What Do You Do With a Vulnerability Hangover?

What Do You Do With a Vulnerability Hangover? | BeckyLMcCoy.com

What do you do with a vulnerability hangover? Seriously. I want to know.

Last week, Babble published my response to Patton Oswalt’s facebook post about the 102 days since his wife died. From the moment the piece went live, I felt like all of my insides were shaking. Could I call my editor and ask her to revoke the piece? Could I shut my blog down and hide from social media so no one could find me?

Brene Brown talks about the “vulnerability hangover” quite a bit. There are plenty of blog posts and articles that define it. But what do you do when you’ve got one?

The day I wrote the piece for Babble, I watched the episode from The Office when Jim and Pam get married. I bawled. Here I was, writing this piece about the reality of widowhood while watching a portrayal of the beginning of a wonderful, quirky (albeit fictitious) couple’s life together. The irony was overwhelming.

Rabbit trail: Did you know the Halpert-Beasley wedding website is still a thing? I just avoided writing this post for a few minutes by googling it. Just in case you’re curious, you should check it out.

The weekend has come and gone and I’m still feeling exposed. That’s what a vulnerability hangover is, really: feeling exposed, but having nothing to show for it. Maybe the post will go viral. More likely, it won’t. But my heart will still be there, in that post, ready for anyone to read. Just the thought of tens, hundreds, or thousands of people reading those exceptionally raw words makes me shiver.

Have you felt that way? What was the vulnerability hangover like for you? Did you find a cure?

It seems like I may have to ride this one out and awkwardly cower in the corners of life until the waves of attention and emotion have passed. I’m hoping someone out there has a better solution. Help a girl out!

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  1. HappyGoStuckey on August 12, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Becky. I am so proud of your vulnerability even if it led to a slight hangover. I truly believe that we cannot help or impact people unless they see US. The parts they can identify with, the parts they themselves would love to hide. You did this brave thing, and I completely think it’s natural to feel all, “WAIT. I changed my mind, I want that part of myself back.” I have felt a similar feeling when meeting with an editor and then again 6 weeks later when I got the “thanks, but no thanks” letter and I immediately felt very “cower-y in the corner” too.
    But here’s what I know. We can do these hard things when it opens the door to share ourselves and help others find some encouragement or comfort or just a general sense of “me-too-ness.” We can do these things, when it would be wrong to Not do them. to not share. To not be true to the artists God made us to be.

    All that to say, cower for a minute or two, and then get up and know you did the brave, courageous thing.

  2. Emily Lofgren on August 18, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Becky, I know what you mean about the vulnerability hangover, but I wish I had a better solution! I think my coping mechanism is to check stats and Facebook to see how people are responding to what I shared when I was vulnerable, which is actually a bad idea! If people aren’t responding by reading or liking, I can sometimes think that maybe I made a mistake in sharing. However, just getting the writing out there is what I feel like I’m called to do. While I don’t know how God is specifically speaking to you, it’s very clear that people respond to your work. It really seems like you were created for this! Keep stepping out in faith and being brave!

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