Words have power; the power to wound, lift up, make afraid or mend the broken hearted. Words can wrap around a person’s soul without the need for money, food, or other physical items, and they can quite literally, change the course of history. The presence of words can fill a void and the absence of words, when needed, can create a void that creates confusion, uncertainty, even chaos.
In our personal lives, words have the same level of consequence, and in my life they have shaped hours, days and years, as though they were weather events; rarely forecasted to a precise degree, but very often predicted to a general percentage of accuracy.
Enter the holiday movie of the season: ‘Happiest Holiday’, starring Kristen Stewart, Daniel Levy and McKenzie Davis (among others). This movie speaks to me for several reasons, one of which being that I am also a lesbian woman, and consider myself an orphan, as I haven’t had contact with my family or origin for the past eight years. As such, holidays can be difficult! Choosing to invite each other into one another’s lives and families is in and of itself a declaration of love and a show of vulnerability.
The story is perfect until we learn that one of the partners hasn’t been honest with her family, and with her partner. In the end, we learn that many characters in the movie were suffering from the same chronic illness: fear of vulnerability. And the truth is that we’ve all been there, myself included. The only cure for the disease is to rip the band-aid off, tell your truth and let the chips fall where they may. While the fall-out may hurt and the cost may be devastating, the payout may be better than you could imagine and the freedom that comes from living your truth and using your voice isn’t something that can ever have a price-tag attached.
I won’t tell you how the movie ends. I DETEST spoilers, so instead, I’ll just tell you that this is one good reason to sign up for Hulu if you aren’t already there. The beautiful fact of 2020? We live in a time and age where the cost of speaking your truth and living with full vulnerability does not need to be devastating. It doesn’t have to hurt endlessly. That’s what therapists are for. We have within our grasp an endless supply of tools and resources to learn how to communicate with compassion, listen with understanding and see each other with clarity. Vulnerability and communication do not have to be a death sentence., but both need to be a choice and a habit.
My statement of vulnerability for this post is that while I believe wholeheartedly that vulnerability pays off in the end, I also acknowledge the heavy cost that can come when we express our truth without having learned the communication skills to do so well or when we express our truth in environments that do not support those truths, such as abusive families or other such situations. In times like these the payoff is simply this: we are living with integrity and with the peace of knowing that we are doing what’s right no matter the cost. In my own life, the cost has been great – but so has the peace.Nikki Jensen
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- An Invitation Without RemorseWithin these essays I bare my heart, mind and soul, as such, they belong to no one but myself until you recognize some part of my experience to be yours as well. Vulnerability breeds community and community connects humanity. – Nikki Jensen
- Words Flow and Dam in the HeartWhen the rate of communication is imbalanced, both parties need to look within and determine what is driving their action or inaction. This is healthy. This is love. This is mindful intent within a relationship.
- White Lies, Protection or GaslightingThe line is so fine it stinks of Pinot Noir. A rich, dark, delicious Pinot Noir one could get drunk off without paying very close attention to. When looking at the three terms in the title of this essay one can see that there are actually lines all over the place. Who draws the line, who gets to decide what constitutes a white lie (which, let’s admit, we’ve all told), a lie told to protect someone we love, and systematic lies told over a period of time that eventually drive a person mad? Ten years ago when I set out …
- The Choice is Vulnerability or DeathWords, actions and vulnerability are inextricably connected. We can make ourselves vulnerable by our actions and words, and yet, our inaction and lack of words can do the same. Ultimately we must acknowledge the constant cost-benefit analysis at play. Choosing vulnerability will always pay in the long-run. The new Hulu movie, ‘Happiest Holidays’ is an excellent example of these ideas.
- Come Out and Come AroundIn order to see the beauty of this existence we call life, we must find the courage to fully come out of the shadows and live a raw, messy, gorgeous life full of errors and grace.- Nikki Jensen