My sexy, sexy vulnerability


Last week I watched Iliza Shlesinger’s latest stand up show “Confirmed Kills” on Netflix and she was making a lot of jokes about sexuality and male porn fixation that I found interesting rather than funny. Especially what she said about female vulnerability and how men only think they want strong and independent women but it’s the vulnerability they really want. Think about it. High heels. You can’t run in high heels. Makes him feel in control. Makes her vulnerable. A skinny body – now that’s just oozing vulnerability. Silly, stupid blondes – a vulnerability that makes men feel smarter and better about themselves; “please help me do this because I caaan’t!”, “please help me explain that because I don’t understaaand”. He’ll be happy to help her.


My most vulnerable looks (2009-2010)

It’s a thing now days for young girls to PLAY stupid in front of boys. I’ve done it. I’ve lived in relationships where that role playing was the foundation of the attraction. This was of course my ‘Lolita’ curse, that I’m dealing with in my art right now.

It was partly my fault – I was looking for security and a authority figure because it was a familiar pattern from my childhood and I had no idea that I could be my own authority figure (my own Goddess). My need to feel comforted during the years with daily PTSD symptoms also played a big part in my Lolita role playing.

My vulnerability has been my most attractive quality – both in my art and writing but also when it comes to men. They have loved it. They couldn’t get enough of it. And their hunger for it almost destroyed me. It mostly attracted narcissistic men or men who wanted to feel powerful. I once had a brief online flirt with an English teacher from Baltimore. He was charming and showed himself vulnerable so he could get to mine. And he did. After a while he started to be cold, harsh and unreliable – and became very domineering. I ended it. After a year he showed up in my inbox with a link and said “I’ve found a girlfriend that I can be myself with and I’ve started living faithfully to who I am”. I didn’t understand what he meant, so I opened the link and it was a blog about their sado-masochistic adventures where he was the dominate partner and she was the submissive one. He had a talent for writing so he made their adventures into little short stories. I read a few. And I felt shocked. He described how he loved cutting her with razor blades while having sex and how she loved being cut, how she enjoyed being fucked while suffering from a stomach flu with a very high fever. It was all about her suffering and the empowerment of his ego. It was so sick. I felt nauseous.



In one of the posts he described exactly how he got his victims. How he played vulnerable to get under their skin. How he played their vulnerability like a puppet master. I couldn’t believe it. That’s what he had been doing to me! He saw me as a potential victim, during our conversations. Gross.

It wasn’t until I met a similar guy online that I realize that I have to change my behavior in order to stop attracting these abusive men. I stopped being over-vulnerable and started to protect it. I will never stop being vulnerable in my work, but I don’t have to waste my vulnerability on strangers or people who doesn’t deserve it.

My vulnerability is one of my most precious qualities and it isn’t for other people to play around with so that they can feel stronger, smarter or better about themselves. It is sexy because it is me in my most naked form,  it isn’t sexy because it makes me look weak in front of a man. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Taking advantage of someone else’s vulnerability to be able to stroke the ego is a weakness. Being unable to be vulnerable is a weakness. Not being able to appriciate vulnerability is a weakness. Judging vulnerabilities is a weakness.

Daring to be vulnerable is beautiful. And real. So fucking real.


Getting naked


I’m currently studying professor and researcher Brené Brown’s books about vulnerability and it’s the perfect inspiration for me right now – you know when you hear the right things at the right time, said in the right way so you absorb it all and something suddenly shifts inside you? That’s how it feels. For someone who is all about authenticity and the rawness of the real and true nature of the inside, vulnerability is both one of my biggest assets and at the same time something that turns me into an easy prey for emotional vampires or abusive people. Vulnerability is a beautiful resource that I use in my art and writing, but it’s also my Achilles heel. People love to witness authentic art, acting, writing – when it comes from an honest place, a place we all can relate to, far away from pretentiousness and perfection. A place where human nature is exposed and celebrated – where nothing follows an expectation or an ideal. The most popular TED talks are the ones where the speakers aren’t following a particular structure in their talks, but where they are being real and speak from their hearts.


Brené Brown talks about being brave enough to just show up at the “arena”. To put yourself out there – letting yourself be seen for who you are and to speak from that place of imperfection and truth. One of the biggest myths about vulnerability is that it is a weakness. To be out there, feeling vulnerable and “naked” when you are being real and honest is to be brave and courageous. There is nothing weak with being brave enough to expose yourself to potential criticism or getting your ass kicked just because you had the audacity to show up at the arena in the first place. When you are brave enough to put yourself out there, it will always be provocative to some people. You WILL get your ass kicked. You will feel naked and exposed, but at least you have the guts to do it. The critics are comfortable in their cheap seats while you are in the uncomfortable position in the spotlight. Their judgments and opinions shouldn’t matter because they are not being brave and vulnerable like you.


A selfie from 2014, being vulnerable at the “arena” and letting myself be seen

I have made a lot of mistakes when it comes to my vulnerability. I’ve wasted it on the wrong people who didn’t see the value of it and who didn’t appreciate it but rather neglected it. I’ve made myself vulnerable in the wrong situations where the people didn’t deserve to be a witness to it. I’ve been emotionally naked in places where it was inappropriate. I’ve not understood the true nature of vulnerability and how it’s connected to other difficult emotions like shame and guilt. I’ve exposed my vulnerability to emotional vampires who just feeds of it like it’s fresh blood while they’re leaving me feeling drained and weak.

I can see that my “creativity blockage” happened in a time where I felt vulnerable I every area of my life and it triggered so much shame in me that it was impossible for me to distinguish the strength of being vulnerable and the excruciating pain of being vulnerable in the wrong place. So I just started to avoid the vulnerabilities that I actually could avoid and unfortunately it was my art and creativity that suffered from this confusion and survival strategy.

But now I am here, in a completely new place. After so many years of loss and being lost, I feel found and at peace. I still have some obstacles to overcome until I have reclaimed all the things I once lost, but at least I am working hard to get there and I am constantly moving forward.

I am slowly getting naked in front of myself. I was so used to being exposed and vulnerable to the world that I forgot about myself as the main audience. To let myself be seen by myself means to let go of the constant need to feel seen by others – and ironically it makes it easier for other people to see me as well. There’s a clarity to vulnerability. This has changed my art a lot. It’s more personal now with a deeper sense of a private mythology. I think it will change the expression of my future paintings too. Now I dare to be even more raw and visually clear in my expressions. Simplicity in the complexities of human emotions. That’s it. That’s what I’m all about.


This spiritual striptease is a little scary but so wonderful at the same time. Brené Brown will guide me on this journey to understanding the nature of vulnerability and how I am to use it in the correct way, where it is only a resource and not an invitation to other people’s abuse or the rabbit hole to self-abandonment.