Trust and vulnerability

Trust is a wonderful wonderful thing. Those of you who know me will be entirely unsurprised that I think this (whoops, my optimism is showing), and similarly by the fact that I actively enjoy trusting people. To a greater or lesser extent, of course, based on past experience and history, but everyone in my life – especially lovers – is there because I trust them.

I recently went through a bit of a (non-relationship-related) crisis, which would have been hell except for how it showed me the amazing network of support that surrounds me. On one notable day, my partner The Rake was in constant contact with me, reassuring me about the future, our future, practical considerations, and his absolute faith in me. We are a team, he said, and you are not doing this alone. My lover (of whom more anon) was in touch from his travels abroad with business and legal advice, and boosted my confidence spectacularly. Another lover began thinking of business contacts she wanted to introduce me to. And current lovers, ex-lovers, metamours, friends got in touch with expressions of support, confidence, hugs, ideas, fighting words, soothing words… I’ve rarely had such an incredible outpouring of support. You know who you are. My gratitude is ongoing, and almost beyond words.

On the very worst day, I literally wrapped myself in their support. Gifts, handmade jewellery, someone’s favourite scent on me, clothes we bought. I felt as if I was armoured in love.

Of course, the corollary to trust is vulnerability. You can’t just blithely say you trust someone without trusting them with anything. The scary thing is reaching out, displaying those parts of yourself you’d rather keep hidden – the things you don’t like, the things you wish you were better at, the things you wish you had more control over. To openly say ‘I am scared’ or ‘I fucked up’ or ‘I love you’ can be terrifying; you are letting go of control in the hope that someone will be there to catch you. To offer up that vulnerability and truth is taking the risk that perhaps they won’t catch you, that they don’t want what you are offering, and you will fall.

The very scariness of that, the risk of it, is what makes it so heart-stoppingly wonderful when you find you were right to trust someone. I am increasingly thinking of the amazing people around me as my chosen family. Kind and wise and inspiring – and flawed, of course, as are we all – these are the people I want near me for the bad times and the good. This is what I’ve gained by trusting and loving and taking that risk, over and over: I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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2 responses to “Trust and vulnerability

  1. Very well said. Giving trust can be difficult for me for the very reasons you said. Some life experiences of doing so have burned me. I’ve always been a rather private person in some areas and slow to let people in. I’m just as slow to let them go if the time comes. I can’t seem to do one without the other.

  2. That does make it hard. I suppose, weirdly, it’s a bit like safer sex practices, in that you have to determine what level of risk you are comfortable with vs what kind of enjoyment you want to get out of it – after all, the only truly safe sex is total abstinence, which to my mind is not much fun 😉 For me, having (luckily) never been too badly burned, I enjoy being very emotionally open and trusting, and running the risk of being hurt that way. And yet, I am choosy about who I trust and who I let into my life; I’m not blindly going out and having unprotected emotional interchanges all over the place… Hmm. Somehow, I find myself distracted by the idea of an emotional condom.

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