Toughness is not required today. Please tell it to go home.
Everyone puts on this face at 9 A.M. sharp, you know? Crunched shark jaws, squinted tiger eyes. If you stay awhile, you can see it molding and shaping on eyebrows and foreheads and pursed lips as they stand in line for their morning cup of 95% recycled paper. This face says, "You won't touch me, and you won't see through me — I am opaque, I am unbreakable, I am unreadable."
People are afraid of their own vulnerability.
As if their human hands and toes were a sickness, a sin, something to sweep away.
Vulnerability is you at your most powerful.
It is your most important asset, the stardust that unites you, and you, and you, with him, and her, and she, and us.
Vulnerability was designed so that we could connect with our own kind, so that we can make communites, make art, make beauty, and in turn, make prosperity.
You're afraid of being seen — fully seen, not just acknowledged. I understand. You're afraid of sneezing with potato salad in your mouth, of taking the maximum 7 pairs of jeans into the dressing room and handing them all to the attendant on the way out, of eye contact that lasts past one-two-three Mississippi's. You're afraid of falling down freshly mopped floors and marble library steps and potholes, of talking on the phone with Some Big Somebody with a warbled morning voice, of a few grey strands that your grandmother left for you in her ashes.
Your vulnerability is what makes you human. Your ability to empathize with these words has already been written into your DNA. Your vulnerability is flawless by design.
Acting as if we are an Uncrushable Somebody Worth Something is a ritual we partake in when we feel conflicted, fearful of being taken advantage of, self-protecting. It is an act used to hide ourselves away, so that we can nurse our wounds in private.
You have been hurt in the past. You were hurt the day you were born, the day you walked, the day you endured the first shrapnels of abuse, the day that man ran a red light at the intersection, maybe yesterday, when you were hurt by a friend or a mother or a son.
Undoing the hurt starts with loosening our shark jaws and opening our tiger eyes; for resting in the opaque means hiding the light within.
Be brave, young thing.