Blissdom, Brene and Breakthroughs

Well, as always, Blissdom is over and my mind, she is a’brimming! Honestly, it’s going to take me a while to soak in and sort through all of the information and emotions I experienced, so it’s probably a little soon for me to try to hit the highlights with you guys (though I am dying to!)  But I did want to kickstart the process by sharing a video of Brene Brown, who was the opening keynote speaker this year.

She was, quite simply, amazing.

So many of the things she said really resonated with me, and I have had a very interesting conversation going on in my head ever since– I’m anxious to hear your reactions to what she has to say. This video is not from Blissdom, this is a talk she gave at a TED conference in Houston in 2010. TED is “a small non-profit dedicated to Ideas Worth Sharing. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.” It brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Brene Brown’s TED talk has gone viral, and you may have already seen it reposted on Facebook or somewhere. Though this is not identical to the keynote address she gave at Blissdom, it is very similar.

Take a few minutes and listen…

Leave a comment and tell me what you think. And here’s what I’d really love to hear from you:

What makes you feel vulnerable– unguarded and unprotected?

I’ll start, OK?

One of the things that makes me feel the most vulnerable these days is the realization that my days of having Madi Rose under my roof are numbered, that the kind of ‘mothering’ on a daily basis I have done since we brought her home from the hospital is almost over– and I’m just not sure that I did the best job I could have done.

Now I am NOT fishing for all of you to jump in and try to reassure me by telling me what a wonderful mother I am– I know I haven’t screwed up on a major level, I haven’t beaten her or sold her to gypsies or anything. But in my heart of hearts, I know that there are gaps in my mothering, there are areas where I dropped the ball or emotionally bailed out. And if I see any faint echo in Madi that makes me think I have left her lacking in some area that she is going to need to be strong in, I just feel so naked and exposed– like somebody peeked behind my confident, happy-go-lucky exterior and saw the confused, self-doubting, second-guessing incompetent person I sometimes feel I am. Please God, let my mothering have been ‘good enough’…

(Now it’s your turn.)

20 Responses

  1. jonny

    Opening up to a woman.

  2. tori

    jonny– I understand that. Very scary business…

  3. delightedabroad

    Hmmm, I’d say I feel vulnerable with people that I like because they are the ones who could hurt me most.
    This feeling used to be standard for me and my way of working on it was (and still is) to build several ‘lines of defence’ with each having kind of a checkpoint. At first, hardly anyone came through the first line – but thank God, today some ‘special’ folks even get beyond the inner circle. As I said, I’m still working on that…

  4. rachelbaker

    You asked. So I guess you must be prepared for an answer?! ‘Vulnerability …. is the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love’ – this is great.

    I always think I am a very self-assured person, in that I am very comfortable with who I am, I have the capacity to build deep relationships and am not emotionally ‘needy’. I can sometimes, though, cross the border between self-assuredness and self-reliance, and thats never good, especially for someone trying to live as a follower of God. The single biggest thing that exposed this in my life was having kids. The first time you are alone with your tiny, fragile newborn you realise that however much you try to protect and love this child, you are, at root, powerless. The first time you have to rush that child to hospital, the feeling is intensified further. Recognising that vulnerability, in my experience, definitely leads to the wholeheartedness Brene Brown was speaking of. It affects my relationship with God, with my kids, with my husband – and when I let it, with other people as well. She is right, the people who know me best, including the ‘shameful’ parts, are also the people with whom I laugh the most and its in those relationships that the positive emotions are most commonly found.

    My biggest vulnerability issue is not about who I am, its about what I do. I used to say that I was very confident in myself but not in my abilities, and there was a time when that was true. Born into an immensely gifted family and growing up with a super-intelligent, musical-genius older brother, I did used to feel inferior. I can’t use that as an excuse anymore. Not only am I content being me, I know that I am more than capable of a lot of things. I even believe God has given me gifts to use. This is where the problem comes. I am so scared of being vulnerable to criticism and rejection that I don’t actually ‘do’ anything. Its something that I have been convicted of a lot recently, there have been small breakthroughs (this is probably one of them), and I’m confident of more to come.

  5. delightedabroad

    And Brene Brown is also right whith what she says about numbing your feelings. I can confirm from my own experience that if you try to oppress shame/anger/fear and so forth you will definitely lose your ability to show joy/compassion/love/contentment. The moment I realized this I began – with God’s great help! – to reverse that; am still working on that :-/

  6. auburn60

    Wow. As a former social worker who used to be VERY bad at ‘connectedness’ and still works on not labeling people and filing them away as problems to be solved…I’m still processing all I just heard.

    But the short answer to the question would be: I fear an event, relationship shift, loss, or crisis that would open the gate to a life-time of emotions that would flow like lava from Mt. Vesuvius…and never end. That what grounds me would sudenly loosen and I would go to a place where I could never get myself back again.

  7. auburn60


  8. LindaB

    Tori, I must say this first about your angst over your mothering skills with Madi—-YOU’VE DONE EXCEPTIONLY WELL! And I’m not just “rushing in to assure you of what a wonderful mother you’ve been”. You really have. I know, since your husband’s occupation requires he spend a lot of time away from home, that it’s been mostly YOUR responsibility. And as you’ve shared with us, he’s had terrific struggles with his own vulnerbilities from growing up in a disfunctional home, which has to have weighed on you too. Add to that, your family lives in a fish bowl because of your husband’s very public career. But you rose to the challenge, out of that crazy mother love we have, and the energy and intelligence you were born with, and did an outstanding job!! I’ve met your girls, however briefly, but long enough to see that they are bright, courteous, engaging, sweet, compassionate, and thoughtful! And Madi really impressed me because she talked to adults with such ease. She was delightful! Kids who can’t or won’t talk to adults worry me. But Madi conversed with this old lady with poise and confidence that belied her age. And I didn’t get the feeling that she wanted to get away as soon as possible! (How did you do that, Tori?) And unless you haven’t told us about any arrests or attorney involvement, she is a really “good” girl! What more could a mother ask? What better start could you give her in her life’s journey? Now, what she makes of her life is in her hands……very capable hands, thanks to you and Russ. I know you are going to be so proud of the adult she becomes!

    And I think it’s great that you devoted yourself to parenting so much, yet found time to accomplish things yourself——songwriter, author, queen blogger, and Zumba practicianer! You showed your girls that women can accomplish important things in this world. Women can dream big dreams, accomplish those dreams, AND have a family……or not. When I was a teenager, girls mainly dreamed of finding a husband! And having children! And the perfect little house tastefully decorated! Yeah, you’ve done good!

    And about your dread of her leaving the nest, …….well, ya know how people say kids need a “mother” and not a “friend”! You can’t be a “friend” to your child and a “parent” too? I’m here to tell you that when your grown child leaves the nest, they can become the best friend you’ve ever had in your life!! I enjoy my adult daughters so much! We have a history and really know each other…..and our laughter is sweeter and deeper, our good times happier than with any friend I’ve ever had.

    And these days, just because they leave the nest for a while, doesn’t mean they won’t be back!!

    jonny, you seem to open up nicely with us here at babybloomr! I have to hand it to you, you put yourself in a vulnerable place, but you were honest…..and incredibly courageous! And everyone here, I believe, just loves you!

    Rachel, “…the people who know me best, including the ‘shameful’ parts, are also the people with whom I laugh the most and its in those relationships that the positive emotions are most commonly found.” Brilliant!!! So true! Have you ever thought about public speaking….like Ms. Brown?

    Delighted, I’m glad you let down those defenses and opened up to us here in this blog. I feel honored. I think what you have accomplished is amazing!!

  9. bettyrwoodward

    How do I follow my daughter! I have a talented husband, son and daughter! I definitely agreed with the part about ‘numbing’ it certainly does numb good as well as bad emotions. I think my answer comes in the words of song ‘The One who knows me best loves me most’.

  10. LindaB

    Auburn…((((Alyson))), you made me tear up. I hope you can get all those sad emotions out BEFORE there’s an “event, relationship shift, loss, or crisis” to contend with. I know it would be hard and painful, but it would be wise.

  11. delightedabroad

    Thank you, LindaB, for noticing (it’s hard work, that’s for sure) though I really want to give all credits to God!

  12. jonny

    I just love when Former’s on a roll, in her encouraging element = )

  13. LindaB


  14. rachelbaker

    jonny – me too. Thanks LindaB.

  15. bettyrwoodward

    LindaB all you say about Tori’s girls is so true. I have only met them once but they were amazing even though they were so tired after a flight to the UK and had been awake all night. Well done with the parenting Tori. By the way you were great too!

  16. LindaB

    See, Tori, It’s not just me!

    Thank God I didn’t have to raise my kids in a fish bowl!! We’d be regulars on The Jerry Springer Show!

  17. auburn60

    Tori, I know you didn’t want to turn this post into a discussion of your parenting of Madi, but I will say this: Madi has that ability to get along with young and old, a level head AND she has a well honed bull crap detector. She knows what is authentic and what is not. IF there were any phantom gaps in your parenting Madi will be able to overcome them by finding appropriate people or groups of people to help her out.

    And if she ends up being close to me when she heads to college I will treat her like she is my own…liberal doses of helicopter parenting and benign neglect! And only my kids can tell you if that is good or bad. :)

  18. auburn60

    ( I would never embarrass you the way I do my own, Madi. I just remembered that you have been exposed to my parenting style.)

  19. rockin robyn

    Wow Tori! Thanks for sharing that video with us. Excellant speaker!

    First!, when Madi takes that step out into the world beyond the Taff nest and knowing that as humans we all make mistakes, if you can truly say you have done your best (because let’s face it there is no redo button) — all you and Russ can do is “let the little bird fly” and she will take what you both have taught her and along with her own life long teachings she will reflect an image of some awesome parents.

    Um! O.k. here goes… My personality is one of shyness/backwardness — introvert!

    What makes you feel vulnerable– unguarded and unprotected?

    In the past this would be my answer to your question… my whole personality is what made me feel vulnerable and it has made me feel very vulnerable and unprotected over the years… people tend to walk all over you with that kind of personality. …take advantage of you. It has been a life long battle but through life struggles and my spiritual walk and growth in knowing and learning who God truly is – I’d have to say in more recent years I have awakened to realise that I now thank God for blessing me with this personality flaw, this weakness – because it has kept me from hooking up with the wrong people, wrong kind of friends and basically kept me out of trouble through fear. Fear of doing wrong and fear of failure. I see myself as winning the battle of shyness as being what makes me feel vulnerable.

    I’m more outspoken when it comes to dealing with people I know well. But I still have the whole trust issue going on when I meet new people. Where I still struggle is with defending my opinions when I feel in my heart someone truly has it all wrong. I feel so “naked and exposed” when I try to speak of a truth and express my opinion. My heart and my mind gang up on my tongue and I can’t communicate it well enough to get my point across verbally.

    Please God if it is your work that I must do with my mouth, give me the words and strength to express my thoughts well enough to do good by you.

  20. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Sorry, but at the risk of sounding as if I am congratulating you, Tori, on what a great job you did in raising Madi…..I simply can’t resist an opportunity to brag on that girl. She is the most charming 18 year old I have ever met and the more you get to know her, the more you absolutely fall in love with her. I could write a dozen pages about my Madi and it all would describe a very pretty, intelligent, thoughtful, and wise-beyond-her-years young lady who is well equipped to go out on her own and accomplish much in life. If you didn’t have anything to do with it then step back and get out of her way because she is going places. But we all know that you had a lot to do with it….and the best part of what you molded into her was her knowledge of your unconditional love.

    Next is my observation of our Linda’s post. I’d like to say she was reading my mind…again….and so I could stop right here, but besides that did anyone notice that Linda analyzed everyone on here besides telling us about her enjoyed relationship with her daughters…..and yet she never once answered the question about what makes her vulnerable? I can say this because Linda knows how much I love her. And, believe me, as funny as she is on here, she also can be serious in a most wonderful way when needing to talk with a friend is so very important.

    Which brings me to another subject. All my life I’ve heard girls/women say they didn’t have a close female friend…they only had boy-friends. I don’t know how they have made it through life because there is nothing more valuable or more fun than having close girl-friends….in my opinion. I mean, there are just some things a fella-friend could never possibly understand or even care about.

    Now for my attempt to answer the question (finally). Growing up and right on up into and past middle age, I used to over-analyze everything. Something like, though not as intelligently, as that speaker was doing. Maybe it’s the only bright and shining star that comes with old age but there comes a time in life when you no longer are in competition with anyone for anything, you aren’t trying to prove anything to anyone, the what’s and whys just don’t matter that much anymore, and your life seems more relaxed, the challenges no longer are in control (unless it is just to take your next breath…lol) and your appreciation for what is lovely settles in and makes life more simple and enjoyable in general. Probably sounds boring to some of you…..but I don’t mean you are so listless that you are only one step from dead. I just mean, as a book I once read, you stop majoring on the minors…..and you are finally able to see and appreciate the blessings all around you. One might also recognize this as our spiritual growth as we mature….as well as simply the benefits of plain old age. I’m still known to analyze a little….maybe occasionally over-analyze, but maybe the difference is I’m not as desperate to find an answer….because I’m distracted by the music in the background, or the soft breeze as I sit in the early morning on the deck, or those little things that I kept pushing aside when I was young and working so hard to raise my children correctly, to make sure I served our meals on time and they were balanced, and worrying about things I thought were so important…..when showing them love and spending time with them were the two most important ingredients and dinner could always be eaten at a later time, for example.

    Okay, I’m rambling…..but I have to tell you, folks, if we could just stay healthy, this old age stuff would be rather nice across the boards. But then, we might never again have another Edison or Wright Brother or, heaven forbid, that fella who invented computers.

Leave a comment

If you have already registered an account with us, log in to post a comment.

If you do not have an account, please setup a username to confirm you aren't a devil-spammer-from-Hell. A password will be sent to the email address you provide.