I am the girl who wants to change the whole world. But I am also the girl who goes bat-shit-crazy on a poor barista serving her a ham and cheese croissant when I am at my absolute hangriest.
A year ago I would’ve only told you about the beautiful parts of me, and avoided mentioning the things I suck at. I used to only see myself and others for our light, and not for our darkness.
Possible conversation topics with me would’ve been limited to: success and triumph, happiness and laughter, love and learning, butterflies and rainbows.
I dreamed of a world filled with positivity and light, but I’m starting to recognize that beauty still lies in the darkness.
And this is all because I accidentally let my roommate, my new boyfriend, my clients, and even the world see some of the worst sides of me and you know what the weird thing is? They still liked me.
Our weird quirks and ugly flaws are as important to our fleshly beauty as our impressive strengths and life-giving gifts. Letting people see our struggle is as essential as collectively celebrating our successes.
Being vulnerable with other people taught me that I really am worthy of love, even when I’m at my absolute worst, and that the same is true for you.
Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, defines vulnerability as, “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure…Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow – that’s vulnerability…To put our art, our writing, our photography, our ideas out into the world with no assurance of acceptance or appreciation—that’s also vulnerability.”
She says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”
I learned to really be vulnerable by mistake. I’ve been preaching vulnerability to clients of my program Projekt Possible, but wasn’t 100% living it.
When I was afraid or when I thought my life was falling apart (whether it was because of reality, or hormones), I would hide in my room and cry it out alone.
If I started dating someone, I would try to present to them the perfectly polished Brittney. I wouldn’t let them see me without makeup until we were months into things.
I thought if I let my guard down in front of the people I wanted to accept me – close people, clients, and the world on social media, that they wouldn’t like me.
I think I just got tired of hiding or of trying to show people a perfectly put together Brittney, and so I finally let them see my struggles and my ugly sides.
And to my surprise, they didn’t run.
In particular, my roommate makes me feel normal when I’m hormonal and feel like my life is coming crashing down. My boyfriend makes me feel lovable even if I’m late for everything. And my clients appreciate me as a fantastic coach even when I struggle with hitting my macros at my friend’s stagette where there’s delicious rum punch being served.
My roomie and I catch up in ten-minute speed explanations of our lives over coffee in the morning. We skip the small talk and ask each other the hard questions. We share shitty dating experiences and encourage each other that we both deserve someone great. We talk about the days we miss lifts in the gym and female hormones are running high so we go cry in the bathroom stall and then try to look tough when we finally step out to finish our session. We tell each other about our fears. We celebrate each others successes. We talk about the things that we think if we told other people, they would think we’re bat-shit-crazy.
And the absolute best part? Even in our darkest moments we find a way to make each other laugh.
But really, the person who’s taught me the most about vulnerability and accepting myself and others for the good and the bad is the guy I’m dating right now.
At first I had no guard up because I thought I was getting a training partner and nothing more. I told him I’m late for everything. I showed up with no makeup on. I had one of my worst training sessions ever in front of him and openly told my male coach and him that it was probably because of my hormones. They looked at each other with that kind of male-comraderie that only exists when men are in the presense of a woman talking about womanly things.
After a few training sessions I finally woke the eff up and realized maybe this could be something, and he lit up my makeupless face with light from his text messages on my phone all weekend – I guess he thought I looked okay and wasn’t scared away from all my hormone talk.
But on a more serious level, one day I was really struggling about something fairly personal, and I tried to just tell him I was having a bad day and that I didn’t want to talk about it.
The truth was, I was afraid that if I talked about it, he would turn and run the other way.
I told him I didn’t want him to see me emotional this early in the relationship – that right now it should still be all butterflies and rainbows.
He said, “Sweetie, if we’re going to be in a relationship, I’m going to have to see your emotions sometime.”
And see my emotions he has – hanger, fear, disappointment, frustration, anxiety – he’s seen it all.
And he didn’t run in any of these situations.
And although I’m sure you get the point, I would like to drive it home with a cute first date story (because who doesn’t love a good one of those?!).
On our first date he bought me flowers and made me a picnic that fit my macros and we went to the movie Finding Dory (omg I’m so lucky!). In the animated fish film, Dory has short-term memory loss – an obvious obstacle in her mission to find her family. – but what was so beautiful was that this apparent vice was also a virtue.
Because Dory didn’t have the same memory as the other fish it actually aided her in being an absolutely fearless risk-taker. Also, because of her amnesia, Dory had to make decisions not based on her memory, but based on a quick, critical analysis of her environment. Her observation skills were second to none.
One of my fav parts was when Nemo and Marlin were trying to find Dory, and Marlin’s fears almost kept them frozen from taking action. In that moment he asked, “What would Dory do?” and they assessed their surroundings, took some risks, and ended up having the most exciting experience (and finding Dory) as a result.
Sorry to be a spoiler, but at the end of the fish flick that cute AF amnesiac aquatic vertebrate finds her family.
But the most fantastic part was that Dory’s family wasn’t just her fish parents – it was a weird mix of sea animals (including Marlin and Nemo and a cranky octopus named Hank and a near-sighted shark named Destiny and some other quirky creatures) who saw her for her amnesia as well as her analysis and risk-taking abilities.
Despite all obstacles Dory’s absolute fearlessness combined with her second-to-none observation skills lead her right to her family’s front door – with very little help from her memory.
Like me, maybe it’s not amnesia for you. For me it’s my hanger (or general emotional basketcase-ness) and sucking at being on time.
Embrace your own amnesia and build your own strange family of terrestrial creatures. I’m building mine and I’ve never been happier in this mess that we call life.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss.
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