Connection Takes Courage: One of the greatest needs and desires of any human being is to be deeply seen and known by another. Perhaps one of the greatest paradoxes to this sense of belonging and deep love is the risk of vulnerability and reciprocity.
The past couple of posts I’ve shared have been more vulnerable than previous ones. Earlier postings have typically ranged from a regurgitated form of research and notions of Third Culture Kid identity characteristics to a series of quotations I find relevant to my own TCK journey. Recently, one of my friends challenged me to be more vulnerable in my writings — to share my stories as they relate to my TCK research. At first, I was reluctant as I wanted to remain a bit anonymous and generic in my interactions with readers.
But, I decided to challenge myself to write more personal stories. To, perhaps, help my own processing. To, perhaps, be seen in a different way.
And so, I shared what was on and in my heart over the past few months. It was an uncomfortable feeling publishing my intimate experiences, especially of a recent end to a 5 year relationship. But, as a creative outlet, this writing helped me to name some of my feelings, and ultimately work through them better as I reflected openly. I worried that sharing such a deeply emotional experience wouldn’t translate across time and space and distance in an authentic way. Perhaps it didn’t. But to one person it did.
To a woman 9,873 mi/15889km and 14 time zones away from me.
She wrote me a private message informing me how she appreciated reading my posts and wanted to encourage my heart by sending me a book that she felt would resonate with my recent reflections. I provided my snail mail address, and last week, I got the book. And what a wonderful one it is.
To be deeply seen and known by another is to risk vulnerability and letting another in. Across time and space and distance a woman I have only interacted with on social media could empathize with me and encourage me through written words.
In a society that often argues that social media fragments community and distills human connection, this woman and I have proven you wrong. This week, today, this hour, I feel so grateful for the courageous reach this woman had to authentically connect with my personhood and my vulnerability through social media.
May my writing continue be a creative tension; a push-pull of what to share and what to leave out. But I’ll write on. Because of human connection.