I’m a Freakin’ Gladiator! (but if you hug me, I might cry)

Now that I no longer have boobs, I’m getting much closer to people when I hug them. I get right up in there, heart to heart. It’s powerful and real. These are the most intense hugs of my adult life.

I realize now that since I was 10 years old I have been heading in to hugs with my shoulders first. I learned to go in that way to protect myself from the feeling that someone was trying to press up against my breasts. Over the years it became habit.

But now I can go straight in. Like it or not, I am leading with my heart. It is a very new feeling for me, raw and emotional. Every hug I initiate or accept is an opportunity for a truly deep connection. When the incision completely heals up, I’ll have nothing stopping me!

…Physically. But my mind’s old habits may try to bring my shoulders back into the lead. It will try to protect me, as it always has, from being vulnerable.

Vulner is the Latin word for wound. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we risk being wounded.

Too many of us learn that we are wound-able at a very young age. So we spend the rest of our lives trying to protect ourselves, in so many subtle, habitual ways.

We go in to situations shoulders first, ready to defend and deflect. We go in clenched and braced and ready to keep ourselves from being wounded again.

We cover up the old wounds with bravado and intellect, with humor and apathy. We try to mask the fear and guilt and shame with all sorts of defenses, instead of releasing them all out into the world.

If we put them out there, if we start releasing them into the world, all of those things can slowly be gone. At first, when we tell our stories, we open up the old wounds. But each time we tell them the wound gets less raw, the words come more and more easily. Eventually, they are simply sentences that we speak.

The more exposed we become, the more we allow ourselves to be completely vulnerable, the less wound-able we are. Impervious to the judgment of others, until we are no longer wound-able at all.

So I continue to put myself out there, into the world, onto the battlefield! I stand in the midst of it with less and less armor each day. Breathing slowly and deeply as the battle wages on all around me.

Come at me, world! Judge me. Good or bad. I cannot be harmed by your opinions or your intentions.

I will stand tall and throw my shoulders back. I will continue to put more of myself out there, completely open to whatever comes my way. Breath by breath, stripping away the armor. Releasing fear, shame, guilt, anxiety. Releasing bravery, confidence, desire, ego.

Getting down to the center of it. To the humanity of it all. To the place where we can connect with each other, heart to heart.


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