But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human
-Christina Perri, Human
I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To be human is to be in vulnerability.
You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.
Vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce.
-Brené Brown, PHD, LMSW
I am deeply, madly in love with a strong, smart, generous and breathtaking woman. Her wife is a courageous, giving, welcoming, fun and beautiful soul. She is my dear friend. Like many in my circle of polyamorous life partners, and dearly loved metamours, the three of us are learning every day to communicate well, to make room, to celebrate each other and to pour out generous amounts of trust and love as we enjoy the ecstasy and wonder that is this web of support, value and gratitude we are building for ourselves and each other. In the four months since we began, things have been absolutely, incredibly amazing.
We all work really hard to make space for each other, to flex and bend, to support and share, and to communicate, to talk honestly, to trust. We do a damn fine job, I don’t mind saying. We push ourselves, look for opportunities to grow. We are courageous and vulnerable. We’re purposeful about being good at this life, because we love each other, we honor each other, and we want to do right by those who we are so lucky to love.
I love those connections where I can let down my guard, silence my inner-critic, and be genuine. I’m welcomed with open arms. I don’t have to know all of the answers; I can struggle and laugh at myself, and know that my partners and metamours will meet me with love, and celebrate me in all my messy, morning breath, grouchy, Tuesday morning glory! I am deeply moved and fed by the willingness of lovers and their partners to be real with me, to let down their guard, put on their pajamas (or be naked), laugh about their mistakes and share their fears. It’s the very soul of this life I’m living, and I am so grateful to be met with such beauty, courage and strength.
Still, some days, the hurt comes. And that sucks.
Some days, no matter how good our intentions, no matter how carefully we choose to live, no matter how real and honest and open-hearted we are… we fail. We find ourselves in the middle of a tangled and hurtful miscommunication. We misunderstand, we stumble, we inadvertently bruise someone else’s heart. I inadvertently bruise someone else’s heart. I did it this week, and that sucks.
No, I wasn’t alone, there were things I could have done and things others could have done to prevent the painful situation that arose — if we’d only seen it coming — but that’s not the point. The point is, I am human, and my partners and metamours are human. No matter how well we do this polyamorous life — no matter how carefully we choose our actions, our reactions, we will spill our messy, difficult-to-swallow humanness all over those we love. It just happens.
That’s a tough pill for me to swallow today.
I am only human, and it breaks my heart to know my choices, no matter how pure my intent, caused others pain. I have cried today. I have apologized, I have spoken words of understanding and love, and meant every one… and today still sucks. Because I don’t want this kind of thing to happen, especially because I messed up.
Thankfully, I’m in this with adults — strong, generous, loving humans — who join me in gathering up the pieces, and healing the hurts. We will get through this. We will learn something about ourselves and each other. We will grow. Tomorrow will be easier, better, than today, and we will celebrate. We will face the days ahead with courage, and vulnerability. We will love, and there will be joy again. In fact, there’s a tiny bit of joy even today, knowing that we are gonna be just fine.
We’re gonna let vulnerability be our magic sauce!