A Lesson in Being Vulnerable

BRICK community member Eleanor Hurley examines her relationship with vulnerability and astrology.

Image shot by Nicole Ngai for The Rise Together issue, available now digital download from our online shop.

WORDS Eleanor Hurley

I am a Sagittarius in a house full of Leos and, while we’re all fire signs and in that sense compatible, astrology will have us believe that Leo’s love with their whole heart while I, the sole Sagittarius of the group, am both ardent and out of reach. I see this in the way my housemates’ value physical connection and touch while I’d prefer it if no one hugged me without a justifiable reason. This being said, there’s something the constellations seem to have overlooked when they wrote the laws of how a group of fire signs should co-habit. 

I’ve been reflecting a lot on my tendency to overshare, if I feel a certain way about something then all of my friends know about it. If I experience heartbreak then every neighbour, mutual connection and ex-co-worker will have full knowledge of the situation. I don’t shy away from sharing my life and sharing it with anyone who will listen. 

My Leo counterparts take a different approach to things. Not only are they completely comfortable with not telling strangers about their feelings, but often times they’re quite alright with keeping things to themselves entirely. One of my housemates waited a whole 12 months before politely informing her friends that her boyfriend of three years had cheated on her… twice.  I’ve also had friends who didn’t even bother mentioning their breakups to me until I was drunkenly lying to their face about how much I’ve always genuinely enjoyed the company of *insert average white boy name*, only to find out he threw her laptop out of a window and left last valentine’s day. 

My housemate told me that my vulnerability was a strength, she said, if I could take charge of my feelings and share them without fear then there was something empowering in that.

Eleanor Hurley

These kinds of awkward explanatory situations still happen to me, but in different ways. One time after rekindling things with a boy I’d dated on and off throughout university, a friend of a friend of a friend approached us on a night out to ask me why I was hanging out with the boy I’d told everyone I was going to put a curse on last summer. My careless words seem to constantly come back to haunt me, in fact, the only person I’ve learnt to stop oversharing my life with is my mum. Here’s some really important life advice; friends will eventually forgive the people who have hurt you but your mum never will. No matter how much you try to convince her that getting back with an ex was a responsible, adult decision, she will never believe you, and sadly, she’s probably right. But our choices are not always responsible, and rarely will be they be approved by your mum, so just accept the fact that what she doesn’t know can’t hurt her and be self-destructive with her blessing.

After a lot of self-reflection, and a lot of sharing that self-reflection with other people, I came to the decision that I was going to become a more private person. My first relapse came when I decided to tell the three Leo’s I lived with my intentions, that my life was no longer an open book we could all flick through and laugh about every evening over dinner. Of course, I might have kept up my new secretive persona for longer if I hadn’t announced it so loudly, but what made me change my mind, was actually the response I got. My housemate told me that my vulnerability was a strength, she said, if I could take charge of my feelings and share them without fear then there was something empowering in that. I came to realise she was actually right, if the world wasn’t divided between enigmas and over-sharers then what kind of music would we be listening to? If we were all private and closed off then Adele 25 wouldn’t exist, and neither would this article. 

One of the best people I’ve ever met, named every song on her debut EP after an ex. She didn’t even use fake names, she just named them, without shame and released it publicly to the world.  If that’s not oversharing then I don’t know what is, but I appreciate that about her – it was honest. I might never like PDA or hugging my friends, but I will never stop rewarding them by sharing the details of every embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me. Likewise, I will never stop telling strangers about the time I was harassed by Piers Morgan’s son while handing out food samples on the street, but do you know what? There’s power in that.  

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