155 Pounds of Vulnerable

I’m pretty certain that it’s going to sound like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth. The last two weeks I’m all “show up, be a teacher, leave your nonsense at the door.” And this week I’m all…

But we can be vulnerable too.

I do believe that we can – and should – be both mindful in how we as teachers present ourselves and our  “junk” and also be open and honest in how we are dealing with that “junk.” I think it’s the presentation of these two pieces that make us my all time favorite “A" word: authentic.

So these past few weeks, I’ve been giving vulnerable the good, ol’ college try and discovered that, in order to be a good teacher, I think you have to be honest about the hard times. I can’t tell students that listening to an injury is more important than cranking into a pose without sharing my journey with injury. I can’t tell them that patience and practice pay off without being an example of it myself.

In response, this week I shared videos of me falling over and getting back up, demoed on both sides during class (eep), posted how much I weigh (no really) and, during one real big bummer of a day, that I gave up. And, very selfishly, the response was magnificent (my goodness, do I have a supportive tribe). But the “feel good” part of sharing wasn’t why I did it. Rather, I wanted to see who would connect with my message. And, low and behold, my students and my fellow teachers and my friends were right there with me, sharing in the conversation.

I’ve just gotten on board with podcasts (I know, I’m years behind) and listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” featuring Brené Brown, the literal expert in vulnerability. And while I encourage everyone to be honest, Brené had an excellent point. The time for you to share your story is when you no longer place value in people’s opinion of it.

For example, I do not care if someone takes issue with my stretch marks or my weight. I have done the personal work needed to be able to talk about my weight fluctuating between 130-185 lbs in three years. I have come to love this body and understand the immense importance in honoring all 155 lbs of it. And no one can take that away.

Part of being vulnerable is admitting that there are parts of my story that I haven’t resolved. That I’m not ready to talk about. At least not with everyone right now. But I have learned that vulnerability has a place. It’s a marker that something inside of you needs a little bit more attention, and, just as I would tell my students, give yourself – and it – the space to heal.