Embracing vulnerability: how Mari Andrew encourages us to feel like kids again in order to grow up

A few weeks ago I was thrilled to be included in the Melbourne audience of a live interview session with Mari Andrew. When I discovered that this event, “Mari Andrew on Growing Up,” was coming to Melbourne you can count on the fact that I let out a little squeal. I was so excited to be seeing this gorgeous soul live and my heart still has residual gooey-ness.

Whenever old mate Bluey comes knocking (did I just make up a super Australian saying?) I often find myself scrolling through the comforting Instagram page of the benevolent Mari Andrew. That is to say that this woman’s art makes me feel like I’m a part of something that we’re all experiencing and less alone in my emotional struggles as a human. If you haven’t yet had a sticky beak at her wildly successful Insta page here it is!

Mari is an advocate for the power of vulnerability and the importance of sensitivity. A romantic in the truest sense of the word, the stories and life experiences she processes then imparts encourage us all to see the beauty in the everyday and inspire others to also collect life experiences just ’cause.

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This illustration by Mari was discussed during the interview. Redefining power!

While discussing the topic of vulnerability Mari mentioned researcher and storyteller Brené Brown; she also mentions Brené in the acknowledgements of her book. I recently watched this video of Brené discussing her findings on the subject and you definitely should too! Coincidence? I think not; the icky sticky topic of vulnerability seems to be laying itself out in front of me and I’m loving the ride. Extra points if you listen to this amazing podcast with Brené and the amicable Elizabeth Gilbert.

Lately in acting class I have been going through a concentrated period of growth and  a whole heap of self knowledge has been dumped on me. The ordeal, I imagine, was not unlike getting slimed by Nickelodeon. I’ve learnt to shift my perspective and I now consider my vulnerability to be what makes me beautiful. Think about it: when have you ever fallen in love a little bit with another human? Was it when they cried in front of you? When they told you their deepest fear? When you related to them as they confessed an insecurity to you? Ding ding ding! That’s their ability to be vulnerable in front of you that you’re falling for.

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Actual footage of myself on the journey to self knowledge

A question I had been struggling with for a while was: if vulnerability is so freakin’ great, then why are we so afraid of experiencing it? The interviewer actually asked Mari this question! Without missing a beat, she turned towards the audience and immediately piped up with, “Oh, it’s because we’re afraid of being judged.” Once again… ding ding ding! What a smart cookie.

Logically, we don’t give a flying fart what other people think of us… most of the time. But it seems that we’ve been conditioned to care without thinking. If we’re not aware of this habitual way of thinking, it can hold us back and block us without us even realising. So… the more you know. You’re welcome.

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After watching the real Mari with my real eyeballs and hearing her really speak with my real earholes, I was so completely swept off my feet and I just knew I had to buy her book at the stalls out the front and get it signed… no matter how long the line. So I did. And I’m still a little star struck. I think I gushed out a “you’re/so/beautiful” *breathe in* thank/you/so/much/for/being/such/an/important/voice/for/so/many/people.” Or something along those lines.

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Taking time at the end of each day to crawl into bed with a cup of tea and her book “Am I There Yet?” has been such a nourishing experience. I didn’t want it to end. She’s such a fantastic essayist! So nostalgic and cosy. What can’t this girl do?

Mari is a perfect living example of “everything happens for a reason.” From a certain perspective, the loop-de-loop shiz-whiz she’s been through has happened in order to be transformed into resonating tales of catharsis. Mari is a woman in her power; she’s living her truth for all the world to see and, perhaps more importantly, to show the world that they can too.

Maybe you can tell I’m a little biased but in my opinion Mari is a more evolved human and I want to be like her when I grow up. ‘Nuff said.

 

Feature image by Alessio Lin on Unsplash

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