An Argument for Softening Up On People

Just because I’m tough doesn’t mean I’m not human

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Photo by freestocks.org via Unsplash

When I was kid, my friend down the street had a pomegranate tree in her backyard. It was one of many trees that made her backyard look totally out of place in Phoenix.

The biggest tree was in the middle of the yard and sturdy enough that we could climb up there after we grabbed some fruit off the pomegranate tree. It’d take a long time to get to the seeds.

If you’ve ever tried to open up a pomegranate you know it’s an incredibly frustating activity. It’s not easy. It’s like it has it’s own defensive mechanism against being consumed already built-in. It’s an odd fruit.

I’m not unlike a pomegranate.

A little rough on the outside and you really have no idea what to do with it. It takes a ton of work to get to the good stuff but once you do, I like to think it’s worth it.

I’ve done these things out of a fear that any sign of weakness will be used against me. Vulnerability is absolutely terrifying to me.

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Photo by Fabienne Hübener via Unsplash

As a result of all of this, I’m pretty tough. I can take a beating and not get damaged. What this has translated into more times than I desire is that some people feel no need to handle me with care.

I’m tough. I’m resilient. I can take it. I won’t mind if you drop me on the floor? Yes. Yes, I will. Please don’t do it.

“I’ll be fine.”

“I know. You’re a strong woman.”

I felt like my strength always allowed him to throw anything at me he could. He could treat me with insensitivity because I wasn’t going to totally lose it on him. It left me feeling like one of those inflatable punching toys you had as a kid. Just shove it over and it comes right back up.

My resiliency is not an opportunity for you to be an asshole.

The more sensitve people in the office were a different story. The sensitive ones get the care. Conversations are framed differently. Their feelings are considered. Words are carefully chosen. Us tough ones? Nope.

But, the tough ones require softness, too. We’re human. We may have worked long and hard to have a protective exterior but there’s a reason for that. What’s inside us is worth keeping whole and good. That beautiful, soft soul that we’re terrified you don’t see. That good stuff inside that gets smaller and smaller the tougher the exterior gets. It just invades.

We need care. We need softness. We need you to do the hard work to get to the seeds.

I saw a video of a guy who carved out five little lines in a pomegranate and it just fell right open and the seeds just kind of spilled out. This. This is the holy grail of human relationship for me. People with the inclination to let me fall open.

Written by

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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