Tag Archives: Vulnerability

The Vulnerability of Writing

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“Being Vulnerable on the Page: Our words tell the truth about more than what we’re writing; they also tell the truth about us.” ~Judy Reeves

When I began to write my story for the ninth Heal My Voice book, I remember sitting in the living room, hands hovering over the computer keyboard and feeling hesitant to type any words. The book was called, “Sensual Voices: True Stories by Women Exploring Connection and Desire.” All of the women wrote stories about a woman’s journey with her body. Stories of menstruation, pregnancy, breast feeding and swimming in a lake. Some of us wrote about a journey with our sexuality. I knew that was the story I was compelled to write and I could feel the fear of writing about my personal experiences and revealing secrets. At first, I was afraid to even write it for myself! Then, I was afraid that if I published it, my reputation would be tarnished. I felt that people who had different experiences would judge me. I felt that everything I had committed to and built with Heal My Voice would be destroyed, including harming the women who had written stories in all the books. I even had a back lash from my mother one night, when she saw the description of the Heal My Voice project on my website. Sensual Voices: True Stories by Women Exploring Connection and Desire. She said, “Who are you to lead that project? What qualifications do you have? Why is this on your website?”

Whoa! I got whacked emotionally for about an hour. Luckily, she sent this through email and I read it while I was sitting at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, Maryland with a cup of coffee and a delicious meal. Pausing to eat the piping hot food that had just arrived at the table, I waited to respond, until a feeling arose with clarity. I wrote her back and claimed my voice. It was a huge breakthrough AND it was the 9th Heal My Voice book. I was not new to writing and not new to expressing feelings and emotions for all the world to see. I had experience with the vulnerability of my inner writer voice. (And FYI: I have a background in women’s health, social work and had recently taken a year long program about women’s sexuality and I am a writing coach.)

But here’s the thing. Every time, I reveal something about myself in a blog, on a radio show or in a book, a wave of vulnerability comes. I feel it is a part of the writing process to uncover and feel the feelings. For this project, I had support, experience, I felt the feelings and I moved through it faster.

As a writer and a leader of groups of women writers in The Incubator I know that vulnerability arises as a part of the process:

“Why aren’t my words flowing?”
“I don’t have time to write.”

“I feel lost in this program.”
“I’m behind everyone else.”
“I’m doing it wrong.”
“I’m scared to be seen.”

I see it all the time in the on-line writing programs as well as experience it myself. There is a desire that rises because you feel compelled to write something. There is a “yes” to “The Incubator” space that comes with a layer of vulnerability of being seen in community. Then, there is the vulnerability of writing feelings or a story on paper or the computer. And THEN, the idea that you would share this with someone else! The vulnerability of the truth that is your life, the exposure of how you describe your feelings and words, the fear of rejection, etc…

The feeling of vulnerability is always present. Every story I have ever written in a Heal My Voice book, or a blog (especially being a guest blogger) or in my books on Amazon, trigger the voices in my head that are telling me I shouldn’t write.

Underlying all of these fears, maybe women are also afraid of a collective energy. Call it the fear of being exposed for book burning or the burning of witches at the stake. Or a myriad of other ways that women have been burned physically and emotionally for speaking up. It can be a deep imprinting from the past. I encourage you, as you begin to write, to find a safe place to express yourself, to be witnessed and and to practice sharing your voice. Build the muscle by sharing your voice in community.

One more thing. I have also felt or heard women say:

Hasn’t someone already written this story?
I’m not an expert.
Who am I to write this book?

You are here to write what you are compelled to express and share. It begins with writing for yourself. That may be in a journal. You may write to redefine your work. You may have a program to design or a blog to start or a book to write. You are the only person who can write a book in your vibration and with your exact experience. The possibilities for self-expression are infinite.

A few writing prompts for your own reflection:

*Turn up your awareness, every time you write or every time you think about writing.

*What are the words you are hearing in your head?

*Are they stopping you from writing?

*Find one thing you can say to yourself whenever you hear the words. Create an affirmation. Or write a few words on a sticky note that will help you remember who you are. “I am Writer and I have something to say.”


Andrea Hylen: Author of Heal My Voice: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey. Creator of The Writing Incubator, on-line writing community. www.andreahylen.com

Claiming my Sexuality: I am a Woman

Day 46 of 100 days of Blogging

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I was 32 years old, visiting my parents on Cape Cod with my two young daughters for a week vacation. The transition I was in included divorcing my first husband, a new job working full time as a Project Manager at Johns Hopkins University in Epidemiology and moving out of my marital home into a house I was renting for my daughters and me.

I had a moment with my Dad upstairs and I asked, “Dad, when did you finally feel like you were an adult?” He looked at me like I was crazy. He told me he had no idea what I was talking about. It felt like such a natural question to me. Wouldn’t there be a time when I felt like I had moved from childhood to adulthood? Weren’t you automatically supposed to feel like an adult when you had responsibilities?

For most of my life, the roles I let myself play were connected to being a daughter to my parents and a mother to my children. Neither of those roles allowed for sexuality in my mind. No one in my lineage of women ever demonstrated that sexuality was a part of their lives. I was told to cover up my breasts and not wear anything that was too revealing. Sexuality was not on the table for discussion. Not the essence or the power or the desire.

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My sexuality began to wake up three years ago, at the age of 56, when I started to practice Orgasmic Meditation (OM). All of my children were adults, my husband had died, and I wanted a safe, sexuality practice. I wanted connection. I OMed for eight months before I met a man who I was interested in spending time with, including having sex. My body was awake and alive and I wanted to have sex and to allow myself to play. As we explored and got to know each other we finally had sex and it made me feel like I was 16, not 56. I returned to a time in my life where I felt alive and free with my sexuality; when I began to explore with a boyfriend in the back of my parents station wagon.

The ten months I spent with Axel uncovered subtle places where I had blocked my sexuality.

A moment like this:

Axel: “What’s the sexiest panty you could wear under your dress to today?”
Me: “I don’t have any. I couldn’t let my kids know I have a sex live.”
Axel: “What?! That’s the reason? That was ages ago!. Your kids are all adults.”
And I walked out of the room…speechless. I didn’t have an exclamation. I just know that was the reason for a long time.

Axel loved seeing me in my power. Standing on the stage. Writing. Leading. His attention encouraged me to express ALL of me and I did the same for him.

In the story I wrote for Sensual Voices: True Stories by Women Exploring Connection and Desire, I claimed that I am a powerful woman with desire. Claiming desire involves surrender and vulnerability and softness.

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Recently, I met a man, a much younger man, who I OMed with in New York on my birthday in October. The minute his hands touched my thighs with grounding pressure, I felt a jolt of electricity. His hands on my pussy during the 15 minute practice brought me into a deeper surrender. I felt like he followed the sensations and knew my body in a way I had never felt before. I felt like he really saw me. When I asked him what he felt, he said, “The minute I touched your body, my hand fit you like a glove.”

He came to see me in Washington, DC a month later so we could explore this electricity and connection. I just wanted to have this experience where we were both filled with desire and we could explore the sensations and feelings in our body.

For the first time in my life, I felt like a woman. Whole and complete and nourished. And as I open to this relationship that is based on desire, sex and friendship, I wonder how many women are denying themselves this kind of real body connection and repressing their sexuality because of the “rules” they were taught about how you have to be married, or he has to be your boyfriend or there has to be some other commitment other than an experience of body connection.

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In this connection, I learned how Orgasmic Meditation is opening my body to more sensations and pleasure and personal power. I experienced a man’s full attention on my body while we explored this connection in bed. Now, that I have had an experience of passion and tenderness at a new level, I have a better idea of what I want to attract more of in my life.

It’s time!




Photo from Andrea Hylen

Andrea Hylen at Agape in Los Angeles

Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voice to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.

She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.