The whole month of April went by in one foul sweep for my family. Every single day was spent in a hospital room. March 31, 2015 is a day that will forever been engrained into my mind. I received a phone call from one of my brothers saying I needed to get to the hospital—dad was in critical condition. Fast forward to today, after a month of recovering from a ruptured brain aneurysm—21 days in the ICU and 10 days at the #1 rehabilitation center in the United States—my dad is now in the next stage of his recovery: at home.

The last month of my family’s life has been exposed to hundreds if not thousands of people. Until this last month, I never truly understood what being “an open book” actually meant.

I recently spoke to a person who I noticed had a very “transparentness” about her. Transparency, I came to realize after speaking with her, takes vulnerability. There is something so intimidating about being vulnerable because in doing so, you are putting all of yourself—your fears, failures, struggles—out on the table for anyone to see passing by. Being vulnerable means that even when you put it all out, you aren’t ashamed, and you don’t worry about what the people think. Some may choose to ignore, some may snoop around and leave, but some will have such resilience that they will look around and say, “me too”. And those people who bring those moments are who make vulnerability so worth it.

Being transparent makes you down to earth; it puts you in your place. I understand now that transparency is what makes people not feel so alone. If we care to admit it or not, we all walk around wearing masks and keeping up façades. But constantly portraying yourself as this perfect, never faltering image, gets tiring. And quite frankly, it’s not human. We all struggle. We all have things we are going through. So why are we so quick to hide behind false images if these things are a universal occurrence for humans? My best guess: the vulnerability intimidates us.

In the month of April, I learned so much about myself. When the hospital would make me anxious or I’d go home and only toss in turn in bed, I found out how I dealt with things I go through. And most of what I saw, I didn’t like. But over the course of a month, I discovered the path of transparency; of letting others see my messy life and realizing, oh wow, their life isn’t so pretty either. You reach a point where it’s not healthy to go through life’s tough work alone. Collaboration is one of the greatest gifts to man; the ability to come along side someone, bounce ideas off one another, and in the end create something magnificent.

There’s no shame in being vulnerable when you realize we all live in the same broken world. As my family became more transparent about my dad’s journey in the hospital, I found myself becoming more transparent as people would ask me, “so how are you doing?” If someone is willing to ask, they should be willing to hear an honest answer. To me, that is what transparency is all about.

Life is messy. But you never have to go it alone. There will always be someone who is willing to join the ride and say, “me too”.

Transparency begets transparency.

Your Adventures Await…Go Forth & Conquer!

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