“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage,” Brené Brown in Rising Strong.
Sometimes we have to get down and dirty to express hard topics. This was a creative shoot and Leah made it come to life. We slathered porcelain slip all over her body. Leah is showing strength in the way she owns each image. She seems fragile because her skin is cracked and she is vulnerable as she stands in front of you baring all.
This is all about the strength and beauty within vulnerability.
The greatest strength a human being can have is the willingness to be vulnerable. That is where the truest expression of the human experience lives.
Guess what is our biggest roadblock - our own humanity. We are all weak, fragile and insecure. It's a roadblock because we try to protect ourselves from getting hurt so we build barriers and close off from intimacy and potential. We often give up before we succeed as we try to protect ourselves from rejection and the pain of failure.
And the truth is that you will get rejected in the real world. You cannot protect yourself from that unless you hide and never leave your house.
You were not born to hide.
People think of vulnerability as weakness, as fear, as betrayal and hurt. It is not. Those things may happen when you allow yourself to be vulnerable but on the other side of that is truth, courage and healing. It is where your power lies.
And know that vulnerability is the birth place for innovation and creativity. Two things we are starving for in our lives today.
When we were kids we had no barriers. We knew no color. We knew no hate. We knew no failure. We knew no fear. We only saw beauty and love, and we created art and lived out our imagination without apprehension.
Then adulthood happened, and we are all very aware of failure, of rejection and of our own flaws. We have these lenses soldered to our faces, and we don't always see truth for truth. We see what people have been telling us our whole lives. We turn on the news and see greed, ego and violence. People then become too damn afraid to get vulnerable, to let their guard down and see that we all have more in common than we don't. Instead we find faith in an ideology further separating us, and our answer is to tear people down.
Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?
When we show up and allow ourselves to be seen, and share our stories; we give other people permission to do the same. Then, we feel closer and less alone, less insecure. No one is perfect.
Perfectionism doesn't exist. Beauty is in the imperfections, in the cracks, in the realness of being alive, in vulnerability. That is what this art is showing you.
Vulnerability happens when you merge with your authentic self, instead of hiding behind a facade to please others' demands and opinions. It's much easier to play small and people please.
Yes, vulnerability is a courageous act.
What makes you feel vulnerable? Let's talk about it and heal so that we move the human race forward and bring people together. For me, writing this was vulnerable, as is, speaking my truth when I'm afraid it won't be accepted. Creating art is vulnerable. Speaking up in relationships is vulnerable. Speaking up in a meeting is vulnerable. Showing my scars and talking about them is vulnerable.
The point is that vulnerability comes in all shapes and sizes as does our ability to try and shield ourselves from it. Instead, let's embrace it.
I decided to create art about it, and it is a big topic. Stay tuned for more to come on this as we will be launching a vulnerability project soon. We want to share stories through art in the hopes of healing and acceptance for all.
In the meantime, check out the images blow that embody the essence of beauty in vulnerability.
*All images shot with natural light. I hand painted to backdrop. This was a collaborative shoot with Chrissy Nix Yolder and Leah Wyld.