Vulnerability is shitty. It is the absolute worst thing (for me). It’s hard and it hurts because for the people that you keep in your life, you lose others and it stings. As someone who used to just trust everyone right away and wanted to spill even my most vulnerable secrets and stories, I’ve been burned so often.
If you haven’t heard of Brene Brown, you need to. She’s phenomenal. And one of the things she studies is vulnerability. And it’s really interesting what she’s found. Vulnerability breeds vulnerability, and when you’re vulnerable with someone, and they are vulnerable back, it creates a bond. You can probably remember a time where that was true for you. I know of a few.
But so often vulnerability feels almost like a one-sided thing, doesn’t it? Where you’re the one being vulnerable and everyone is just staring you down like Harry experienced with the Sorting Hat. Because you didn’t want to be vulnerable then, you kind of got forced into it. It’s the shittiest feeling of the ways you can feel vulnerability in my mind. You want to yell “STOP LOOKING AT ME” or make things go faster, which Harry did when he kept chanting “Not Slytherin”. Yes, of course, it had to do with being scared of Slytherin but I could also see it as his anxiety of being up there on display.
It reminds me of when you get up in class to give a speech and it’s hard and awkward. For me it was always hard the first couple seconds, but then I went full Cher from Clueless and got really confident. But that doesn’t always happen, especially when you feel like you’re being judged, and not in a fun competition Speech & Debate way.
This chapter also made me think a lot about how vulnerable you are when you keep something to yourself. Dean kind of off-handedly, and in a way that’s supposed to be funny mentions that his mom had to tell his dad that she was a witch after they’d already started dating (maybe even married, who knows). Could you imagine the level of shared vulnerability that had to have occurred in order for them to still be in a loving trusting relationship? I imagine the disbelief, and eventually acceptance, with conversations along the way. The vulnerability that had to come from him, probably of distrust because how could she keep that from him? etc.
My final observation from this chapter came in the form of McGonagall, and it said her face was stern when the first years entered. I realized that, like I said before, being vulnerable needs to be intentional. Sure, McGonagall would grow to love these kids just like all good teachers do, but our first sight of her isn’t the picture of the idea of someone you can be vulnerable with. Is it important sometimes to give off the vibe that someone can’t be vulnerable with you? I think not.
How does this all tie into my faith? Well, I think of 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 which says in the ESV translation “We have spoken freely to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.”
Never forget you have a God in heaven who loves you every single step of your journey through vulnerability. Especially when it’s hard. And remember that by being free in your vulnerability, does a lot to set other people free too