VULNERABILITY IN THE HIPS
By: Lauren Anderson
So, last week I got to go see one of my favorite artists, Janelle Monae, live in concert.
It was everything I wanted it to be and more.
The whole place shook with excitement and energy. And it was so loud, the venue was practically vibrating. The album she is touring is particularly potent because it marks a new level in her career and is also very personal. It speaks directly about being a young black woman in America right now, and a deeply sexual awakening.
The courage to come out and be yourself in spite of all the hate or backlash– or let’s face it– safety concerns, is not lost on her fans. She has always been an innovative and wonderful musician (in my humble opinion), but before her music always seemed to lean more towards dance-able, esoteric, space nerdery.
But this album? I think the fans responded with such vigor because the album shared so much truth.
And as someone who tries her best to share my deep truth week after week right here in this blog, (and in general,) I really appreciate it when other people do it as well. Both as a fan, and in my real life relationships.
In my experience, speaking my truth out into the world has only ever been rewarded. Even if it’s a hard topic. Even if it’s dark or painful.
I think because most of our lives are spent at an arm’s length away from each other. Perhaps people respond to vulnerability because it’s a bridge to closeness. When someone reaches out and shares their truth, it invites the other people listening to recognize themselves in someone else.
Even if the experience they’re sharing is unique, people cue into the fear or pain or feeling alone, or joy or whatnot. And that bonds us. Almost instantly. It encourages empathy. What a remarkable thing!
So if vulnerability can provide the bridge to each other that we’re all secretly longing for, why don’t more of us do it? Why is it still so hard?
If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because even though it’s rewarding, vulnerability is no small thing. It’s takes energy and intention and courage. And I know from experience that just because you may make the leap to try it one time, or here and there, doesn’t mean that you always can do it. Doesn’t mean that it gets easier.
And sometimes you might not be ready to face your own truth, let alone share it with others.
I think that’s why it’s always such a big deal when a public figure chooses to do it.
So there I was, dancing in the aisle as Janelle Monae rocks our world. Swaying back and forth and letting her music move me to a point of transcendence. And if that sounds extra– well, it WAS.
I was so extra that night, the concert felt like a ceremony. A ritual concocted to celebrate a truth we rarely get to see in the media we consume. And I was so there for it.
In fact, I was so in the moment that I didn’t even notice my left hip pop out of socket.
When my friends and I left the concert that night, I recalled feeling something weird in my hips, but I didn’t think much of it. I wore stupid shoes and the balcony had hard floors. I just thought I had fatigued my legs or something. You know, like that feeling you sometimes get when you’ve been on your feet for hours? I thought I was just spent.
It was nothing that a good night’s sleep couldn’t fix right? Except that it was.
Later that week, when I was working out, and trying to walk in a 4th of July parade, I felt like my hip was fully out of socket. It was so weird. It didn’t hurt necessarily, but it didn’t feel good either. It was like there was a space in between my leg and the hip socket. And that extra space was uncomfortable.
What was so strange, is I didn’t mention it to anyone for the longest time. I just kind of carried that feeling with me through all the things I had to do. It wasn’t until later when I was performing in my shows that weekend, that I finally mentioned my hip to my cast mates.
When they reacted with a little concern, I was like, “Oh man. Maybe this is a real thing?”
So by Sunday, after almost a full week of being uncomfortable, I finally reached out to a friend who knows physical therapy. And they had me do a series of exercises/moves that I had never heard before, and wouldn’t you know it? POP!
Just like that. My hip bopped into it’s groove, and it was as if nothing happened.
My legs/hips/body felt instantly great. And I felt instantly grateful to my friend. I felt stronger, solid, and more capable of the tasks that my life requires than I had all week. And closer to the person who helped me than I had before.
And then I just had to laugh.
All week I had been marinating on this idea of vulnerability and sharing your truth and how that can get us closer to each other, and when we don’t we stay uncomfortable and distant.
I was so in my head thinking these “big thoughts” that I didn’t even notice that my body was giving me a literal example of it all week long. I was literally “suffering from distance” in my hip joints. And still I said nothing.
My hip went out of whack. I endured the pain silently. It was uncomfortable, yet I said nothing. I didn’t share my feelings until my hip reached the apex of discomfort. And when I finally did, I felt instant relief. Closeness. New Strength. HEALING.
What a great reminder to speak out to heal and connect. What a powerful example to continue and try to bridge the gap that keeps us apart from each other, by forcing myself to speak out to bridge the gap that happened between my leg and my hip socket.
Haha! It was like the Janelle Monae concert started something, that I took the rest of the week to learn. And the lesson showed itself metaphysically in my hips.
And if I’m being honest, it will probably keep showing up for the rest of my life.
But hopefully, the more I do it, the easier it gets. For both my spirit, and my hips.