Peck

If people think that sharing your life and being vulnerable with others is like eating enchiladas, I will encourage you to make of vulnerability your lifestyle, then you will realize that when someone decides to be open, real and not double faced with everybody else, we open the door for others to question, and wonder about our lives. I decided to do that more than six years ago through my online blog, ( and I know I have paid a high price. Subsequently I will always share my strengths and weaknesses, my ups and downs, my moments of hope and despair; This is the commitment I gave to myself and to all the people that knows me after living a double and hidden life for almost 25 years.

I do not have to show the community that I am a superhero and that I have everything in control, because I am not a politician, I am not minister, and I know I suffer of V.M.H.B (Very Messy Human Being). So as a community organizer I represent my people, so showing who I am to them connects me with their own humanity. No I am not strong all the time, neither down all the time. If we could recognize that there would be fewer expectations from others, and more acceptances. Then is not me and them, but it becomes “WE”. If we want community, we need to be able to be open to one another and share everything that makes us beautiful as a human being, and in this beautifulness there has to be ugliness, darkness, and lightness, so we can be complete. But this is a personal quest, I cannot force that into others; community is not forced, community is lived.

When I decided to live a life of openness and vulnerability, I did it to be able to connect with my fellow humans in their suffering and happiness, and realized that I was not walking this journey by myself. I decided to translate the language of my heart into visible words and make of my ups and downs, sources to find a common teaching, and may be, out of those experiences learn from one another.  Unfortunately I can easily be criticized, and even being called immature because I share the rawness of my life. But that is exactly what living in vulnerability is, like my friend Jorge Luis put it, “above of all is about trust, and without trust there is not a possibility for union. Without open doors, where would we be? “

Picture by Lazarus Kauffman

We live in a world of appearances, hidden masks, and fake relationships. Instead of showing who we are (because we consider that a sign of immaturity and weakness) we create another person who will be the one that interacts with others, as Brennan Manning said it in his book Posers, Fakers and wannabes: POSERS = FAKERS = WANNABES : a person who habitually pretends to be something he is not. n: one who fakes something. n: one who imitates the behavior, customs, or dress of an admired person or group. Don’t be like them. Free to be who you really are. No more games, no acts, no masks. Just yourselves, as you really are.”

The term “coming out of the closet” has been used for the LGBTQ community as an easy way to describe the transition from living a hidden life to a life of openness.  But many people stay living inside of the house, because opening the doors to the outside world may bring rejection, pain, a life full of frustrations and disappointments. They have even add terms to this experience and said that even before of coming out of the closet you need to come out to yourself. To this I will even go a little further and say that in order to fully be yourself, you not only need to come out to yourself, and come out of the closet, but you need to go through the living room and open the door to the outside and come out of the house and be able to be yourself, the real you among everybody, making of openness and vulnerability a lifestyle.

In order to do this, we need to bring a very important element to our lives; this element will give us grace to our so hurt and beaten heart.  It is an element that will battle against the so diminish negative components of our existence like harshness, hatred, indifference, and meanness. This element is compassion, and Henry Nouwen said it very well: “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
But even if we decided to practice vulnerability in our daily life, there will always be those who will sit on the common table.  This is a place where we can come and sit down, to share bread, wine, friendship, love, care, understanding, a crying shoulder, or a listening heart. It is a table where intense moments of vulnerability, realness and openness are shared. This table cannot be done in the rest of the community, in twitter, or facebook. This is a place where only few will have total access to the deepest moments of your life.

The fact that I have decided to live a vulnerable life does not mean I will share everything to everybody, there will always be a space to share with my closest friends, and even after that, there is still a place reserved only for myself. In that place of solitude is where I can truly know who I am, and that cannot be shared at all. Only in the quietness of these moments with myself is when silence speaks to me. This is when the real and unique Miguel will come out of his own fears, insecurities and weaknesses. This is a place reserved only for me.

“Today here and now, to stop being implacable judges and be instead what we truly are, pure witnesses. Because we once were witnesses but we forgot. That is, to my own view, the greatest accomplishment in life. In that place (as witness) we see each other, we are not separated, in there, WE are. Love lies in the very essence of our own, in the witness embracing it all, not judging. Being brave enough to be vulnerable, to let go of masks and lies is to be ourselves just the way we are, that is to be strong.

 –Manu Carpizo



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