Twelve years ago today, I was still a new bride. Well, not a new bride, but new-to-him. I was 3 months into my second marriage. My son was in kindergarten, we were still really new to town, and I’d just started working part-time at Dean College.
I was thinking about that and a lot more this morning as I got dressed. There was so much that went on that day, but one my strongest memories was laying in bed that night. We had the windows open and the crickets were very loud. I felt so vulnerable. Exposed. Like anything could happen.
Safety is a luxury I take for granted. Violence inside my home or violence outside of my home, either through war or my own neighbors, is not an issue I struggle with. Yet, it is there. Attacks happen to “other people” and not in “neighborhoods like this”. These are the things I tell myself to get out of bed each day. It keeps me sane and moving forward.
I’ve always been a “sensitive person”. I am over involved with the feelings of others: what she thinks, what he needs, or what they are going through. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut, especially when my Justice Meter gets engaged. I fight for what’s right and fair. My husband has a phrase for it. Every time he knows I’m about to get into something, he says:
“I smell a letter!”
So I write letters? So what?! Someone needs to know what’s going on! Besides, I write an equal amount of positive letters. It is good to remember to practice vulnerability. I believe it is a learned skilled. Safety drills are also good to practice and are a needed counter-skill.
Being sensitive or engaged or involved is to be vulnerable. And being vulnerable requires letting go of being safe.
Those days after the attacks, we were all so kind to each other, so aware of one another. We saw each other; really saw each other and took the time to acknowledge each other’s existence. Those were golden days.
In many ways, I’m a long way from the person I was 12 years ago today. But in certain situations, I still feel that deep sense of vulnerability. I guess it would be naïve to think that level of awareness indefinitely. But for a heart-on-her-sleeve kind of girl like me, I enjoyed the company while it lasted.