And then he would do something absolutely extraordinary: He would roll over onto his back, and present his soft belly. I always marveled at the courage of that, his ability to be so absolutely vulnerable to us. He offered us the place ribs don’t protect, trusting that we weren’t going to bite or stab him. It’s hard to trust the world like that, to show it your belly. There’s something deep within me, something intensely fragile, that is terrified of turning itself to the world.
I’m scared to even write this down, because I worry that having confessed this fragility, you now know where to punch. I know that if I’m hit where I am earnest, I will never recover.
It can sometimes feel like loving the beauty that surrounds us is somehow disrespectful to the many horrors that also surround us. But mostly, I think I’m just scared that if I show the world my belly, it will devour me. And so I wear the armor of cynicism, and hide behind the great walls of irony, and only glimpse beauty with my back turned to it, through the Claude glass.
But I want to be earnest, even if it’s embarrassing. The photographer Alec Soth has said, “To me, the most beautiful thing is vulnerability.” I would go a step further and argue that you cannot see the beauty which is enough unless you make yourself vulnerable to it.John Green, “Sunsets” from The Anthropocene Reviewed
Well said, sir.