MY VULNERABILITY HANGOVER
One morning, this past September, I woke up in a complete panic from something I remembered doing the night before. My stomach was churning and I felt sick. I was partially regretful of what I had just done and I wanted to reach out to a friend to talk it through, but realized most people I knew, may not understand how I'm feeling. Then I remembered a Facebook community I'm a part of and decided to post this:
"I have knots in my stomach and I’m really nervous of something I did today. I released a podcast episode on abusive relationships and shared my personal story. Now it’s out there in the world...which I chose to do. But I have a lot of emotions over it. Not the experience, but of sharing it. So many people in my life will listen to it and hear the story. When I see them, they will know. I feel like I’m 5 and need someone to hold my hand. I need some love and support today ❤️🙏❤️🙏"
I walked away from my phone and within moments, I changed my mind and opened up FB to delete the post. Why would I publicly post to a FB group of women I don't know that I'm feeling nervous and uneasy over a podcast I just published when I'm CEO of a women empowerment brand? I didn't want to appear weak. I opened FB and saw 8 new notifications. I clicked on it and in less than 5 minutes, 8 individual women took the time to write me a note of encouragement, love and support regarding my post. I couldn't believe it.
Their messages were so kind, authentic, genuine and filled with love. Strangers took the time to actually read and respond to my post over such a trivial non-important thing in their lives. Let me say that a different way; strange people that I've never met, communicated with or ever have had contacted, read my post, connected with it and chose to stop whatever they were doing in that moment and thought, "I'm going to make a choice to say a few words to this woman in the hopes of making her feel better." Let me say that in yet another way; these strangers cared enough about a random human on earth to give her the most valuable commodity on this planet...time and compassion.
I immediately responded to each of those 8 messages reading, taking it in because I was feeling so vulnerable and thanking them for writing and sharing. It didn't stop at 8 and it went on all day long. After a few hours, there were over 400 messages of support and likes on that post.
Their messages helped me get through the day. It helped me get through what their group referred to as the "vulnerability hangover." Not only that, it gave me the courage to continue to post and promote "Season 2, Episode 16: Abusive Relationships-A Personal Story" on the Sexy Boss Babe podcast on Facebook, Instagram and even my professional network on LinkedIn (thinking did I just commit career suicide? I did it anyways.) In doing so, more and more people started listening to that episode and then another thing happened.
My email, DM, inbox, text messages, and voicemails were getting incoming message after message about people's reaction to my podcast. "You profoundly touched me today." "I was in the kitchen with you, in that bathtub, your descriptions were so vivid." "You really walked us through the process of abuse, the breakdown and build up and the reconstruction of the human spirit." "This is by far one of the best podcasts I've ever listened to." I was moved to say the least. To know that my experience and my words and the act of sharing affected other humans on such an emotional level. Further, something else happened.
The U.S. statistic shows that 1 in 5 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Knowing that, I was still shocked at the number of women that reach out to me saying that they too have experienced physical, emotional and mental abuse. Story after story kept coming in all day. The unfortunate reality is that I'm not unique nor is my story special in this way because domestic violence is a very common occurrence. It is so common that it affects 20% of the population, that's a lot.
If 1 in 5 people were dying while driving their cars, it would be a national crisis and traffic laws would immediately change. So why is no one doing anything about domestic violence? Part of the reason is that not enough people are speaking up about it. Many are living in fear and those that have gotten out live in trauma and shame for a long time. Healing takes time. It took me close to 6 months to just start feeling kind of normal again. I found a support system, I volunteered to read to kids once a week for an entire year. This started filling the emptiness in my heart. I took classes and learned new skills, this helped me rebuild and strengthen my self esteem and confidence.
Since then, I've become an advocate and speaker on domestic violence and share my story and my journey to empowerment. I'm a women empowerment speaker and an advocate for foster youth and survivors of sex trafficking. I talk about and teach the importance of self esteem to the core of our being as the most important line of defense we have to protecting ourselves. It's why I chose the Sexy Boss Babe brand to be about women empowerment. Every box of products has an inspirational message of self esteem to serve as an affirmation everytime you look down at your hands, it's a reminder to be fierce, bold and empowered in some way.
That day, releasing that episode was harder than I thought. I wasn't prepared for the vulnerability hangover. If I knew that would happen, I may not have done it. If it wasn't for the podcast group on Facebook, I don't know who I would have turned to. That experience changed my relationship with social media. After years of trying to figure out what "engage on social media," meant...for the first time I understood it. Engage with others just like you would in real life. The same rules apply. I'm good at that in real life, but the social media world seemed fake and inauthentic to me. Until that day. It was such an ah-ha moment. It changed the game for me. I didn't know how powerful and authentic the engagement would be in return when I was truly authentic first. For the first time, I understood the power of social media.
This experience was all thanks to that amazing community on Facebook for giving me so much love and support in a moment that I needed it! Thank you so much She Podcasts
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