About a month ago I did my first BBC radio interview. Beforehand I got coaching from a radio broadcasting lecturer at the University (he's also a journalist). I asked him what made a great interview and then what made a bad interview. Bad interviews are when you can tell people are hiding something, not really answering the questions or getting defensive. The mark of a good interview is vulnerability. He didn't mean an emotional vomit session, but rather a disclosure of the things that are authentic - strengths and weaknesses. Nakedness really.
I can wear a lot of armor. Sometimes you have to with the roles you are in. But nakedness, a real vulnerability, means I have to take that off, show up and be seen even when the lights are stark and harsh. That vulnerability doesn't equate weakness, that vulnerability is the cornerstone of courage and great strength.
Yet when I am vulnerable, I often get what Dr. Brené Brown (have I mentioned I am a BIG fan of hers) calls a 'vulnerability hangover'.
It's that horrible stupor of wondering if I have disclosed too much, where the spider shame tries to come in a paralyse me with her venom. Great example was a recent post I did about my work in brothels. I lost a 'blog follower' over it, which really sucked since I've just started this whole blogging thing only two months ago and you notice when people follow you (or drop you like yesterday's dirty socks). I got a hangover, lasting only a few minutes, wondering if sharing what I do and a little of what I believe was too much. I HATE THOSE kinds of hangovers.
Last week I did my first 'novel excerpt reading' in a pub. It was one of those super cool artsy environments, mingling with the super cool artsy dressed and posh sounding Brits. So I got up and read a funny story, a story I wrote, which solicited maybe a chuckle or two (those darn understated Brits). Some guy played the cello in the background (which BTW isn't a very comical instrument. Who can do 'funny' with a cello?) And though I got a few comments, I felt vulnerable and exposed. I hear authors do that kind of thing a lot, read their stuff at gigs. AHHH!!! I've done a bit of acting, and can get into a part, but it was a whole different feel to read a true story that you have written (and edited fifty bizzilion times) about your own life.
No one but the hubs knew, but I had a vulnerability hangover bad that night, and then slowly it dissolved throughout the next morning (when I started writing this therapeutic confessional).
But courage takes vulnerability, despite how it can feel afterwards. I want to Dare Greatly in the new adventure of putting my 'stuff' out there.
So raise a glass to courage, and know that in the morning you may feel a little fuzzy, but it was worth it.
A little extra bonus for today. Brené Brown recently on Oprah talking about her newest (highly, highly recommended) book Daring Greatly.
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