Being vulnerable is one of the most difficult things I am working with right now. I'm in a foreign country, dropped out of my program to study part-time, have no clue what the future holds and no current income. On top of that, I'm 2 weeks away from turning 30 and I’m wading in the dating pool. Not having certainty-where I will live, what I will do for a living, how I will support myself, and who I will build my life with-is putting me in one of the most emotionally vulnerable positions in my life.

I'm really not good at being vulnerable. I was sick for about two and a half months starting in October, and the hardest things for me to do were to acknowledge I was sick, ask for help, and tell others about my situation. Because I tried to deny it was happening for so long, people assumed I had just dropped out of the picture, was skipping class, or just needed alone time. In fact, what I really needed was some sympathy, company, and a little support. It took me awhile to realize what I wanted and needed, and how to muster up the courage to ask for that. I think part of me felt that not only was it not ok to be sick, that something was wrong with me since everyone else was doing just fine, but that to be a burden on others on top of that was unacceptable.

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Dating in Israel is both the same as and very different from dating in America. For sure, Israelis are more passionate, intense, and like to get emotionally deep very quickly. This can be a blessing and a curse. One of the things I had trouble with living in Miami was that men could be very “surface” and slow when it came to dating. However, the one thing that is the same here is me. I've realized a lot about myself through these experiences: I'm afraid of rejection. I'm afraid of putting myself out there and getting hurt. I'm afraid to like someone, and what that means, and if I'll lose myself in that person, as I have in past relationships. I'm afraid I'll never meet "the one" and I'm terrified of meeting "the one"! The universe must be really confused because I am putting out a lot of conflicting messages.

What I'm trying to do, first and foremost, is love myself. Be vulnerable with myself. Admit to myself when I like someone, and allow that to just be there. I can be nervous about liking him too much, or that he will disappear, or that things will suddenly shift. But instead of numbing my feelings, or judging them, I want to accept them. And myself. I think it's ok to let a guy know you like him, that you want to be with him, see him. And I think that once you are strong in who you are in the world and what you want (and don't want), only then can you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Brene Brown, in her Ted Talk on vulnerability, I think said it best:
"This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee…to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we're wondering, "Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?" just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, "I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I'm alive." And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we're enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, "I'm enough," then we stop screaming and start listening, we're kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we're kinder and gentler to ourselves."

My blessing for all of us is this: May we all be blessed with the courage to live in our vulnerability, to practice gratitude and joy, and to live fully in our lives.

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