A few days ago I had a meeting with a Londres academic who potentially has a lot of power to make decisions about my life. During and immediately after the meeting I felt fine, but a little later I suddenly felt the vulnerability of my position. I lay awake in bed worrying about my mistakes, and how they might be interpreted. I worried that a breakdown in confidence halfway through the meeting would be looked upon poorly. I felt suddenly intensely jealous of people whose confidence never cracks.
It reminded me of what the Oracle by the Thamesis said to me recently about how one’s attitudes towards others often stem from one’s attitude towards oneself. What does jealousy of another mean except that you are not content with yourself and where you are? What does anger show except that you feel threatened?
I came home to Coldblow Farm last night and fell into a conversation with The Builder about vulnerabilities. It felt good to admit some of our own to each other. It is typically masculine to hide all vulnerabilities, to pretend they are not there, even to build strategies of aggression to ensure they can never be seen. To be made to feel vulnerabilties is not pleasant, though the Oracle tells me it can be important part of self-development. The vulnerabilities of the inner child can be felt and absorbed by the adult, and so become better integrated into everyday life. Or something.
The world does not encourage this, Londres does not encourage this, and even the left does not encourage this. Social success so often comes with a cast-iron confidence – or a facade of it – and vulnerability shown in a discussion easily reads as lack of confidence. I am rather ambivalent about allowing feelings of vulnerability that could reduce my ability to work with my peers. Perhaps in time the vulnerabilities will seem less important, will seem laughable, a mere trifle to be stepped over. Perhaps. But it also seems to me that we all need to change, to accept vulnerability in others without it turning into a questioning of their authority to speak.