Hi, my name is JC Conway.
I’m a 30-year-old guy who cares about what you think.
Sometimes I cry…
Sometimes I don’t know if I have what it takes…
Sometimes I struggle with confidence…
But you know what?
I’m NOT afraid to be vulnerable!
I don’t care if people make fun of me because the truth is, they don’t know me!
I take pride in my emotions and I honor my tears!
I’m not afraid to share how I feel with the world—even if it means I’m scared!
Because I am a MAN!!!
It’s taken me years of therapy, journaling, and meditating to get to a point in my life where I’m comfortable saying that out loud. Let alone to the public.
Before, I used to think being a man was all about being the best and winning!
I used to ignore my thoughts and feelings because I believed people didn’t care about what I thought and the only thing that mattered was showing them that I was the best.
I pushed through speeches, presentations, and public speaking events and never thought twice about how those experiences made me feel.
I spent my college years blissfully unaware of the sleeping giant that lay within me and I actually enjoyed putting myself on stage.
After graduating in 2013 though, life changed.
I got married and went straight into corporate America.
Right away, I felt like the stakes were much higher. I was an “adult” and I needed to show everyone that I could be a man and provide for my family!
I used to think to to myself, “It’s the big leagues now buddy, you gotta step up to the plate.”
It didn’t take long for my anxiety and low self-esteem to rear their ugly heads as I had a full-blown panic attack at work in front of my entire leadership team.
But here’s a truth of manhood that I didn’t know at that time:
I’m allowed to fail.
I’m allowed to feel what I feel, and I’m allowed to take risks and make a fool of myself.
When I look back at some of the crazy anxiety attacks I’ve had in the last three years, I see the growth.
I see that with every tear and every embarrassing moment, I’ve become more of who I am.
I see that with each stumble, I chip away at the characters I’ve played my whole life in order to be impress others.
Luckily, I have a great support system and people around me who encourage me to be myself.
When I cry in front of my wife or when I start to feel panic she is always there to comfort me. Those moments of “weakness” or vulnerability actually bring us closer together.
I worry that most of us men don’t think this because society has taught us that men are supposed to be strong and macho.
But you know what’s really manly?
Sobbing in front of your wife before an important job interview.
Begging her to forgive you if fail and asking her to hold you because you’re downright scared.
In early 2016 I had another epic panic attack right before the third and final interview for a job for which I was completely underqualified.
To this day, I’m not sure how I made it to the final round but nonetheless there I was.
I spent hours the night before thinking about all the things that could go wrong and the next morning I had no energy reserved to stop my emotions from pouring out.
Thirty minutes before I had to leave for my interview, I lost it and broke down in front of Chante. Standing in the kitchen with my suit and tie, I felt an overwhelming sensation of fear and anxiety.
I could barely breathe, and my heart was pounding out of my chest. Through the tears I managed to ask my wife to just hold me as I cried it all out!
In truth, I felt emotionally naked for the first time in my life and to say I was embarrassed would be an understatement.
I pleaded with Chante not to think less of me for breaking down AGAIN in front of her.
But to my surprise, as I looked up my wife’s eyes were full of tears as well.
She looked me in the eyes and told me it would be okay and then said something I didn’t expect…
“Thank you” she said. “You have no idea how much closer I feel to you now that you have let me be there for you… I love you.”
I honestly never thought my wife and I could possibly get closer but that day, we definitely did. I let her see a side of me I was too embarrassed to share with anyone else my entire life and there she was, embracing me, holding me, and telling me that I
wasn’t weird or any less of a man.
Her unconditional love and kindness that morning encourages me to keep taking risks and keep being vulnerable. She showed me in that moment of weakness true grace and acceptance and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we are all looking for?
Don’t we all want someone to love us even when we fall and even when we are out our worst?
So I implore you, don’t spend another day pretending to be something you’re not.
Make an ass out of yourself because the people who stick around after all that are the people who will always stick around.
Thank you as always for reading.
Do you have a story about how being vulnerable that made your life better? Are you still looking to find a way to be vulnerable? Either way, let us know! We would love to hear from you! All stories of vulnerability are really stories of growth, so we look forward to hearing your stories of growth and courage!!