Necessities of Naked Vulnerability

Here I am, crinkling under the great equalizer of humility – the paper gyno blanky. Do rich people get weighted cotton ones at the rich people gyno that cover the crevices or are even the affluent afflicted with the accursed oversized paper party napkin that shifts and shows?  As if the process weren’t vulnerable enough…stirrups.

New day, new event, same week, same tightrope walk between humiliation and vulnerability.

Here I am, tucked under the stairwell in a space labelled “Strings Studio”. The violin under my chin for the first time in fifteen years, fingers two steps too slow, brain battling to overthink while the body is attempting to remember. Notes hit scratchy and flat. My face can’t help but flinch. I forget where C sharp is. I play B instead of G. I murder the next note and scream for its loss or for my frustration. The line blurs.

“Never apologize to me” he says, this twenty-three year old teaching me to remember to play. I mental math how he was eight the last time I laid this instrument down. I think about how adult I felt at twenty-three. Just a baby, really. I mental math how many people have seen me naked and affirm that, yes, standing here undone would feel less vulnerable than playing this first lesson.

While these two events may not seem related, they feel connected to me – someone who doesn’t like to feel foolish or be exposed, be wrong or bad at something. I’ll take the gyno table over being bad at something.

That’s the great news I’m finding about the thirties with young kids. There’s no space for pride or performance or perfection. There is only hospitality to kindness and grace for ourself. Or at least, there is conscientiously fighting for the generosity of kindness and grace for ourself.

It’s okay to feel foolish. It’s okay to be uncovered. It’s okay to be bad.

Necessary, even.

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2 thoughts on “Necessities of Naked Vulnerability

  1. Jenny…I play violin
    in a very forgiving, wonderful string ensemble led by an episcopal nun/former symphony cellist (33 years!). She is encouraging , knowledgeable and accepting and also challenging. We meet about 2 times a month on Thursdays from 10:45-12:45. It is $25 each time but it is negotiable. We also perform occasionally as we will be doing this Sunday for the Interfaith Shelter. If you’re ever interested in checking it out, we’d love to have you!!

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