Thick Skin Is Overrated

Thick skin is overrated
Armor is a weapon
Impervious to pain and pleasure alike
Not porous enough to receive love or love in return

My 18-month-old daughter doesn’t walk anywhere. She runs. Exclusively. And much faster than she should. She’s closer to the ground than most of those she passes on the sidewalks of New York City. But she’s also much less aware of cracks in the cement. She falls. A lot. I try to catch her. I fail. A lot. And when I do, her reaction is predictable: a howling, tearful blend of pain, sadness, and a dash of anger. I pick her up and hug her. Soon she insists that I set her down again. And before her feet hit the ground they’re already running in air.

Little girls (and boys) are naturally tough but not because they lack sensitivity. The opposite it true. When they run, they feel the wind in their pigtails, the world flying at them, and the thrill of the race in ways the rest of us have become desensitized to. They’re no less hurt by scrapes and bruises. But they know intuitively and experientially that the risk of pain is worth joy of truly living. So they cry, and they get up, and they take off again.

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