Women Who Love Stand in the Black Hole of Vulnerability Together



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I was about six years old when I had a birthday party on the back porch in Paarl. I remember the stretch of quiet minutes before my friends were supposed to arrive. My mom had set the table, ordered a beautiful cake and I had my birthday dress on. But I suddenly felt panicky: What if nobody showed up?

Even at six, those minutes were long and scary. I felt alone and now, as an adult and somewhat more versed in Brene Brown speak, I recognize I also felt vulnerable. I’d put my heart out there in an invitation and I hoped my friends would show up for me.

I notice this same Black Hole of Vulnerability still exists for me as an adult. It exists in the dark before the Light. In the silence before Sound. In the not-yet-knowing before Clarity. It lives in the gap between the Invitation and the Realization.

We feel that Black Hole of Vulnerability between hitting “publish” on a post and the very first person who comments or tags you on Facebook. Will anyone read?

We feel that Black Hole of Vulnerability when we leap to make a difference–sweat for sisterhood, run a half-marathon, build a well or buy ID cards–knowing we can do something by ourselves, but we can actually move MOUNTAINS if we do it together. But will anyone else come?

“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experience,” says Brene Brown here.

The story we find ourselves in globally actually requires of us, as women and men, to be courageous together and be vulnerable.

 Especially when we’re part of a sisterhood. Especially when the odds globally are stacked up against women and girls. Especially when a young guy goes on a rampage and shoots women, because they’re women.

We can be a movement that raises up a standard of Light against the dark.

We can always do so much more together.

– My $25 is important towards any good cause. But my $25 multiplied by 200 people who choose to stand together, means great impact.

– My regular tweet (with or without a hashtag) makes a sound into the Twitterverse. My tweet added to a hashtag like #yesallwomen, becomes part of a roar.

Together is powerful. We know this.

So, on Saturday, June 7, our SheLoves sis, Cynthia, is putting on a party. Yes, it’s a birthday party of sorts, except she wants this party to celebrate and benefit women and girls in Rwanda and Moldova. She’s inviting us to come and walk or run with her. [ Here’s her original post.]

I’ll be there, because when one of my friends steps out on behalf of a better world for women and girls, I want to move into the Black Hole of Vulnerability with her to make it less scary. Who needs that icky feeling of panic or self-doubt, especially when she’s trying to make a difference?

Why care? 

I’ll tell you straight up: this isn’t about my dream or your dream.

Not this time.

But this is about how our dreams will also come as we start walking with someone else in the realization of her dream.

The first time I launched something that felt like a big, scary dream, my inspiration came from helping someone else build her dream. It was in growing her dream that mine also came. A light bulb went on for me even then.

If you’re about to leap or have a dream in your heart, why not step into someone else’s dream and make it a bit less daunting for her first?

Black Holes of Vulnerability will (and need to) happen as we become more and more courageous. Let’s decide to be the answer to her question, Will anyone come?

– Tell a friend you’ll stand with her in her dream.

– Leave a comment on a blogpost today, or every day this week.

– Help Cynthia fulfill her audacious hope by giving, or registering or sharing her dream with your world. Tell her: I’ll be there.


THIS WEEK on SheLoves:

I know every one of our writers this week–Holly (today), Bev + Erin (Tuesday), Kelley (Wednesday), Tina (Friday) and Sarah (zine on Saturday!) will greatly appreciate your encouragement and verbal high-fives. We’re doubling up with two posts on several days this week, so be sure to check in often or “turn on notifications” for our Facebook page. Speaking of Facebook: we’re a few likes away from being 4,000 strong. Pretty exciting!

Two stories to watch out for: On Wednesday, Michelle DeRusha is joining us for the first time. Her book, Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith was released in April and we wanted to give her a moment to tell us more of her story and introduce her to our sisterhood. We’d love it if you give her a warm welcome on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Cynthia Cavanaugh will tell us the story of a pedicure in Cambodia, how her heart was broken open for women and justice and why this 5K No Limits Walk  is so important to her.

Here’s to a beautiful week together!



PS: We’re currently looking for a volunteer who is passionate about marketing + advertising to join our team. If you are interested, please email us at shelovesmagazine {at} gmail.com

Credits: Image by Tina Francis.

Graphic by Sarah Joslyn

Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called shelovesmagazine.com–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at idelette.com and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

Latest posts by Idelette McVicker (see all)

Idelette McVicker
  • You are the champion of all champions of sisterhood, Idelette. Every admonition you give us to shore up the tired and weary, to come alongside the broken and marginalized, speaks to my heart. I believe this is part of the gift you are meant to be to this world, friend. Thank you for teaching us (by example and by directive) to be women who love. Thank you for loving us well.

    • Thank you so much, Kelli. I was just reading YOUR post today and the grace and beauty you weave through words with toddlers in arms, is astounding. Thank you for your encouragement and your calling out of the bravery in me. Together we stand and walk into the Light. xoxo

  • HBurns

    I agree with @kelliwoodford:disqus! When I think of one of the greatest champions for sisterhood I know – you are right up there leading the charge fearlessly. Because of your bravery we rise find ourselves rising alongside you. Thank you friend.

    I am excited for Cynthia’s big ‘ ask’ and I believe it will met with many rising to run/walk/give their best for sisterhood around the globe. Exciting days!


    • Thank you for running the road ahead of me and waking Way. And cheering me + everyone else on in the most beautiful way. Always. Love you, xoxo

  • Laura Shook

    Thanks for the reminder! I won’t be in Washington, but I will be running my 5K alongside everyone in Houston. Can’t wait to see what God is going to do!

    • Fantastic! Thank you, Laura. I love the faith in your words: Can’t wait to see what God is doing to do. YEAH!

  • Anne-Marie

    ‘If you’re about to leap or have a dream in your heart, why not step into someone else’s dream and make it a bit less daunting for her first?’ I love this Idelette, and am always surprised by the great wisdom of your spirit and writing. Thanks for all the solid reminders and gentle pushes. Needed received and appreciated. Love you!

    • Thank you, Anne-Marie … So appreciate you being right here. You are a woman who stands and Loves and helps to make the journey more fun and less scary.

  • Love when you write and rally — LOVE how you stand with sisters everywhere in tangible ways. You taught me we could (and do) move mountains together! Love your from Burundi and back…

    • I love dancing and singing up those mountains with you, my friend.

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  • Arsene Tungali

    Women are capable of grat things. Keep it up

    • You know it, Arsene! Thanks, friend.

  • Sarah Joslyn

    This! This! This! Realizing dreams as you support dreaming! This. Is. PERFECTION! Oh, Fearless Leader, you’ve done it again!!

    • O, darling … Couldn’t have done it without you! 🙂 // Thank you … xo

  • Nicole A. Joshua

    Wowza. What a roar! I love how you invite us into a community of women that love and support each other. Thank you for your wisdom, your cheerleading , for paving the way for all of us to feel welcome at the table. Love you!

    • Thank you, friend! You make me brave.

      Love you right back. xo

  • cjdeboer

    Thank you for leading, loving, and standing in the dark with so many, friend. Fantastic post and I LOVE this column. xo

  • yes, yes, yes, yes. Telling a friend you’ll stand with her in her dream–not yours? It makes me want to weep. How powerful, if we put into words, our love and affection for each other, and simply say: I stand with you, brave one. I love you and your roar, my world changing, beautiful Idelette.

  • Holly

    Oh my dear Idelette,
    That black hole of vulnerability, the one that wants to silence and suffocate and snuff out? It is no match to the light which you shine upon it, friend. And that standing with others in their dreams as opposed to tooting your own? That is the very cloth from which you have been cut, the very garment with which you envelope all of us.

    You truly are a Woman Who Loves, in every possible way.

    When I read your words today it felt as if you were just sidling up alongside of me, linking your arm in mine, excitedly ushering us both forward into the great wide open. Thank you for the incredibly gracious ways that you encourage and inspire me. You are such a treasure.

  • Daniela

    You are the cheese to my everything (I have told you about my melting cheese on things issue, right?) I love how you raise up sisterhood. You inspire me and stir me. I am so glad to be part of this journey. xoxo

  • Helen

    Love, love, love. Thank you for this call, thank you for this community. I love that God gives each of us dreams, dreams that stretch far beyond ourselves and that are only truly complete when joined with others. The inspiration and stories found in this space make it so much easier to step out into those dreams with courage and vulnerability and sharpen my eyes to see the dreams of others that I can join in with.

    • Cynthia Nichols Cavanaugh

      Thanks Helen for supporting me and your encouragement, xoxo!

  • Erin Wilson

    Yep. This. “But this is about how our dreams will also come as we start walking with someone else in the realization of her dream.”

  • Megan Gahan

    THIS THIS THIS! I love it. So glad this is the kick-off Women Who Love Monday post. Perfect. And why I love SheLoves. Goodness knows you guys have stood in the blackest hold of vulnerability with me. And stepped up to walk with my audacious dream. I look forward to walking with many on theirs. Thank you thank thank you. Love you and SO honored to be part of THIS!

  • Thank you for this reminder to be engaged. I found myself lazily reading the amazing thoughts this past month, but not writing my own reactions. Or, taking that leap to not mull too much… (I need to remember there is no perfect comment!) Especially in this faceless online world, engagement is what makes this community so beautiful.

  • sandyhay

    vulnerability…a word I didn’t think much about before hearing and reading Brene Brown. Now I can think back to times when I did allow myself to be vulnerable, especially at the ministry level, and ouch, it hurt so much. But by my age, I’m (slowly) learning to get over that. The table made up of you Idelette, and sheloves allows us to share our hearts and know that you are all there to surround us with love. And from this safety net, we can engage with no fear.

  • Cynthia Nichols Cavanaugh

    Walking alongside of someone else’s dream is such a privilege! I so appreciate your heart Idelette and pushing gently with great passion to encourage myself and others to keep dreaming and be brave! Thankyou with all my heart for helping me mark this very significant birthday. xoxoxo

  • I love that you ALWAYS show up to my birthday parties. xoxo

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  • Melinda Cadwallader

    This speaks so much to my heart. Once a hairstylist, then discovering a passion for raising up younger women in beauty school, I could never go back to being behind the chair. The fulfilment that comes from pouring into another womans life – helping to guide her to greater self worth – helping her to stand strong in her capabilities, is invigorating!

  • pastordt

    Beautifully said, Idelette. The 5K can’t happen for me this year (surgery just 5 days after it for this dang foot), but I’m headed over to read about it and see how else I can encourage. Thanks for being a dream-encourager as well as a champion dreamer yourself!