Prompted by some interesting messages from fans, I thought it right to share some ideas about just how hard it is for us humans to be VULNERABLE……
October 24, 2014
It’s always interesting to hear what fans have to say about the lone Bee Gee who stands for his brothers as well as their music, as he continues to march to his own drummer. I recently heard from a fan who said, “It must be so hard for Barry to let himself be vulnerable. He’s always been the center of attention and shielded by his brothers, but now he’s on his own.” I thought this was an interesting statement and had to admit that, yes, he always has been the center of attention. The handsome, tallest, lead vocalist—the older role model with the enigmatic smile, this Bee Gee with the strong vision and stubborn insistence on perfection and the sometimes big ego coupled with a sense of insecurity…(aren’t most performers like this?) This is Barry. Or is it?
Another fan wrote, “He’s always been the one who got the most attention and seemed invincible. I wonder if he was an egomaniac”. Geez, Louise, maybe the Saturday Night Fever era gave him a big head, but I think he was justified. Another message asked me, “Do you think Barry was ever hard to get along with because he always wanted his own way?” I have to say that I think as an artist Barry’s vision was what drove him, and he had the determination to get the music right, the recordings right, the performance right, and that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Many people write about how he has mellowed and become more vulnerable, and that’s where my thoughts are today.
Some people are thrust into vulnerability by force. That would be my university students who are required by their curriculums to take my Public Speaking or Advanced Public Speaking course. By choice, they wouldn’t stand in front of an audience and show themselves. It’s too scary, too risky. It requires being open for hurt, but along with that comes the chance for great joy. Being vulnerable means we might be stereotyped, or misunderstood or rejected.
What was so amazing to watch on the Mythology Tour was how Barry made the choice to let himself be more vulnerable than he has been in the past. I understand that as a famous performer he has often been guarded and less willing to share. This is part of protecting oneself, and it makes perfect sense to me. However, I watched this man let himself be vulnerable in front of thousands of people. I thought that his psyche must be fragile, especially after losing Robin so recently. However, I think Barry’s psyche is a part of his soul, and he is inherently a loving person so how could he not show pieces of his soul to the world through his music?
Barry showed his greatest strength by being vulnerable, and he kept at it as he performed in several exciting venues, expanding the world around him and engaging all of us in the process. I believe that vulnerability takes practice……and how lucky for all of us that he took the risk.