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Live boldly, laugh and make art

To live as an open beamed ceiling

The ceiling in the office building was open; the beams were exposed, the wiring was visible. The ceiling was honest, it wasn’t hiding behind drywall and plaster. As if the ceiling was saying, “Here I am. This is me.” The ceiling was willing to be vulnerable.

stencil (6)

We start life as an open beamed ceiling, and then, as we grow up, we start to add drywall and plaster to our ceiling, hiding what we really feel. We put on masks, and hide.

What do we want to do? What do we love?

“What happens when people open their hearts?”
“They get better.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Maybe someone laughed at your dream. Or didn’t understand what you said. So you started to hide; you covered up your heart.

Being vulnerable, exposing your wiring, showing your beams, was painful.

And, each day, each year of hiding, added more plaster and more drywall to who you are. A mask. A mask that was becoming hard to take off.

You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it. ― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta Click To Tweet

Rip off the dry-wall, take off the mask

Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, talks about how important it is to be vulnerable. To show how we really feel, is to be really alive.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable”.― Brené Brown

The word vulnerable is really old. According to Therarus.com the word vulnerable comes from 1595-1605; < Late Latin vulnerābilis, equivalent to Latin vulnerā (re) towound + -bilis

To be vulnerable is to be willing to be wounded.

Are you willing to be vulnerable? Are you willing to live your life as an open-beamed ceiling? Will you take off your mask? Will you take off your mask and show us who you really are?

Will you let yourself be seen?

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
― Brené Brown

To show your artwork is to be vulnerable. To share a story is to be vulnerable. To tell a friend what you think is to be vulnerable. To ask someone for coffee is to be vulnerable. To make a new friend is to be vulnerable. To let someone read a story you wrote is to be vulnerable. To love someone is to be vulnerable.

“Vulnerability really means to be strong and secure enough within yourself that you are able to walk outside without your armor on. You are able to show up in life as just you. That is genuine strength and courage. Armor may look tough, but all it does is mask insecurity and fear.”
― Alaric Hutchinson, Living Peace

Show up in life as just you. ― Alaric Hutchinson, Living Peace Click To Tweet

To be alive is to be vulnerable.

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

May we live as open-beamed ceilings. Risking failure, being honest, and living without a mask.

Are you willing to be vulnerable? Will you be an open-beamed ceiling and risk being vulnerable? Will you show up in life as just you?

As always I love to hear from you. Click here to comment, or if you are on the blog, just scroll to the bottom of the page.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    Reminds me of Spaghetti Warehouses. The train cars and the open ceilings.

  • Susan W A

    Pamela … you demonstrate this concept in every post. I am supported by you to be vulnerable. This is definitely an area of personal growth for me … to be bold in honoring both the “good” and the “not yet what I want” of who I am. Of course I accomplish that acceptance some of the time, but I’m working to be more consistent. For me, I don’t categorize it as a self-esteem issue because I value myself, but rather I view it as a confidence issue, being self-assured enough to take off the mask, and to actually realize that I can support others by demonstrating that “courage” (because they may be hiding behind a mask that I mistake for “perfection”.)
    Thanks for your thought-provoking analogies.

    • Hello Susan,
      So nice to see you again, and, I always see you. Susan, the real one, without a mask. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your thoughts here.
      You made a good point. Of how we need to love the “not yet what I want” of who we are.
      Growing, learning, and honoring where we are today.
      Wishing you all my best,

  • That’s the pep talk we need from time to time 🙂 To allow yourself to be open and vulnerable means that you are actually self-assured and comfortable with yourself and your art. It takes courage to show yourself as you really are and not care about what others think. It takes practice too, I think.

    • Hello Dinaria Tengri,
      I agree, it does take practice. I say, “I don’t care what people think.” But, I do. I just care less and less each day. There is such joy in creating, it doesn’t matter if people like or dislike what I make. The joy is in the making, not in the good or bad reviews.
      Wishing you all my best.

      • You’re asolutely right. Each time I post a new review or essay I just want to hide under my blanket and never come out 🙂 It’s important to keep in mind that you’re doing it because you love wiritng, not because you’re craving feedback.

  • Robert Ranck

    A beautiful thought, Pamela. An especially revealing thought about one’s own internal structure and wiring.

    For me, it is an interestingly new way to look at this “vulnerability”thing that nearly everyone says you must expose before your writing achieves validity.

    • Hello Robert,
      So nice to hear from you.
      When you read someone’s writing, do you feel more of a connection to the author if they share something about their life?
      I have read that a character in a story or a book, is more believable if you show their good and bad side, as people are not all good, or all bad.
      So, maybe, when we write about our life, if we only show the good, our writing lacks depth. Or lacks shadows. Because we are not all good. We have bad too.
      We are not perfect. And that makes us real.

  • Talia

    well said Pamela.