Vulnerability (+TED Talks).

Do you know the feeling of palpable emotions? When what you’re feeling hangs so thickly in the air you can almost touch it? Do you know the feeling of standing next to someone radiating that energy? Like standing next to a space heater or air conditioner, happy or sad respectively, invigorating or cooling down conversation? There’s one palpable feeling no one seems to talk about – vulnerability.

It’s not fear, not anger, not sadness, not hurt. It’s something else entirely. Vulnerability. Putting yourself out there for the other person to see, or to cloud up the air in a room by yourself with no one there. Not weakness, but hope. Being willing to fail and willing to succeed.

Just last night, I submitted an application. It’s the second I’ve submitted in the past two weeks, for two different programs. I dared myself to hit the “submit” button on the bottom of the Google Form. One deep breath, and click. It was in. No turning back. Now I wait.

I was ecstatic last night. Yes, I cheered, it’s done, it’s in! Off my chest right now! Gone! Poof! In, away! There goes the application, and now I wait. I was optimistic last night, and really happy. But this morning, I realized the feeling was something different. Perhaps it was like this all along, but I just realized it now.

I am happy. I’m really happy I submitted that application for that program. I am. But now comes the heavy feeling – I’m vulnerable now. I’m waiting. Waiting to hear for two applications, actually, about interviews and acceptances, which could come in a week or could come in two months. I just don’t know yet. The air in the room last night was happy – but it was also palpably vulnerable.


Anyways, wanted to put that out there. Plus, it made a decent (if emotionally charged) introduction to sharing what I was doing yesterday – TED Talks! Actually, I was knitting while listening to TED Talks (and one 99U one) on YouTube yesterday afternoon after classes. Some of them were okay. Some of them were amazing. I also brainstormed several people that TED should definitely have do talks. Notes and links below!

Brene Brown 99U talk
About why critics aren’t the ones who matter, and how to change your mindset. It’s worth just watching 6:47 to 9:00. By the nine minute mark I was practically jumping up and down yesterday. She’s awesome.
Susan Cain TED Talk
Introversion. I’m reading her book right now, and it’s absolutely incredible. This talk is so relatable personally. Uh, suitcase full of books, anyone? It’s awesome.
A couple good-but-not-great ones (they’re shorter, at least):
  • Tavi Gevinson, a teen whose site my mom sent me just the other day –
  • Cameron Russell, a supermodel, on why looks don’t matter –
  • Daniel Amen on synthesizing brain scans –

….And people who should definitely do TED Talks because I’d watch them a million times over:

  • Michio Kaku, that genius. Soooo glad we got to see him on video in class the other day talking about climate change. And I have The Future of the Mind quite high on my To-Read List.
  • Keith Devlin. He’s just incredible. Brilliant mathematician, and he has fantastic moving eyebrows. (This is not to sound creepy. I just latched onto loving them during the first couple video segments of his Introduction to Mathematical Thinking Coursera course.)
  • Adam Grant. By far the most applicable on this list and one of my favorite people in the world. I knew that I loved Susan Cain’s video when she mentioned him. Sociology at its finest. He keeps me enraptured, always.
  • Rebecca Skloot should do something about telling other people’s stories, or creative nonfiction, or balancing writing and science or just something. Love her.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert could do a cool one…
  • Richard Blais on playing with your food.
  • Atul Gawande. Basically. He’s so… indescribably amazing.
  • Sheryl Sandberg because… just because. Because I want her to.

(Yes, I do agree that it’s kinda sad that there’s an imbalance of women. Three out of eight? Really? But these are who I thought of first, and yes, it does say a lot about role models in our society.)

Have a great day!



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