I was thinking of a dear friend of mine who is well known for carrying around a bag of change and giving it to the homeless. He even opens his home to a street person who has become a part of his extended family. I admire him for this, among other reasons, because he can be openly vulnerable in a way that I can't. He is a gentle soul, we are kindred spirits, but there is no way I could do what he does. It would be careless for me to take such a risk.
Why? I feel that we still live in a time where vulnerability is too often misunderstood. It becomes a power exchange where vulnerability is taken as a sign of weakness to be preyed upon. A friendly smile is taken as a sexual invitation.
Of course, I know I can't control how other people see me. What does bother me is that I feel I must hold myself back from being fully vulnerable -- being fully me. I am sharp and cautious. I choose my actions by watching and listening to how others perceive me. But, I would like to move beyond my past experiences. I just don't know how to do it. Yet.