hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Saturday, March 14, 2015

vulnerability and the strong woman

i heard this rumor recently that to have friends, one needs to be vulnerable. ok maybe that was too broad of a generalization but it got me thinking.

at all these weddings i've attended i listen intently to the speeches that the best man or maid of honor gives for these brides and grooms and i consider my inventory of friends. i wonder for myself, who of these people in my life would ever speak about me with such depth? who would shed tears of joy that isn't family? who could say that they knew me thru the good times and the bad?

i don't have a lot of really close friends. if i were honest, i would say that i've only had less than a handful that i can truly call my best friends (outside of my spouse) and their existence in my timeline of life is fairly spread out. and actually, i'm not even sure that those people realized that i considered them my best friends. in fact, i'd say that recently, i've been so far removed from my friends that i probably wouldn't have someone i could run to if i needed running. then that brought me to the thought of "running". when have i ever ran to somebody because i just couldn't handle what life was throwing my way? ONCE. it's only happened once. and then i paused.

i am very rarely openly vulnerable. i'm a fixer. i analyze everything to death. i dissect to the point of ridiculousness and then i solve. i make a decision and it's done. discussing the process or the decision is so unheard of for me that the last time i was told to see a therapist, the therapist pretty much kicked me out. she said that i didn't really need her. i keep things simple in my life so coming across complexities are such rare occasions. i'm pretty content and possibly... boring.

my "friends" who have complexities who decide to share their issues with me seem to come looking for a solution or a listening ear. i've learned that earlier in my life i applied my cold logic to their situation and my solutions weren't always well received. i figured out later that people just need you to listen. so i've evolved. i want to say that these friends look to me as their friend but i'm still not the one they latch on to. is it the lack of reciprocation? i'm starting to think that people think i don't need friends. hmmm..  ponderous.

i recognize that friendship takes work, effort, time, interaction, frequency and maybe even proximity. oh .. and patience. something i don't have enough of. but vulnerability, open vulnerability, is this quality truly a necessity in finding lasting friendships? nobody realizes just how sensitive and vulnerable i actually am. i've worked so hard to be the "strong woman". i've spent a lifetime building the persona, the armor that protects the inner workings of me. the only person that has met that truth is my husband. there's no hiding it from the person that spends everyday with you. but everyone needs friends. friendships are cherished. and hugs should be given to even the strongest of people. if men can have good friends, even great friends, and men are the standard for "strength" then why not strong women? women who aren't openly vulnerable?