I turn off the water, then help her out & over the tub, wrapping her up in her own towel. While trying to maneuver myself awkwardly around my wet and now- shivering child, I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror.
Yikes. Mascara down the face: I look like the single mother version of Alice Cooper.
The truth is, especially to those who know me best, and a lot of you do, showers are not big on my list of priorities. So the fact that I'm actually partaking in this ritual means this is a very big deal.
What's the big deal? This single mother has a date.
Little does my impending date know how glamorous I am. The drippy mascara, the shower clinger, the soaking towel: I am definitely one smoking-hot ticket.
I've been out with the guy I'm going to meet for dinner a number of times. I really like him, and at the same time, it is so new and raw. We're still feeling things out and getting to know each other's stories.
I spend way too much time fussing with my hair and makeup. I'm nervous and a little scared, sweating & wondering if he'll notice my grey roots. (My hairdresser had the stomach bug, you know...dagger!!!!)
Ugh. The bottom line?
I'm exposing myself. I've been in safe, familiar territory relationship-wise for a long time. Now? I'm totally vulnerable...and #hashtag#??? This stuff is not for the faint of heart.
Listen to the stories I tell myself and questions ask as I get ready:
"You're 37. You're not as young as you used to be. You have a lot of grey. Holy brow lines!!!! Does my ass look big in these pants? What if say something stupid? You have a lot of baggage. Is my personality too much? How many times have people told you to tone it down? Maybe you should. It might freak him out. You curse a lot and you drink two glasses of wine every night. How are you going to balance this with your life? What if he thinks you're an asshole?"
Clearly, it's endless.
What's the moral of all this?
Whenever we try something new or expose ourselves to being vulnerable, we risk being scrutinized...or at least, that's what we tend to tell ourselves. The alternative, of course, is not exposing anything or ever stepping out. That is definitely an option. And a safe one.
If I don't go on this date, I will not risk possibly being rejected or dealing with awkward silences, un-answered texts, or even worse...having a connection that starts out wonderfully and ends further down the road, after time and intimacy have been invested.
Hmmm...the gears of my brain start clicking....another conversation with myself starts:
"But then...if you don't try...you could miss out on a great thing. Maybe this could be good and maybe you deserve that. Even if you risk bring vulnerable to this person and being your true self, and if it doesn't work, I can still take something from it? Right? I can still learn. What's the worst that can happen? This is a risk for him too. It's not just about me. By the way, you are fucking hilarious!! Just be yourself!"
So really, I guess being vulnerable is about leaving what is safe and comfortable in hopes of maybe gaining something awesome. There is always risk and uncertainty in stepping outside of your comforts.
And that, they say, is where most of the profound changes happens.
You have to be okay with a little uncertainty and discomfort in order to make progress in anything. It can be getting in shape, feeling scared about going to class, asking for a raise, going on a date, moving to a new place, changing jobs... you name it. There are lots of examples, and I'm sure you're thinking of some right now!
Really though, at the end of the day, without being vulnerable and a little uncomfortable, you will not change.
What's the worst that can happen?
You can't do a push-up? Big deal!!
They turn you down for a raise? What ev's!!
Your date doesn't call you back? Their loss!!
You hate your new town? Move home!!!
But maybe...just maybe...this change, this vulnerability will turn into something cool and you'll open up places in yourself that you never knew existed.
At the end of the day, you have no idea what you're capable of or what's in store for you unless you expose yourself and lean towards the truth in vulnerability.
It takes some balls. Accept pting the chance you might fall on your ass. But...maybe there is a little bit of greatness waiting.
What is one thing this week to open yourself up to? What one small move towards discomfort are you going to make? Unless you open yourself up to it, you'll never know.