Vulnerability. Trust. Hope. Touch.

by Alex from Maybe ( ) Together

I did a show last year that used this cycle. It was something very personal about my own journey, and struggle with trying to be optimistic:

I recently read this article by Bene Brown. She talks about the power of vulnerability:

“When we wake up every morning and armour up and say “I’m not gonna let myself be hurt. I’m not goinna let myself be seen, I’m not gonna let myself be emotionally wrung out, I’m conna protect my vulnerabiliyt.

When we lose that capacity for vulnerability joy becomes foreboding, because in those moments where we feel joy, the first thing we think is, “uh-uh. You will not blindside me, vulnerability”.”

“Is there an emotion more vulnerable than joy?”

I feel like this ties in with the above diagram. About optimism. About hope. About the circle of my own optimism.

Reading the article also made me realise that I am perhaps a little too vulnerable around people. That in fact, my own innate sense of self preservation has disappeared, and this is perhaps why I personally find myself in these situations. [please excuse the therapy session]

This brings me to trust.
Trust in friends to be vulnerable. In partners. In family. In others.
Bene Brown believes you are lucky to have only one or two people in your lifetime that you can truly trust. That you can feel vulnerable with.

How does this relate to my practice?

I saw Oraculus by Teatro de los Sentidos a couple of weeks ago. Audience members enter alone and go through about 20 small experiences. Most with a performer.

It is dark. Very dark. And maze-like as you wonder from dark and quiet space to  dark and quiet space.

KEY to this experience is the trust of the audience. There are moments at the beginning where you aren’t really sure what you’re in for…but you kind of take the risk and keep going, and are rewarded with the experience.

And a big part of this is touch. The power of gentle touch.
Holding someone’s hand.
Taking something from someone.
Someone taking something from you.
Both holding the end of a piece of string and pulling until it breaks.
An arm wrestle.
Lying beside someone in a bed of wheat.
Having your feet washed.
Having your hands washed.

Touch + Trust.
Don’t we feel the implicitness of it?
When we’re blindfolded isn’t it the sense we want to be led by the most? A firm grip?
Why words are so unsatisfactory via skype/phone to a lover.
Why all we want to do for a friend is give them a hug.

Touch is the only one of our five senses that doesn’t lose its potency with age…. There are small things that tell us this. We like to have our hair washed and combed; we like to have pedicures; we like to stroke each other and to be stroked, even in small ways.”

-Rhoda P Curtis.

At the SENS lab in 2011, I investigated trust. I tried to find a metaphor for this – and cutting hair was it.
I was amazed at how trusting the children were. In fact, they were more trusting about me cutting their hair, than I was theirs.

It’s almost as if I can set up a form of trust at the beginning through touch then maybe I can take someone quickly somewhere interesting. A little risk. A little leap.
Where I catch.
And there’s trust….