LeeAnn Chisolm writes:

As a creator and even in my everyday life, vulnerability has been something I’ve found myself struggling with lately. I want so desperately to give of myself freely and unabashedly to the world, but putting my guard down to do that can sometimes be overwhelming, if not terrifying. To me, it means opening up my whole self for judgement, for ridicule, for someone else to view me the way I often times have viewed myself—which hasn’t always been the most flattering. Sometimes, I even fear praise. Your added attention just reminds me that I am naked and exposed. Luckily, I am now journeying back to myself. I am learning that vulnerability is not about opening ourselves up to judgement, but to possibility.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the unparalleled opportunity to witness this truth first hand. My love, MaestroRiko a musician and performing artist, set out on a trip across the country to spread Free Hugs in hopes of bringing his musical manifesto to life. It was a bold and genuine opportunity to connect to people. I traveled with him from Atlanta, to Ontario, to Oakland, filming and experiencing it all. We’d head out every morning into the heart of each city where he would stand for hours with a simple, handwritten cardboard sign that read: “Free Hugs.” It was an invitation for others to come outside of themselves—their busy lives, their phones and tablets—and just be present for love. The most beautiful part of watching Riko open his arms and his heart for others, was watching what manifested from it. People were full of so much joy, when they accepted a hug. Even those who were watching, like myself, couldn’t help but be warmed by the beautiful display of God. That is vulnerability. Here is a man, who is not perfect, who’s battled with depression, who’s actively rejecting his own fears daring to be an emblem of love and light.

You don’t have to stand on a street corner to express your truth and your gifts, but you do have to express them. We are pure potential, but in order to experience that, we have to…

Discover more @ Not Waiting for Validation to Be Valid via Black Girl In Om