Creativity | Creating through Vulnerability

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I had a eureka moment a few months ago while I was watching videos on YouTube of my hero, Dr. Brene Brown, talk about vulnerability.

In one of these videos, Dr. Brown speaks to the notion of vulnerability being the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change; something which didn’t resonate me until that moment.

At the time, I was trying to write new stories and articles for my writing portfolio, but I was suffering from major writer’s block. Sitting in front of my computer night after night, I couldn’t even muster a few words, let alone think about a topic that deeply resonated with me or that I was passionate enough to talk about.  

What I didn’t realize up to that point was that I did have the words and a story to tell, I just wasn’t reaching deep enough within myself.

I started thinking about what I could create by being more vulnerable through my own work. Stories pertaining to my own personal life; things I could write powerfully and authentically about through my own first-hand experience.

I had a few ideas, but this was a terrifying thought. Writing openly about my personal life and my own experiences was something I’d never really explored before because I feared the negative outcomes of what might happen. What if people don’t like what I have to say? Or – worse yet – if I’m open about what I’m going through, then the world would know intimate details me and my life.  What if people judge me? That was the scariest part.

But taking a risk, I decided to push past the fear, and write from the heart. And, surprisingly, the words started to flow.

I started to write about something very personal I was going through: being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. And I didn’t hold back on any detail.

After I finished writing the piece, I cried. Not because it played a very real reminder of the issues I was facing, but because I knew it was one of the best things I’ve ever written; I’d never been so open, honest, raw and real.

Vulnerability has been at the forefront of my writing ever since. And I’ve created some of the most beautiful, authentic and impactful work I’ve ever accomplished by leaning into it.

It has enabled me to create a deeper connection to myself; my emotions, thoughts and feelings. It has also helped me create a deeper connection with others. I’ve received an outpouring of support and understanding. I’ve even created new relationships (I’ve gained a pen pal across the world who is going through a similar situation!)

When thinking about vulnerability and creativity, one thing is now crystal clear: the two are inarguably intertwined. In the words of Dr. Brown, “vulnerability equals uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” And creativity is the thing which dismantles our fear surrounding these things, making space for possibility and ideas to flourish.  

Chrissy Abram