A vulnerability hangover? Not quite.
The Tale of Two Beds was one of those posts.
One that generates an awful lot of discussion. One that seemed to take on a life of its own. And I’ll admit: I wasn’t sure what direction the discussion was going to take. Suffice to say I was overwhelmed by it.
In a good way.
You’ve heard the term ‘vulnerability hangover' yes? Dr. Brené Brown has really brought this idea into the common vernacular, that idea of opening yourself up and truly sharing something scary, or potentially shameful; something that shows you in a less than ideal or perfect light can result in a what the hell did I just do kind of moment, a.k.a., a vulnerability hangover.
That didn't exactly happen.
What I experienced on Friday, through all of the comments and resulting discussion, was actually—and I swear I'm not trying to sound super cheesy and feel free to roll your eyes if you must—a compassion hangover.
I'm not going to lie, starting with one of the very first comments by blog reader (and guy I'd really love to drink a pint with) Paul, right through the the very last one (and they are still coming), I was a hot, sobbing mess most of the day.
Something happened. I felt less disconnected.
Connection is something I'm trying to create through the work I'm presently doing with my therapist. Connecting to reality is the first step. Part of reality is to see myself accurately: my strengths and my weaknesses.
One of my strengths is sharing stories. Combining the strength of sharing a story about my weaknesses has some real potential to do something. It could inspire you. It could piss you off. It could reveal something about yourself that you'd not previously considered. It could make you want to read my blog more. Or, less.
It could make you feel less alone.
The beauty in all of this? I could write about my weaknesses, the very things I'm wanting to change, for a very, very long time.
One of my weaknesses I'd like to cop to today? My memory.
Dan read my blog post and he said, "Honey, that's not how it happened. Did you forget?"
He reminded me that I didn't beg him to go to the basement; he offered it up. It was his idea. I was coming up with all sorts of crazy scenarios for poor little Cathy and her sleep problems. Instead, he stepped up and played the truly heroic victim in all of this and packed his bags for two floors down. It wasn't just a selfless act. He got something out of it too.
He got to feel in control, just like I felt like I got to feel in control by having the room all to myself.
Feelings are a funny thing. I am learning that they aren't based in reality. When Dan and I operate on feelings, there's not a whole lot of connecting going on. There's a whole lot of jockeying for control.
For us, control equals disconnection. Not the best ingredient for a happy marriage at all.
I plan to explore this a bit more regularly in this space. Definitely.
I just wanted to thank those of you who shared your personal stories, risking the judgment of all kinds of readers who instead offered up a whole heck of a lot of something else: compassion.
And that is kind of out control.