Vulnerability’s Voice: See Through Me

As a grubby little tomboy climbing trees, I longed to be seen. vulnerability

“Watch me, Dad!”

He didn’t see me because he wasn’t around. My mom was always there but the “Bad Dad” impact seems to override a lot of the “Good Mom” effect.

Once when he was there, I had run crying to him because my kitten was trapped between two tool benches in the basement. As I remember it, (sorry, Dad, if my recollection is wrong) he rushed with me back downstairs to rescue the trapped cat. When he saw how she had gotten her head caught and was not hurt, he laughed and lifted the poor little thing up and out, showing me how easily I could have done it. I had made a stupid mistake and he teased me about it.

I think I dimmed the light in my heart a little that day, afraid to risk the feeling of exposure and vulnerability. After that, I grew smaller, wanting to be invisible for a while.

Then came middle school and high school and I cried ‘watch me!’ to all the boys willing to look my way. Exhilarated to be noticed, I clambered up the pedestal which displayed the gold plate inscribed: “talented, pretty and smart !” I got good at balancing up there. Whenever I came crashing down, I climbed back up and fell again many more times.

What Women Want

Have you seen the movie called What Women Want?

I like it because it’s about how people, how women, hide their vulnerability, their true selves. It’s a story that makes us imagine what would happen if we could read each other’s thoughts.

Mel Gibson plays a typical male chauvinist (do we use that description anymore?) who runs an advertising firm. After a strange event involving a hair dryer, nail polish, and lightning, he wakes up able to literally hear women’s thoughts.vulnerability

One of the minor characters in the film is a mousy office worker who gets stepped on and ignored all day long. She is nondescript and sad but no-one notices. Mel Gibson’s boss character doesn’t even know she exists in his workspace until he hears her thoughts in passing. Her perspective of life in the office surprises him as he recognizes her mute cries for help. She wants to be seen.

Her scenes, including the one where the boss discovers she’s been missing and goes looking for her at home, remind us to be attentive to those overlooked people in our lives. People so unassuming and ordinary that we see right through them, like an old shower curtain just doing its job. This actor made me think of all the quiet characters in my periphery whose thoughts might shock me if I could overhear the stories swirling there. Their vulnerability is hidden by invisibility.

What We All Want

On the other hand, we all know those other characters who stand out and rarely get missed. The confident, beautiful women who seem to have what every woman wants. The men with unquestioned charm and confidence. Picture the models in fashion magazines displayed on every page. Imagine the actors and artists and entrepreneurs interviewed before the camera. The powerful ones unafraid to voice their thoughts, able to stand tall in front of us all.

We put these types on pedestals and tell them how much we love them. We do it because we hope their fairy tale lives are true and we want to believe in them.

Of course, it’s not all castles and happy endings. When their worlds come crashing down, the surprise lasts only a moment because we know these posed and powerful are just like us…fragile, unsteady. Their vulnerability is hidden by the brave part they’ve been playing.

What I want

I want you to think I’m smart, talented, and pretty. But I also want you to see through my masks and tell me you really see me and love me.

What’s funny is how we do a disservice to one another by refusing to see through the masks both types wear: the hidden characters and the pedestal people. Vulnerability is scary.vulnerability

I am always worried about what they will think of me. How can I imagine that they are not more focused on what I will think of them? Crazy.

Every once in a while, I glimpse a freedom in which I am completely vulnerable and unselfconscious. Sometimes when I walk my dogs in the neighborhood or meet friends at a restaurant, I forget to care how my hair looks or what my clothes say. Other times, I don’t worry about saying something dumb or being less than special. In those moments, I am neither magnificent nor unremarkable. I am alive and loved in the world.

So Ordinary

I still want to be seen.

As a not-so-young-anymore person, I do not want to get lost in the crowd.  Yet I also sense there’s a peculiar freedom that comes with being ordinary. Have you felt it?

Aging teaches lots of lessons about being ordinary. As I have gotten older, I realize I can hop down off of all my pedestals. I can stop posing to be noticed.

On the other hand, I can step out of the crowd wearing some crazy outfit and wave wildly to my family and friends. I am becoming free to be exactly me!

See Through Me

I wrote this song, See Through Me, because I can relate to being in both positions of vulnerability: the invisible girl and the pedestal girl.

When others see through me as just another face in the crowd, I trust those who love me to notice everything about me.

When I’m feeling proud and tall, I trust those who love me to see through all of my posturing and love me for who I truly am.

When I do fall, I know they’ll gently lift me up again.

When I say, “watch me,” they do!

See Through Me

Look at me, I’m oh so ordinary

Just a face to lose in the crowd

Can you see me clearly unremarkable

Like the shadow of a passing cloud

      I’m paper thin, light as a feather

See through me

 

On this pedestal I look so steady

See my skin, the finest porcelain

Should you dare to shine a light my way

See the shadow of the shape I’m in

      So paper thin, fragile as glass

See through me

 

Another song I sing related to this idea is Closer to Free, also found in my new 5-song EP, Closer to Free.

What Do You Want From Me?

christine dente wonders what you want her to write about

I have been writing and posting on this site for many years now.

In reviewing past posts and planning for the future, I am wondering what you’d like to hear from me:

More of the same or less, please?

A little of this and a little of that?

However you say it, say it here in the comment section. The lists below will help you decide.

Thanks for engaging in the journey of finding life in the bigger story!

What Do You Want to Know?

In future posts, would you like to know more about:

  • my personal and family life
  • my professional life
  • my creative life

Would you want to read articles about:

  • things I think about
  • parenting in hindsight
  • faith in everyday life
  • the creative process
  • Out of the Grey music
  • Christine Dente music
  • stories from the studio and tour bus
  • stories behind the songs
  • the recording process
  • songwriting techniques
  • vocal technique

 Things I Think About:

  1. Faith and God
  2. Fear and Freedom
  3. Mindfulness and Meditation
  4. Suffering and Struggle
  5. Grace and Growing older

Things I know about:

  1. Creativity
  2. Marriage
  3. Raising kids
  4. Songwriting
  5. Singing
  6. Out of the Grey music/ stories behind the songs
  7. Life on the road and in the studio

PLEASE add your thoughts in the COMMENT section below. Tell me what you want from me.

I will read, publish, and respond to each one.
OR you can respond to this post privately at christineotg@gmail.com

Thanks for joining me in finding life in the bigger story!

 

 

Winter Sun Lyrics

                                                  Winter Sun

You are the one that drew me here
Now that I’ve come, I find I am no nearer to you
Led by the light so dim, you didn’t even penetrate the skin
Oh Winter Sun

Promising all the answers
Knowing I could be captured with the information
Never to radiate the hidden heart or penetrate the skin
Oh Winter Sun
You’re a promise in the distance, Winter Sun

If I chase the light to find the heat
Will I feel the earth grow warm beneath my feet
Can I move beyond what you’ve begun
Oh Winter Sun

Leaving me cold and numb
Now I’m reaching in and holding out for some sensation
Burning inside of me, a flame so weak, I need a deeper touch
Oh Winter Sun
To know is not enough, oh Winter Sun

So I’ll chase the light to find the heat
And I’ll feel the earth grow warm beneath my feet
I got to move beyond what you’ve begun
Oh Winter Sun

And the shadows start to fall behind
Hope begins to rise
On the other side
I can see the other side
And I begin to come alive

So I chase the light to find the heat
And I feel the earth grow warm beneath my feet
I can move beyond what you’ve begun
Oh Winter Sun
Written by Christine Dente, Scott Dente and Phil Madeira