1. The Other Livvy

    This is wonderful and worryingly familiar… I go out of my way to never appear vulnerable and have suspected that that does keep others at a distance. I kind of judge woman who are too reliant on their men and struggle to exist alone, but they do always have that man to lean on! This has certainly given me lots to think about. Let me know if the staring experiment works – I must give it a try! Xxx

    • Thanks for reading! I’m not sure I’ll be able to do the staring for five seconds, but I’m going to start with basic, fleeting, eye contact and see where it leads. 🙂

  2. I lived that Christian culture, so there were a few moments of shudder for me.

    I have been thinking about what I call ‘being a more whole person’ which is perhaps a little bit the same. I notice that there is a work Constance, a friend Constance and a fuck buddy Constance, and they are all a bit different. I work in IT, and it is essential that I never be seen as the ‘weak woman’ but I am trying to figure out how to be a bit more human, which does mean being more vulnerable.

    I’m afraid I have no answers, but I’m very much interested in seeing what you find out?

    • I am a bit different depending on my audience as well. I think it’s OK to let different parts of our personality shine for different needs and interactions, but it is tricky to make sure we still feel comfortable with each iteration of ourselves and that none stray too far from the whole.

      As for the Christian bit, I’m glad I was able to let it go when I did, but I still struggle with a certain amount of resentment for causing me so much angst during what should have been my fun, experimental youth.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this, Maria. I struggle with vulnerability to a ridiculous degree, so much so that I literally have to force myself to share emotions with the people I love (my daughter is the great exception). I taught myself how to be strong and independent, but it came at the price of fearing my own needs. As a result, I routinely ruined opportunities for real intimacy without even realizing it. I’m still working out a balance and I’m still intensely uncomfortable with the thought that sharing my feelings could make me seem needy. I suspect I’ll always struggle with it. Your post was oddly comforting. I’m definitely not interested in landing a Christian man (that would be a nightmare for everyone involved!) but in the interest of continuing to work on being more open, this was was wonderful to read.

    • Malin, I’m so happy you liked this. I feel like you are beautifully vulnerable through your blog. Honestly, when writing something a bit more personal like this, I use your work as a kind of touchstone 🙂

      I feel like blogging is a good middle ground for me to be a bit more open. I can share feelings here that are harder to say out loud. In fact, when I started blogging last year I vowed that I was going to share photos and fiction only. No feelings! Ha! So happy I’ve come around because it feels good and safe.

      What you said about ruining opportunities for intimacy really struck a chord as I sometimes feel like I’m so used to being impenetrable that I think I’m not missing anything at all. I’m not even aware if what I’m missing out on. I guess knowing is half the battle, as they say 😉

  4. Totally getting this post!

    “I feel like it’s such an accomplishment to not “need” people too much” – oh yes, that!

    “I appreciate it when someone allows me to see more vulnerable aspects of their character. I like to help people, I want to “be there” for them.” – oh yes, that too! Let me help you (I want to and it reassures me) but if you try and do the same for me I will run away…

    To be fair, I have got better and I am pretty open with my friends these days (it wasn’t always that way – I had a meltdown once and a friend said, ‘but you never say these things, you’re the one who is always fine) but with men it’s a different story – I have such a need to not be needy and I *usually* have precious little time for their baggage. But sometimes that means I become my own worst enemy. Two examples from recent weeks…

    Man 1: Lovely, complicated affair with a man who tugs my heart strings. Here I find myself wanting to help him deal with the stuff life throws at you in a way that normally I have no time or interest in. I quietly internally pondered my feelings and how the intensity of this was so unusual and discombobulating but didn’t tell him any of this. Then he had a wobble and all of this ‘stuff’ came out of my mouth about how weird the last few weeks had been for me too. He looked at me with a mix of astonishment and sadness and just said ‘but you are so confident and happy about *everything*, I thought you were fine with this!’

    Man 2: Lovely, uncomplicated arrangement, doesn’t tug on my heart strings but still very much valued, mainly because I find myself changing because of it, yet independently of it. But he asked about my Mum. Cue cry-talking and the accompanying adrenalin rush that takes you from sober to borderline drunk in one glass of wine. It was actually really lovely and I sent stupid drunk messages all the way home saying as much, but the next morning I woke up with ‘beer fear’ and promptly got on to a group WhatsApp of trusted girlfriends to lament my ridiculousness. The response from one of them? “It is ok to be normal sometimes, you know.”

    But I am not normal so while I quietly give man 1 space because I don’t want my angst to get in the way of him sorting out his own and him getting his head around ‘us’, I badger man 2 into meeting up far sooner than we would probably normally see each other again, mainly because I need to urgently replace the memory of cry-talking drunk person with happy fun hook-up.

    *sigh* *shakes head at self*

    Your blog is like a little therapist’s couch, my dear! xxxx

    • Ah! I actually got a little twist in my gut at both of your scenarios!! As for 1, my first real boyfriend was a bit (more than a bit) of an emotional succubus and now, while I do feel most comfortable being the calm, reassuring, shoulder to lean on with my friends, when it comes to new men with complicated lives, I try to “be there” just enough without getting too close to the fire.

      As for 2, SO MUCH THIS! I have been told that exact thing (it’s OK to be normal/human) by more than one friend. I know it’s OK but it is terrifying!

      Also, thank you for mentioning your “lovely, uncomplicated arrangement.” I have one of those as well. He doesn’t tug my heart strings either, (nor does he want to, I don’t think) but I get a lot (a lot) out of the situation and have to stop myself from overanalyzing on occasion and ruining a good thing because it isn’t traditional or is hard to explain to my monogamous friends.


  5. Is telling someone I miss them, if I truly do, even though of course I’ll be just fine until I see them again, important?

    Yes I think so, because it is about communication not about being needy or demanding but simply about conveying knowledge to another person. How can they ever know you if you do not share even the simplest of details? I think the issue is that so often we have experienced being manipulated by others, often our parents, through ‘communication’ like this and so when we hear it, rather taking it at face value we have a tendency to read to much into it.

    I also think our modern day world has stripped us so often of simple connections with people. Just being with someone, a friend, a lover, a relation with no expectations is something that we seem to have forgotten how to do. We must always be ‘doing’ something with someone rather than just ‘being’.


    • Thanks Molly! You’re totally right, it’s important to let people know how we feel, but it’s difficult sometimes. Not only to tell them, but to believe when they tell us. For the exact reason you mentioned. Past manipulations. I think we’d all have a much easier time if we could take everyone at face value. Also, just being with someone, spending time together with no expectations, is hugely important.

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