I watched Brene Brown’s first TEDx Houston talk in April, 2011. I was in San Diego for my nephew’s wedding. I was four months into my love project and feeling lost, divided. There was the me that was fearlessly loving, believing with all my might in what love could do (no less than change the world!) and there was the me that was struggling in the most important relationship of my life. My husband and I had come through a years-long storm, and we were finding that surviving the worst of it isn’t the same as happily ever after.
I watched my nephew get married that weekend, he and his bride giddy with love and possibility, and I hoped they’d do it differently than we had… and hoping that broke my heart.
On the morning after the wedding, sitting in my brother-in-law’s empty house, I watched the TEDx video and it rocked my confused little world. I was like a sinner hearing the gospel; it was so big and important and true to me, I didn’t even know how to process it. Brene said that people who have a strong sense of love and belonging are people who fully embrace vulnerability. They are people who believe that what makes them vulnerable, makes them beautiful.
It changed everything for me. Not that day, or that week, or that month, but over the course of the almost-year since I watched it. It was the beginning of deep down, gut-wrenching honesty, first with myself and then with my husband. It was the beginning of true fearlessness, of love like a religion, of faith. (I’m writing about all of this in The Love Essays, which are all about last year – the love project, yes, but behind the love project too, the part I didn’t blog about, the part where, for me, the real shit went down.)
This past weekend, I watched Brene Brown’s latest TED talk, twice. I cried when she said, “If we’re going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path,” because I know it’s true. It’s true in the great big, worldwide humanity sense, and in the smaller, bewildered, brokenhearted sense.
And this time my belief doesn’t stem from a leap of faith. This time I know because I was there. Am there. Living, breathing, trembling proof.