The stories worth telling are the ones that make you feel vulnerable. The more vulnerable a story makes you feel the more likely it is original and interesting.

Everyone has a different tolerance for vulnerability. Some, including myself, take ourselves very seriously. We have a lot of pride and only want to be viewed in the best light. Survival in the animal kingdom relies on strength; the absence of showing weakness.

But, we are not animals. We are people. People can defy some of the seemingly natural laws.

It may be human nature to lie, to steal, and to compete in the survival of the fittest. But, we as a people have moved forward. We try to lie less and make axioms that discourage dishonesty; “Honesty is always the best policy.” We try not to steal and make laws prohibiting specific methods of theft. We try to respect and stand up for the disabled. Our cities are beginning to become ADA Compliant. We are beginning to recognize bullying as immoral. As a people, we are learning the good to do and are on the path to following it. Each day we are removing ourselves further from the law of the jungle. But, we are not fully removed yet.

Compassion for those who struggle is not all inclusive. Each year we will learn about a new struggle and adjust our attitudes toward those who do. It will take time and education. Some struggles cannot be understood by those who have never experienced them. Education begins when those with new struggles are brave enough to speak out about them. Education continues as more speak out, emboldened by the first voice.

I do not believe I am a first voice in any regard. And I’m glad. That role is a difficult one. I may just be an early voice about many topics. I believe for most of these topics I will not publish until I am a late voice, because admitting to myself in writing is a feat within itself. It is one thing to speak out to your peers who may not receive your message well, its another to not accept your own message fully.

I hope to have my hand in changing the world, for the better, by being an early voice in the future.

There are some who believe our world has become too soft. They believe that there was time when people were tougher and handled their struggles without complaint. But perhaps the truth is, they have not admitted to themselves their own struggles and have engaged in regrettable activity to conceal this reality from themselves and others.

If each of us can admit our struggles to ourselves and to others, we can become aware of them and address them. Addressing these struggles will help curb regrettable actions and conflict with our peers.

The desire to appear strong causes one to create a mask; a mask formed from defensiveness, the inability to be questioned, and potentially, preemptive hostility. This defensive posturing leads to problems that could have otherwise been avoided.

The cure is to realize that no one is perfect—ourselves included. Accepting this and accepting vulnerability allows us to open up about our struggles with our peers and this will be the path to finding a solution; not masking a problem.

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