My friend Kenneth John always thanks me for my “emotional bravery,” and the first four times he said this, I just chuckled nervously, thanked him, and impulsively burst into confused tears. It wasn’t solely because I was grateful for his compliment; it was because I had never really put any thought into what it meant to be vulnerable. Vulnerability was always something weak people displayed, and growing up trying to be a “strong, independent woman” meant that being vulnerable was one of the things I hated about myself.
Think about it. It’s crazy to be vulnerable. It goes against every primal instinct to protect oneself. When we choose to be vulnerable, we are purposely choosing to not put our very best foot forward. We’re showing others the messy, nitty-gritty parts of our lives that are nowhere near polished. When we open ourselves up to that extent, we are deliberately making a risky decision hinged on the idea that we think the people we are opening up to will care about our pain or our joy.
That is why writing and story-telling are so powerful. When someone writes you a letter, they are intentionally setting aside the time to put pen to paper to inquire about you and share their experiences. If someone writes an article, through their style and tone, they’re indicating how they think and process information. When you stumble upon a poem, you are glimpsing at a thought or idea that was so important to the poet that they felt the need to create poetry about it.
It might seem dramatic to say that our writers are vulnerable when they submit their pieces to be read, but anyone who has ever submitted a piece of work into which they’ve put time and effort is familiar with the sense of anxiety that comes with letting one’s work out into the world. Publication can often feel like a lack of control because once we put Hilltopics on the stands, we can’t always explain our pieces to our readers. People interpret our words however they see fit and our vulnerability might not be accepted. However, we must not wall ourselves up and simply report in monotonous ways about the happenings on campus. Our openness is necessary to build a relationship between our publication and our readers.
All that being said, I encourage you to think about what each of our talented writers and artists are saying through their work. The various topics they’ve chosen to write about, with very little prompting from me, give insight into what they value. We’ve curated many different perspectives and I applaud our staff for taking the risks they do in tackling issues about which they care. Their openness is rewarding to see and I am always humbled by their energy and commitment.
As always, thanks for reading and we’re glad you’re here.
Editor in Chief, Hilltopics