Real talk: I’m a fraud.

The title of my blog is “Embracing Paper Tigers.” This is meant to signify the acceptance, even welcoming, of fears because they’re only paper; they can’t hurt me.

Well, turns out that I’m full of shit.

After avoiding podcasts for years because I find them to be a giant snooze-fest, I listened to one of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday talks with Brené Brown. Not only did I stay awake, but I was downright terrified how much this woman was in my head. IN MY HEAD. I was legitimately wondering if I was hallucinating because it was like she had been listening to my therapy sessions over the past few months.

My life is run by my fear of being vulnerable, being imperfect. I haven’t been embracing anything. More like creating little tiny boxes of comfort zones and compartmentalizing my life to fit into them. I’ve been doing anything possible to avoid confronting my  perceived shortcomings or putting myself in a position to be hurt.

I once thought that my 30 before 30 list was a great way to encourage growth in myself, but  boy was I wrong about the type of growth I needed. Sure, I made some progress and had some amazing experiences due to it, but what I really need to work on is inside. My experiences and relationship with myself.

“When we lose our capacity for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding.” -Brené Brown

Holy. Crap. If this isn’t the story of my freaking life. I’m constantly fearful when thing start to go “too well.”

I’m in an amazingly happy and healthy relationship. What’s wrong with him? My job is going great! When is the other shoe going to drop?

The worst part is, we will never truly be able to revel in joy until we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Luckily, our fears can manifest themselves in our lives to force us. When we consistently resist being vulnerable and opening our true selves up, life WILL put something in our path that forces us to be vulnerable, be open.

So many things have happened over the course of the last year that have forced vulnerability onto me. And there are more currently standing in my path. It’s like the universe is screaming in my face, “You’ve played it safe long enough. You want to be really, truly happy? I’m about to rock your world, girlfriend.”

This is my opportunity. I need to embrace my paper tigers.