I have a confession: I am absolutely, one hundred percent addicted to Valentine’s Day. I love pretty much everything about it (minus the smarm). Give me the pink, the hearts, the flowers, all that frilly, silly, froufy, romantic SHTUFF and I am a happy camper. I’d be happy to make Valentine’s Day a practice and have a bodacious, rampaging Valentine’s YEAR. Every. Single. Year. I love decorating with all those fabulous symbols of love: hearts, pink, flowers, pink, lacy things, pink, sparklies and did I mention pink? If I had my druthers. At the moment I have a house full of animals instead of druthers and a bunch of “ew! girly! COOTIES!!!” guys, otherwise my house would likely be top to bottom pinks, purples and soft greens, rooms inspired by Laura Ashley and Simply Shabby Chic (thank you, Target!), fuzzy, ruffly pretty pillows in various shapes and sizes, especially heart-shaped, tons of fresh flowers and lush houseplants in every room. (Did I mention I’m a houseplant fanatic?) Every room a tribute to my lavish, lush sensuality and an ode to Valentine’s Day.
That’s what I really adore about Valentine’s Day. The usual card-candy-dinner-movie formula is okay but doesn’t really inspire me. Neither does the current variant of card-candy-dinner-movie-sex, though I’m not one to turn down offers of seriously lush, decadent, hot sex. I just don’t much care for your average garden variety sex. Snore. But I digress! What gets me all giddy and over the moon about Valentine’s Day is all the sentiment and all the stuff geared towards exploring romantic love. I adore all the reminders to be more joyful, open, loving, vulnerable….
Wait, did I just say vulnerable??? Um, yes, as a matter of fact I did. I know, I know! Crap it! Stasi, can’t you do or like anything without bringing up that whole vulnerability/surrender thing? Well, if it is to be authentic then, no. No way around that. Full love and sensuality require a willingness to not only see, but be seen. Blobby tummies, pasty butts, buck teeth and all. To be a full Sensualista, to really rock your awesome you have to drop the armor. Not all the time, of course. No one’s suggesting you stand in a hail of arrows without cover. At least not at first. That’s not vulnerable, that’s just stupid. Once you’re a Vulnerability Ninja, you’ll be able to stand in that hail of arrows, too. Will you get hit? Yes. A lot. I did say HAIL of arrows. Will it kill you? Not even. Please note I am not anywhere near a Vulnerability Ninja. I’m still working at the level of “How Not To Be A Complete Coward In Sixteen Easy Lessons”. I may have completed lesson two or three. A hail of arrows will have my little rabbity butt diving for cover in zip time. I’ll be gone so fast I won’t even catch a breeze from the first arrow.
The thing is, I’ve learned that most of life isn’t even close to an arrow storm. At most on a bad day it’s like sand in the face. Not pleasant to have sand in the face but nothing to run from or suit up over, either. True, it doesn’t stop me from sitting with my back to walls or being aware of where everyone in the room with me is at any given moment but I’m working on it. Hey! I even sat in the middle of the food court at the mall and managed to relax and mostly forget about the milling people just last week. ::applauding myself and taking a bow:: I’m getting better at this vulnerability and trust thing. I’ve never been seconds away from circling the wagons at a moment’s notice; I’m more of a clear out at the first sign of trouble non-truster. The thing is, I’m learning life’s a lot more fun if I relax and trust that even if not a single human is watching out for me, the Lady is. She has my back. Surrender to Her and I’m able to trust and surrender to myself and my desires. Next thing you know a whole new world is open to me and I’m able to trust (gasp!) other humans and from there life gets better.
So, what’s all this got to do with Valentine’s Day? Everything! I may be Scared Bunny Chica but I also can see plainly that all the greatest bits about Valentine’s Day aren’t necessarily the hearts, flowers and fancy meals. (And sex. Why is sex such a big deal on Valentine’s Day? Seriously, aren’t people thinking about sex the rest of the year? Why save it all up for one day? Nevermind. I’ll go there eventually. Wait for it.) It’s not so much the stuff we’re after, but the feeling of loving and being loved, of being truly and deeply accepted as we are. The stuff is just a symbol, a reminder of what we really want. In order for that to happen we have to step out, be seen and be willing to let someone else come into us and see us. As we are. All of it. No armor, no shields. That takes extraordinary courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. We’d rather the flowers, dinners, sex and candy because then we don’t have to think about the things all that stuff represents. I’ll even venture to state sex isn’t so great as it could be without vulnerability. Either give your all or go the heck home. I’m not ready to go home. Guess I’d better get with the rest of the lessons on my way to Vulnerability Ninja status. See you in the arrow storm.
*For some really good reading on vulnerability, do read Dr. Brene Brown‘s “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead”. It should be titled “Awesoming In Action” or “How To Be Awesome”. It’s that good.