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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Crumb

The Overlap of Creative and Vulnerable

I spent a lot of my life thinking vulnerability equals weakness. Discussing my failures, or hell, even having failures, was the sign of someone frail, someone who couldn't handle life's curveballs, someone who no one wanted to listen to, and more so, who didn't deserve to be

listened to. The perfectionism I strived to achieve meant an endless series of failed report cards that I made sure no one would see.

I ran the 2017 Chicago Marathon in more than 5 hours. At the time, I felt completely ashamed. In fact, right now, this writing might be the first time I've ever really said it aloud. It was nearly an hour more than my best marathon time. And despite my years of skillfully hiding my "flaws," this was all so public - I'd raised money for Danny Did, more than $11K, and I had so many people watching me. I had, I believed, failed them all. Failed myself. Failed Megan.

Megan's death exposed raw the darkest parts of me whether I wanted them out in the world or not. I've never been particularly good at small talk, but when a store clerk asked me how I was, I found myself responding with something like, "well, my best friend was found dead in her apartment, so not great." For once, I didn't have it in me to be Miss Hospital Corners. All of a sudden the thing I feared most - being vulnerable - was the only thing I knew how to do. To my great surprise, this led to some of the best and deepest conversations I have ever had. While some people were (understandably) weirded out by me, many found it to be an opening to tell me about grief they'd experienced, about someone amazing they'd lost. Through those encounters (and, let's be honest, a whole lot of therapy), I learned that vulnerability is quite honestly the polar opposite of weakness: it's a strength, an accomplishment all on its own.

I've also spent so much of my life wanting to write. Knowing that my feelings, my mood, and any memories I want to seal in time are best captured by my own unique prose; that writing is one of the few the outlets that can bring me a kind of inner peace I find nowhere else. It took years for me to recognize that writing is a skill I possess, not something that comes inherently easily to everyone. Which of course is not to say that it comes easily to me, exactly, just that it feels second nature in terms of being something that I'm simply supposed to do. So I've always found a way to write, and I've always kept it private. Because what I've feared most is that disclosure of my writing would expose me as this vulnerable person I so loathed.

This is my very long, roundabout way of explaining that this blog is my attempt to embrace vulnerability, utilize my skillset, and find the tranquility I crave all at once. I vow to publicly share the ups and the downs; the good runs and the bad; the feelings of inadequacy along with the feelings of success and joy. I'm sure it will be banal at times, maybe semi-exciting at others, but I promise it will always be authentic.

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