Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What does being vulnerable mean to you?

(self portrait by Erin Worsham: )

Being Vulnerable could look wild unabashed dancing in a crowd or it could feel like being trapped in your own body unable to move a muscle with your mind fully alert. Vulnerability could be an action that you choose or it could be a limitation imposed upon you by illness or accident. Perhaps it could be brought about by risking it all with your heart and loving someone deeply, and maddeningly, with no thought of yourself. Once a wise friend (Jay Hartley) wrote, "Do not be afraid to trust, do not be afraid to be vulnerable, risk everything and dance naked in the public square."

I used to think that being vulnerable would be something that we could choose. But, after experiencing my mother's terminal illness and watching her become more and more vulnerable as she lost control of her body I began to understand that being vulnerable is part of our human condition and that it is a lesson that will come to us wheter we choose it or not.

A lesson in vulnerability has come to us in the from of Erin Brady Worsham who is a neighbor and fellow artist with Lou Gehrig's disease. Erin has been described to me as being a prisoner in her own body. She is unable to use any part of her body except her eyebrows and that is how she communicates and creates art. I feel that in some way I am violating her privacy by discussing the details of what this means for Erin. At the same time, it is part of her story and her story isn't really just her's, it is an epic tale that mirrors each of us and shines a spotlight on a deep core truth that lies within in us all. We are all vulnerable and our right to make choice can be taken from us at any time. We have to fight for Erin and for our society to respect and support each other's wishes.

The East Nashville artist group "The Collective Muse" is working alongside several East Nashville friends to find a way to help raise awareness about being vulnerable and the freedom of or lack of making choices. Our efforts aim to support Erin and her family as the stand in the shadow of losing their last bit of freedom of choice by being able to or not able to live in their home. We have chosen to approach this topic by wondering aloud with our friends and families what HOME means to each of us. We plan to collaborate with other artist from Nashville and surrounding areas to put together a poster project to help Erin save her home. Please stay tuned for more information to follow in the days to come. If you are an artist or know one who would like to participate in this project please email me:

To read more about Erin: