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Wear the scent of vulnerability

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I’ve been thinking lately about vulnerability - putting yourself in a position where you expose your true self and risk getting your feelings hurt.

I’ve always been the type to try and present myself as being well-composed and head- strong. You know, they type who’s got all their shit together, knows what they’re doing and has focus in their life. But lately I’ve been re-thinking this attitude. I’m increasingly beginning to realise that shielding your true self from your peers won’t get you very far. And it won’t feel good. For example - failed your driving test six times? Don’t want to be that person who failed their driving test six times? Well lying about it to all your friends isn’t going to make you feel any better. It might save you some initial stick but then you’re going to feel like a fraud.

Letting someone see when you’ve failed at something, you’ve made a huge cock-up of a situation or just did something totally and utterly stupid to embarrass yourself, means you’re letting your friends see the true you. And as a result your friendship is going to be a lot more genuine than if you try and cover up every slip up you make so you seem like a more perfect person.

As such I’ve started to notice all those around me who put themselves in a position of vulnerability every day. Inspiration from the celebrity kingdom includes:

Jennifer Lawrence- a woman who’s not afraid to speak her un-lady like mind, yet stands to many as the dream girlfriend. Lawrence has openly talked about how she was “a weirdo” as a child and suffered from anxiety problems. She now has a fan base of thousands who adore her for her blunt honesty and not trying to fit into the mould of previous Hollywood stars. From failing to elegantly finish off her interview at the BAFTA awards, instead blurting out “whatever, I’m so hungry” to admitting “If I didn’t have anything to do all day, I might not even put my pants on” Lawrence is loved for her candid remarks. 

Even Eminem, renowned for his tough exterior has opened up about his troubled childhood throughout his career. Eminem has often used the pain he felt in his personal life to bring intensity and authenticity into his music. His music often relates to his childhood rampant with stories of being bullied and neglect from his mother. In his recent album ‘Marshall Mathers LP 2’ Eminem takes a bold plunge and reaches out to his mother in ‘Headlights’. After years of publicly blaming his mother, he decides to create a song that acknowledges their difficult relationship but offers an emotional apology and willingness to forgive her.  Eminem bearing his personal life to the public arena in all its gory has gained him an unprecedented amount of dedicated fans who feel touched by his music.

Perhaps it is Lady Gaga however, who stands as the ultimate queen in winning fans over through her courage to speak openly about her struggles. Gaga has spoken about feeling different from the rest of her class mate, being bullied in high school as well as her battle with body image. The world has seen for themselves how Gaga has transformed from a social outcast to a strong, independent women fearless in her pursuit to create original art. As a result, all sorts of people, whether they are gay, fat, thin, ginger or black have related to Gaga’s difference and felt empowered by her achievements. 

Has admittance of personal struggles made these idols seem weaker? Does it taint their image as super stars? On the contrary it makes them relatable and wins them respect.

Striving to be flawless and unbreakable won’t win you any fans. More likely, people will be able to smell the bullshit and be put off. (The effect of Kanye and Kims' new ethereal music video parading their astounding beauty comes to mind.) The likes of Lawrence, Eminem and Gaga showcasing their imperfections and differences give them unprecedented credit. Comparing this to Kanye who prefers to present himself as a living God, it shows which tactic wins the most admiration.

It takes confidence to show vulnerability, to show the true you, ‘warts and all’. Fear of rejection, people being alienated by your differences or just not understanding, all go towards suppressing you into the status quo. However, the ability to let your barriers down is a strength. As such I advocate that we all wear the scent of vulnerability as it’s really a lot more alluring than the scent of fake perfection.

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