The term, “vulnerable,” is a difficult emotion to express to someone because you can feel loved and/or broken at the same time.
Here’s a more detailed account of the prompt I wrote for the month of June:
In the month of June, we will be discussing what it means to be vulnerable. To some individuals, being vulnerable could be seen as a sign of weakness, but in fact, vulnerability is actually a sign of strength. In this month’s posts, we will explore what it means to be vulnerable and how certain characters in pop culture glamorize vulnerability. When do we show our vulnerability? How do we express vulnerability? Why should we show vulnerability? These are questions that we will be discussing in our posts featuring characters that show vulnerability and/or sensitivity and what we can learn from them or even our own personal stories.
For this topic, I am going to discuss the song that inspired this prompt, Secondhand Serenade’s “Vulnerable.”
The opening verse begins with a comparison between one’s external and internal environment. We get the feeling of being cold from the wintery weather, but also the feeling of being cold-hearted due to some trauma or sadness. The singer, John Vesely, opens the song with these lyrics: “Share with me the blankets that you’re wrapped in/Because it’s cold outside, it’s cold outside.” He desires that his lover share blankets with him. There’s parallelism in the second set of lyrics where he sings, “Share with me the secrets that you kept in/Because it’s cold inside, it’s cold inside.” In both lines, we see the singer trying to comfort his lover in her internal and external environment. He wants his lover to open up to him so that they can share the warmth of the blanket and also, he would like to get to know her on a more intimate level where she shares her secrets to him. By sharing secrets with someone that is when you start to develop a deeper connection with them because it is something you two share with each other that no one else knows about, and it is also a sign of being vulnerable.
In the pre-chorus, Vesely notices how his lover responds to this intimate moment. He notices, “And your slow shaking fingertips show/that you’re scared like me so.” If we can imagine the image that is described in these lyrics, it would be a moment of physical intimacy that would lead up to sex: the woman touches the man and he can sense that she’s scared due to her trembling fingertips and that there are a lot of emotions running through each person. We can sense this emotional intensity: the singer is engulfed in his feelings as opposed to being rational. He sings, “And I know you may be scared/And I know we’re unprepared/But I don’t care.”
Next, the chorus introduces the feeling of vulnerability. Vesely questions whether or not his lover feels the same way he does. Vesely feels this intense vulnerable emotion and he wants to know if his lover feels the same thing he does towards her. Even if the woman is trying to hide her feelings, he senses that she cannot completely hide what she feels for him. Vesely sings these lyrics:
Tell me, tell me
What makes you think that you are invincible?
I can see it in your eyes that you’re so sure
Please don’t tell me that I’m the only one that’s vulnerable
In the bridge, Vesely declares his love for this woman and promises he will be there for her to support and love her, which is something she didn’t receive in her other relationships: “I promise I can be anyone, I can be anything/Just because you were hurt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bleed.”
When I first heard this song, I really liked it, but I couldn’t relate to the song because I was never in a position of wanting to be vulnerable with someone, especially when it comes to someone I like. When it comes to vulnerability, I consider it showing your flaws and imperfections to someone you can trust because you believe that they will accept you as you are. Yet, I never experienced something like that before. I had moments where someone wanted me to be vulnerable with them, but I couldn’t do it because I didn’t completely trust them. There was also a moment where I truly wanted to be vulnerable with someone but I ended up getting thrown under the bus. Those experiences gave me emotional scars, and so, I became more cautious when it comes to guys. However, I slowly realized that if I let one disappointment dictate the rest of my love life then I may miss out on some good opportunities. Thus, I started to be more straightforward and honest to people that I really want to connect with. Right now, there is someone that I want to express my honest self towards because I want to. I know that sounds like a weak explanation but I really do not have any other rational reason except that I would like to and I don’t expect anything in return. In fact, my straightforwardness is paying off because I feel happy and satisfied that I can be who I am without worrying about what other people think. This mindset is beneficial to my personal growth and well-being, and as a result, I am enjoying my life right now.