In everyone’s life, there are moments of strength and then there are moments of weakness. In the moments of strength, we feel invincible, ready to take on any sort of challenge and willing to face any of our fears. In the moments of weakness, we feel beaten, vulnerable and fragile. It is as if even the gentlest of breeze could shatter us into countless pieces. I could choose the glory of strength to talk about, and maybe I will sometime, but not now.

Welcome to the 19th post of Narrating The Dream and this time, we are discussing the concept of vulnerability, the dark stuff that nightmares and other such monsters are made up of.

Feeling exposed is how we express vulnerability. A feeling that, if you are unfortunate enough to experience, leaves you feeling dirty and used even if all the ‘dirty’ portion happened in your mind. It can be a joke to someone else, or maybe some harmless teasing or even just a little fun. But to you, it is breaking of a trust, no matter how old that trust was.

Vulnerability is a feeling that strips down all our guards and leaves us prone to harmful and regrettable things. Sadly, it raises disgust not only towards others but also to ourselves as a part of mind that once again is in a ‘safe zone’ tries to figure out the unescapable query. ‘Why did this happen to me?’

This question, no longer deserving an answer since it already is too late, only leads to self-disgust that further devolves into a mess of nasty emotions no one deserves to ever experience. A girl who just went through (verbal) sexual harassment would be disgusted at the hooligans but will also wonder if she sent out the wrong signals to others. There will be doubt now in her mind that would slowly taint every thought and choice, slowly altering her personality. Unfortunately, this is just a best-case scenario.

At this point, some might wonder if things would change if the victim raises his/her voice. There is a possibility that the vulnerability would fade away for the instant. There is also a possibility that things would get even worse. I cannot predict the outcome with complete certainty. But the self-doubt will still come. Maybe not immediately. But later when the person sits in a moment of solitude and tries to relax, the thought will haunt the mind.

Indecent proposals, unpermitted (and uncomfortable) touching and worse things are also possible. In fact, they do happen. Just because we don’t talk about it, we don’t (always) hear about it or just absolutely ignore it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or will just go away. This method isn’t effective for ostriches and neither it is for us.

Sometimes, the worst part isn’t only the event itself but the aftermath as well. Remember that mess of nasty emotions I mentioned? They include, to name a few, self-doubt, ‘dirtiness’, self-consciousness, anger, guilt, shame, etc. Well, I will be honest about this part. On their own, these things aren’t enough to be that worse as I make them out to be. It is missing one ingredient that would give it all the aforementioned worse quality. What is it?

It’s the judgement and pity in others’ eyes that hurts. Because they don’t understand, or have forgotten. And unless you share it with someone who understands and can share your burden, it will fester within. And this ‘darkness’ will fester within until either you get free of its grip or it consumes you.

So what can one do? I aim not to get preachy as I say this: Be careful. This world has as many monsters as there are heroes, probably more actually. Be vigilant and learn self-defence. And if you get the special status of being one of those who are the ears for these ‘victims’ seek for comfort, then don’t judge and listen well. Because by confiding in you, they are telling you how much they have trust in you. No matter how they appear on the outside, they are on the verge of being consumed by their dark emotions within and only you can help them come out of it.

But I wish none of you may ever know how much it helps. My readers, I hope that none of you ever get to be either the victim or the comforting one. And I curse you of being skinned to death if you are one of the abusers. Apologize to them if you hurt someone. That helps as well. And remember that what goes around comes around as well.


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