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  • Kanyia Charles

I Can't Swim

I can’t swim. Which many people find weird being that I have always known the beach since I was in diapers, and I love the water so much. But I can’t swim. Not that I haven’t tried, I actually really want to learn. I just can’t swim.

So I was in Grenada for a vacation for about two weeks, and we are out on the beach like every day. And my cousin (who can swim) told me “you have to trust the water, let it control you”. And I would always reply “the ocean isn’t my friend.” To which she would say, “neither is it your enemy”.

On the ride back from the beach and I was just thinking to myself about all of the past experiences that I have encountered throughout my two completed years of high school. Mainly the recent drama that has occurred between me and a former friend. Within that same situation, I came to the realization that I just dislike vulnerability. I hate allowing myself to become vulnerable, or at least showing it, because that means I’m giving someone else the power to hurt me. However, isn’t that what love is? When you give someone the power to hurt you, but trusting them not to. I saw that quote one day thinking, “why on earth would I risk that?”

A few days later as my trip was coming to an end, I was binge watching the show on Netflix, “Queer Eye”. And Karamo Brown, one of the Fab5 members said this quote which really spoke to me. “Vulnerability isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.” I have always thought that being vulnerable was a sign of weakness. And as I began to understand the quote, I realized what he really meant.

I like to think of vulnerability as a “what if” situation. Being vulnerable is allowing yourself to take a chance. “What if they think i’m weak? What if they think i’m annoying?” Then surround yourself with more supportive people. And what if they don’t? What if you do open up, and you actually end up feeling a lot better? These are the things that you have to think about. Forget about other people’s opinions, think about yourself.Letting people in is okay, opening up to people is okay. Crying is okay. Asking for help is something that we all should do when we really need it.

Think like a leader. The greatest leaders are vulnerable because they have to be. All for the same reasons. You’ll be holding yourself back from seeing yourself at your full potential if you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable. Be open to getting help. Be open to discussing others views even if it may differ from your own. Most importantly, be open to failure. One of the main reason we all fear vulnerability is because we are afraid to fall. In turn, we run away without even trying first. What we don't realize is that "failure isn't the opposite of success, it is a part of it." -Queer Eye.

I’m known to always be the “strong” one. The one who uplifts others, gives other people advice. I never liked to talk about the problems of my own because I thought of it as a weakness. And I didn't allow myself to "feel" because of it. However, having strength isn’t all about fighting and having to be powerful all the time. Sometimes to be strong, you have to learn how to let go and let loose. It’s a huge step in moving forward. Being vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can do.

So no, I can’t swim. But I definitely will learn next summer. And this time, I won’t hold back and I will trust the water.

#vulnerability #SelfCare #selfimprovements

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