Literary Piece of the Month

Strong Enough to be Weak

Mark Russell Caranzo ||

If only I could directly connect the LED to the battery just to see it light up, then I would have done it. I was sick and tired of seeing all those scattered resistors, transistors, and jumping wires across the breadboard, and the interconnected lines in the schematic diagram just seemed like messy road systems. It was 1 am and I was about to remove all the electronic components from the breadboard to start all over again—for the twentieth time. As I looked through the dorm hallway, I saw how happy my classmates were upon successfully assembling their circuit. That night, I was desperate. Yet, out of that desperation, I was able to unlock my superpower, which I never knew I had and I never thought I’d use, the power of vulnerability.

Back in elementary, I usually help my classmates solve the volume of the cylinder, determine the theme of a poem, or trace the circulatory pathway. Ever since, I was the one extending help, but never has it occurred to me that someday, I’d be on the receiving end.

Fear, frustration, and shame enveloped my thoughts that night. I was scared that if I approach my classmates, they’d refuse to lend a hand. I was discouraged that I’ve taken down all the writings on the board, yet there were many things that I missed out. However, I was left with no choice but to take a giant leap of faith into a sea of uncertainty. Fortunately, I made the right choice.

The world is filled with vulnerable people. Yet, it is difficult for us to accept our imperfections because we’re afraid to be judged. We are afraid to show our weaknesses because we feel exposed. Thus, we continuously restrict ourselves within our personal spheres, letting no one inside.

But I realized that it’s okay not to know everything. All of us are learning everyday, thus it’s important to leave rooms for mistakes and disappointments. By seeking help, we become mature and knowledgeable enough to understand that we couldn’t be experts at everything and that our shortcomings don’t define our whole existence.

The ability to embrace our vulnerabilities is a special talent that each one of us must possess because we could apply it in almost every aspect of our lives. As Dr. Brene Brown once said, being vulnerable makes us more compassionate to ourselves, more accepting to new perspectives, and more open to change. It revolutionizes the way we build relationships because we see the world in a fresh viewpoint where we have nothing to prove to justify our worth because we are perfectly imperfect the way we are.

This superpower would come handy at the university as I expect that life wouldn’t get any easier. As I enter into an unfamiliar environment, I’d be facing more challenges that would drain me physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, with this superpower, I’m confident that no failure would hold me back from my dreams because I know I’m not alone.

Yet just like any other superpower, embracing our vulnerabilities needs training and practice. The process is difficult, and it takes courage and determination to develop such skill. Thus, we must not pressure ourselves and only take the leap whenever we’re ready.

And at last, it worked. The fulfilment of finally getting the LED light up was priceless. I neither had the power to control electricity nor the power to replicate someone else’s ability, but I had the power of vulnerability. Indeed, if seeking help isn’t a sign of strength, then I’ll forever be proud of being weak.

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