Real Talk: Shame and Vulnerability
I recently watched these super famous Ted talks, The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame with social researcher Brené Brown. I searched for them after it was mentioned in the the recent New York Magazine article, Why You Never Truly Leave High School.
If you haven’t seen the talks, her main points include: Vulnuerability is defined as emotional risk, exposure, or uncertainty. People who have a sense of worthiness and belonging in life feel this way because they believe they are worthy (but we already knew that, thank you Perks of Being a Wallflower). She called these people ” the wholehearted”, they have courage to be imperfect, the compassion to be kind to themselves and others, and have connections with others as a result of their own authenticity. As a result, they fully embrace vulnerability and uncertainty, Not that these people are comfortable with this, just that they recognized it was necessary. According to Brown, this acceptance is the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love. In order to live wholly, you must recognize that, you are enough. Shame, very much tied with vulnerability, she describes as an epidemic in our culture, which is fueled by secrecy, silence and judgement.
I’ve been thinking about her talk in relation to myself (TICK TOCK ME O’CLOCK) during the last few days and need to get some thoughts out. After watching the talk, I realized that I am vulnerable, and I am all the time. I recognize that I am wildly imperfect and embrace it to the point where I’m often called “weird”— often lovingly but sometimes not. Not only do I live this way, but I publicize it via my social media platforms all the time. EMBRACE YOUR QUIRKS, PEOPLE.
But that’s another thing I thought about, assuming I am not an outlier in feeling this way, is it possible that our generation is more vulnerable and shameless because we document nearly everything in our lives via the internet? While it’s true that what we choose to put out there is for the most part moderated by ourselves, thus we have the ability to craft a persona of some sense, what is your incentive to lie and how long could you even keep that up? From my perspective, there is no reason to be anything less than your authentic self (unless that sucks, then maybe stop reading this?). The beauty of the internet, especially twitter, is that complete strangers can appreciate who you are just via the content you tweet. We no longer need to seek acceptance via those we actually know, and that is a cool thought, I think.
Something I say all the time, usually ironically in the situation but always meant at heart is, never be ashamed of who you are. Why must some pleasures be “guilty”? Why are some pleasures “ironic”? Who says I can’t do X, Y or Z? Why should I be embarrassed about eating sushi off the sidewalk (health hazards aside)? I just wanna do me!
Maybe it’s a generational shift in mentality (read: NYTimes’ What is about 20-Somethings), maybe there is a pop cultural appreciation for being a little ‘out-there’ by society’s standards a la Jennifer Lawrence for example (who really werks it) or maybe it’s just me. I am fortunate enough that I am surrounded by and seek out people who are genuine, supportive and interesting… and I make it a point to dismiss those I deem otherwise… sorry, not sorry, life is short, don’t hate your friends. But the point is, not only do I pride myself on my honesty, but I also suck at secrets and lean full well into my idiosyncrasies. My life is mostly an open book for those who ask.
This whole post (rant?) could obviously be expanded in a million ways to create a pretty thought-provoking article, if I do say so myself. However, for now it’s ending here.
I’ll leave you with one of Brown’s last statements in Listening to Shame, “we just want ourselves and those around us to dare greatly.”
I’m a Second Semester Senior… Now What?
As a student in the 16th grade (go with it), I’m about to come to the end of my formal education journey.
Society Life People Liars tell you that being a second semester college senior is easy, breezy, beautiful (COVERGURL). While yes, so far it has been extremely easy (read: what is homework?), I am bored.
If I had to scapegoat this ish, I’d say it’s me. I am in four classes, two of which are art-related and have little (read: no) homework. The other two business courses are, what’s the word, “meh.” So far, my TA position has been the first thing to really occupy me.
While it’s true that I should maybe enjoy my boredness since I have a job, I live with my best friend, I’m still partially living off my dad’s dime, yadda yadda yadda, I NEED A NEW HOBBY. There’s only so many friendship bracelets I can make, I’ve finished Breaking Bad, my room is consistently spotless etc. etc.
So I’ve done some thinking and here are my New Hobby options:
- Take my Aubrey Plaza/April Ludgate doppelgänger status to new levels
- Find a way to make Cheetos even better
- Read all the books
- Finally learn the Single Ladies dance (failed attempt in November of 2008)
- Learn to cook, question mark?
- Join a fight club— gotta put these brass knuckles to werq
- Make more STUFF
- Learn to make balloon animals, become a part-time entertainer
- Work in the lab more
- Create and maintain a fake celebrity twitter account- JOKE.
- Travel! Semester trips include: Kansas City, Miami, Bahamas, Chicago and Pittsburgh. Tentatively: Colorado.
- Focus on getting my post-braces tooth alignment back, I’m coming for you, Retainers
- Explore STL more
- Teach others how to rid themselves of FOMO— an enlightenment I achieved last semester
- Take up a second major in TEDTalks
- All of the above?!
Kay I’m outta here. You can find me later eating cheetos with my retainer while doing the single ladies dance in my kickboxing class wearing a balloon animal hat. PEACE.
The Zoo: NOT JUST FOR KIDS, PEOPLE
Hey, guess what? I’m a senior now. I totally succumbed to that good ‘ole Senior Mentality and gave myself an “easy” semester. My conclusions here might be a little premature, considering I’ve only had five days of class but… drumroll please… I have SO much free time. I mean like, so much. I need to find another hobby besides Breaking Bad, making friendship bracelets, and day dreaming about pizza. Moving on, this fact in combination with my ticking time bomb clock of graduation is allowing me to shamelessly cross off long awaited STL bucket list items.
So, Alice and I hit up the zoo! This thing is literally a two min drive from school, my four year absence from it is pathetic. Anyway, as expected, the zoo ROCKS. Seeing animals outside of Planet Earth and in 3D is so great. I hadn’t been to a zoo since 1998 in Germany and even then the animals there were raccoon and wart hogs… ain’t nobody got time for that! My personal favorite was the gorillas, I felt like I was Jane (alright, Tarzan…). The cheetah was also great, mostly because it actually looked JUST LIKE this cheetah stuffed animal I had growing up (see above image).
Despite how great the zoo is though for entertainment and education, have you ever thought about the concept of a zoo and the nature (no pun intended but I like it so pretend it was intended) of wildlife? I am no expert by any means on how zoos operate or how or why animals are chosen, but to me it seems a little forced and sad. I saw a giraffe in a cage that only had space for THE GIRAFFE. I looked at it and it gave me its version of the stank eye back (I’m sure of it), it was upsetting. Alternatively, imagine if animals put us in zoos— weird, right?
The Best Stuff at WashU That The Tour Guides Will Never Tell You
can’t take credit for dis pic, taken by Brian Feldman
The people who work here are the best. There is a woman who works at the vegetarian station at the DUC who has literally been there for over 50 years. Can you imagine? The guys at the mail station know my name (Ms. Hay) and are hilariously intrigued by my brass knuckle situation.
photo by Athena, sorry for the sausage fingers, I was born this way
Molly, the receptionist at the Weston Career Center, is (capital T-S) The Sweetest and went to school with my old BG boss?! She’s also motivated me to be more active this semester after hearing all of her marathoning stories.
But seriously, real talk, this campus, as Princeton Review once said, “runs like butter.” The people who work here are not only kind and hardworking, but often pretty interesting or funny. BE APPRECIATIVE, Y’ALL.
It’s everywhere, it’s all the time, and it’s usually good. The study abroad fair in the b-school last semester featured catered cultural finger food corresponding to each country. Private school is crazy, man. Another strategy: join a club! Clubs get funding and funding goes towards food. Heck, DSP is having a social at this very second where I got my strawberry intake for the day.
Microsoft Office is $Free.99
Das right, at least for b-schoolers das right. If you didn’t know this and feel like a n00b, come see me in the lab and I’ll hook you up.
WILD: as a concept, not an event
Apparently WILD means “walk in lay down”, but in my experience it’s been more like “run in eat pizza.” Either way, if you plan your day right and pace yourself, the event is not nearly as fun as the afternoon you had leading up to it. Act like a state school! See the sunlight! Put off your homework! I know, scandalous.
EVERYTHING ABOUT BD
This place is not sold hard enough. IT IS AMAZING. Even the prepared food in glass cases is waymazing. Open faced tilapia sandwiches? kay. Grilled trout? super. And although not “gourmet” (god, you foodies ruin everything), the three cheese melt. *cue heavenly church music*. Bonus: they’re often bumping music while you order. Double bonus: Angela (see The Staff) is a delight. Also the indian station is BOMB.COM FOR REAL. If you haven’t tried it because you are afraid of ethnic food or some other kind of terrible-person flaw, well then, more for me.
Fresh flowers?! Obvi. Also seen is your standard boat-shoes-wearing-curly-haired WashU dude