I’ve written about this before, and perhaps I’ll write about it again after tonight, but in the meantime, I would just like to say that I will not be hardened or toughened up or made to be less sensitive.
I’ve had my share of difficult relationships in my life. I’ve had my share of people who just don’t fit well with my soul. People who don’t treat me in a way I deserve to be treated.
Every now and again, I’ll be questioned about this.
Why do you let people bother you?
Why don’t you just ignore it?
Why do you let people’s feelings and actions and words make you feel bad?
And the answer is because that is who I am. I am not a tough person who can stand heaps of criticism. I’m not someone who can absorb abuse and move on. I’m not someone who can be surrounded with negativity and not let it affect me.
People affect me. The weather affects me. Music affects me. Words affect me.
I am open. And I am vulnerable. I am easily hurt. I am easily wounded. And I am easily moved to joy and by beauty and purity and simplicity and honesty.
We have a lot of people in this world with fences around themselves. They are sure of themselves. They are able to remain steady in the face of all sorts of storms. We see them frequently – they are the leaders, the first responders, the emergency personnel, the ones we turn to when we are unsure.
They are all over, and our world is safer and more orderly and efficient because of them. We desperately need them to survive. They are our protectors.
But there’s also another group of people. We aren’t necessarily out there on the front lines. We aren’t always speaking loudly. We are the ones who notice the little one in the corner who is too shy to speak to others. We are the ones who see the woman in the meeting whose eyes just look off, and we are the one she confides in. We are the ones who feel the tenderness in a moment, and we are the ones who take it in and absorb it and then we write or sing or draw or dance about it later.
The world needs people like us too. The world needs the easily broken because we are the ones who know how to put others back together. It needs people who have been wounded so we can share our pain with others. It needs our tears to wipe away a world of indifference.
So many people tell me to compartmentalize myself. They tell me to be open but not when it hurts. They tell me it’s okay to feel but not if it makes people uncomfortable. They tell me that sensitivity is a gift, but I should dishonor it by being around people who will use it to break me.
But I’ve learned to realize the error in that. When I face a place or a person that is filled with darkness, that darkness enters me and it damages my soul. And that’s not okay. That’s not acceptable.
If I want to be a light in this world, then I need to fill myself with sunshine.
So I’m not going to apologize for being what the world calls weak. Because I know something that the world doesn’t – people like me are needed.
We all are needed.