Vulnerability Hangovers Need Not Stop Us from Speaking Up
When did you last experience a vulnerability hangover for speaking up about something?
You know, that hot feeling of shame coursing through your head, chest and gut after you were yourself with someone about an important and personal issue that’s difficult to say.
I’ve had a vulnerability hangover for two weeks. That’s a long time!
Two weeks ago, I recorded sound for a video project I’m creating with the women in my support group, Our Birthing Rite, who are mothers who have experienced psychosis.
In the video, I speak about a trauma in my early life that is taboo and that I have not made public before.
Vulnerability hangovers from speaking up about a difficult and personal issue are due to the cognitive dissonance between the quiet voice in your head that says, ‘speak, what you have to say is important’ and the loud voice in your head that says, ‘keep quiet, don’t rock the boat’.
I’ve listened to the loud voice in my head for so long that I’m shaken whenever I reveal myself.
But, by telling the truth, you can participate in life more fully.
I’m conditioned to keep skeletons in the closet, but that’s really me keeping a part of myself hidden in the dark.
As an artist, I commit to stepping out into the light of day, showing others my full self, even if a part of me is a bit pale from the lack of sun.
By speaking honestly, I acknowledge to others that I exist, warts and all.
By expressing the hidden parts of myself, I can survive, even thrive, and participate in life more fully.
Also, by speaking up, you can form closer connections with others.
It’s important I feel this lingering vulnerability hangover and share my story anyway so I don’t remain on the sidelines and instead reach out to people.
Otherwise, I risk perpetuating the status quo, which leads to disconnection with myself and others.
It’s better I speak up about an important personal issue, however taboo, so people can be aware of how people can be shaped by trauma and perhaps question their limiting beliefs and negative reactions.
I hope people learn from my story, and it paves the way for me to connect more deeply with others.
Ultimately, I know the power of honest communication.
For me, I won’t let a vulnerability hangover stop me from speaking up because I need to talk about what can lead to madness, how it is perpetuated, and its intricacies, so it can be understood and minimised in our communities.
Being human means experiencing those pesky vulnerability hangovers.
We need not let them stop us from speaking up.
The benefits of telling our truth are that we can participate in life more fully and form closer connections with others.
What’s your story about having a vulnerability hangover?
Was it created by speaking up about something that’s important and personal to you, or was it about something else?
(Also, stay tuned for the release of the video project from Our Birthing Rite due in 2023 by subscribing to the Silent Revolution mailing list here).
Photography by Jasmine Powell