The Paradox of Vulnerability

“…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” Audre Lorde

This quote drives me crazy as I have yet to tap into the ways in which vulnerability has made me strong.

There were many times in my life that I felt that I was more vulnerable than I would prefer. In hindsight, the vulnerability was in my mind, and most of it was due to choices that I had made. I am currently very vulnerable, and not something that I did to myself. But this isn’t about me…

God says when we clothe another, feed another, visit another in jail or in hospitals, administer to the least of His, we are doing it unto Him. And if we do it begrudgingly, it is almost worse than not doing it. Without having ever been in a truly vulnerable position, it is difficult to understand what it feels like. I have never liked allowing others to do for me because it has often been thrown in my face. Or I would put my needs out there only to have them ignored or denied. It is sad that this is the attitude we take with each other. Everything that we have and what we are is a gift from God to begin with…our time, our talents, our money, our means. So to do for one another while keeping record, throwing in each other’s faces, or doing it begrudgingly cancels out any goodwill we may have created.

“If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” J.K Rowling
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely  no good.”  Samuel Johnson

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” Hubert H. Humphrey

How we treat those who are truly vulnerable says much about ourselves. One could argue that is the reason we are here, to administer to one another, to make the plight of others a little easier. A dear friend of mine reminded me that helping others is a gift and a privilege for those who are helping. We could all benefit to stop and think before extending our hand to another. The greatest gift is to help in a way which allows the one receiving help to maintain their dignity. You can do this by refraining from rubbing it in someone’s face, not keeping score, helping before being asked (as most people hate to ask for help), going the extra mile…and to view the other party as who they are, not what circumstance they may be in.

Something that I have been guilty of is hesitating, or assuming that the person is surrounded by love, attention, help, encouragement or prayer. I missed out on the blessing of being a blessing. We see a homeless person on the street and assume that an army of people after us will be the blessing to this person. Maybe God had intended for us to be this blessing for this person. What if they needed to know someone saw them, cared for and valued them, what if we were their lifeline? Not only did we fail to impact their life, but we failed to have our life impacted.

This struggle that I have been through has been far darker than I could ever have imagined. I in no way am sharing this for sympathy, only to provide an example of what others may be going through, to challenge you to look for opportunities to be there for each other. You would think when you go through something so horrific that you would be met with compassion, love, understanding and encouragement. While I have at times received an outpouring of these things from so many via facebook and texts, calls, etc, there has for the most part been the opposite.

In a few cases, even my closest of friends have walked away because they did not feel I had given them enough rather than having compassion that I did not have anything to give. I have often gone without eating when I was alone because I did not have the strength or energy to cook for myself, or the means to fill the fridge, I have hurt myself trying to clean the house in a wheelchair. I have laid face down in my bed crying my eyes out doing everything I could to convince myself that this too shall pass. I have known the deepest level of loneliness…one where you cry out the hollowest, saddest sound that you do not even recognize it as your own. Again, I do not share this for sympathy. It is very difficult to show myself in such a vulnerable light, but I have hope that doing so will help others in similar situations to know they are not alone, or to provoke others to reach out and show up for each other. I would NEVER do anything to harm myself, but I have known that kind of loneliness, helplessness, hopelessness and desperation, and it scares me for those who maybe do not have the strength, faith or self love that I do.

Often it is the strongest who need help the most because they will show a brave face, and have the hardest time reaching out for help. It strengthens us to be a strength to another. And please do not pass the buck expecting others to come along…for all you know, you may be the last in line.

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"Someone once told me the definition of hell: On the last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become." Anonymous.  And that would be a good place to begin. Often we know not what our purpose is until we think in terms of our eternal purpose. The moment I allowed my mind to expand to eternal proportions, it all came into full view. All of my micro passions and purposes could fall under one heavenly macro purpose banner. To live up to my potential, and pave the way for others to do the same.  As a child, I had an inner fire to learn everything I could to rise above the circumstances I was born into. It was like there was a scream in my soul. "I don't belong here, we don't belong here. Something is wrong here!" As a child I remember knowing I was born to rewrite the story. I can't imagine that is typical of most children. I recall wrestling with the decision between having play dates with friends or reading dates with myself. My mom and I would sojourn to our local library where I would faithfully check out the max number of books as they toppled out of my arms. The majority were non-fiction, particularly autobiographies of underdogs defying the odds.  I was born into two family lines riddled by addiction, anxiety and depression. I remember intrinsically knowing we were made for more. I have spent my life on a mission to choose differently. I have to credit my parents for instilling awareness in me. They had their struggles, but they always reminded me that things can be different. They may not have had the tools or strength to overcome their struggles, but they created a human who could and would. Awareness is half the battle. Too many grow up not knowing any different. They live reactionary lives imitating what they see and all they know. That is why I'm determined to educate and demonstrate that we are the creators of our reality, that we are not limited by circumstance or DNA. We are truly limitless.  I am a voracious reader who reads books that help unlock greatness and point to unlimited potential.  I am a writer who writes with the intention to unlock the inner hero begging to be released.  I am a personal trainer who trains others with the intent to show them that the only limits they have are those in their mind.  I am an athlete who had yet to achieve her potential because her mindset was broken and spirit was in bondage. It was the silent shame I carried throughout my life. I dedicated myself to studying how I could turn that shame into my superpower. I am now an athlete who gets to visibly demonstrate how truly limitless we really are. I am keenly aware that my movement conveys a powerful message. I know others are watching. I know the world needs this wake up call. I know I did.  And I know I haven't even started yet.  So when I nearly died and lost my feet in the process, I knew I was being called to the mat so to speak. I was being offered the opportunity to demonstrate my beliefs for all to see. While I may have felt "why me," my soul knew I had been uniquely prepared for this challenge. My soul said "of course, me." And that was the North Star that guided me through the hell I would have to traverse alone. I set out on a journey with my Maker to find ME. The real me. All of me. Who I was capable of being. Possibly more importantly, I discovered who I WAS NOT. I was refined in the FIRE. I am here by the GRACE of God and the GRIT of myself. I became an alchemist, turning tragedy into triumph, loss into gain, victimhood into victory. I choose carefully for I know that I create my own reality.  PS you can read more about how I lost my feet here:  I am a Speaker. I realize this is bigger than I am. It is my privilege to share my story in a way that conveys hope smothered in tough love and points toward freedom. We are capable of so much more than we can begin to comprehend. We can choose it and we can do so today. We simply need be WILLING, AUDACIOUS and RELENTLESS.  I am a Writer. Writing is where I first tasted freedom. It is where I am all of me, where I speak my full truth, and where I allow God to speak through me. My message bypasses my brain coming straight from my spirit. Heck, it comes from my cells. I write to say what needs to be said. I write not to make one think, but to make one act.  My intention is not to make you feel good, or to think I am smart, but to get off your ass and live your life to the fullest. To live and love today to the fullest because it could be your last. Nothing is promised, not even the next second.  I am an athlete. It is an attitude, a swagger, a philosophy, a belief, a spirit. It is a commitment. Athletes aren't afraid to sweat and get dirty. They aren't afraid to try and "fail" because they know you only fail if you stay on the couch. And you can get off that couch this very second. I will push my athletic ability to the limits, and then I will push past them. There is no time clock, I will do this until the day I die. Where there is breath, there is hope and there is LIFE. I am ALIVE. I do not and I will not take that for granted. I move my body because I am blessed to do so because there are some who can't. There is always someone with less than you have doing more than you are. Make THEM proud. Honor their grit, thereby developing your own. Inspiration is tricky business. I don't want to be called inspiring as you scroll through Facebook. I want to INSPIRE your ACTION. I want to ELIMINATE your EXCUSES. My goals will continue to evolve because once I have ascended one mountain, I celebrate the view and then set my sights on the next. I am a runner with no feet whose wings span wide. I will run far and fly high. I am a trainer.  I am EXCUSELESS. Because I choose none for myself, I will accept none of yours. I am not for everybody, but I am for those who are hungry and committed to radically change their lives.  I am committed to doing my part to radically upgrade the dreams, expectations and lives of the collective whole. My inner hero, free spirit, champion craved existence and simply needed guidance on how to be born. I needed permission. I finally gave it to myself and now I offer it to you. I am here to remind those who need it that we were made for more.  The Phoenix Perspective is a Radical Responsibility Revolution. We have a zero tolerance policy for excuses. We make none and we accept none. Period. We know that we are more than our DNA, more than our CIRCUMSTANCES. We know that life is happening FOR us rather than TO us. We know that dying to who we thought ourselves to be so that we can become who we were meant to be is not only necessary, it is glorious. While it may not be comfortable, we know that the FIRE is our FRIEND. That it is a divine messenger sent to escort us to our higher selves. It is a message, a philosophy, a movement. It is an understanding and a vantage point. It is a challenge and an invitation. It is an initiation. 

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