I remember within the first year of coming out, heartbroken for the second time, I told a former friend that I decided to stop dating.
She looked at me and told me I needed a thicker skin. That the queer community would eat me alive without one.
It felt like a gut punch.
Only a few minutes before the new year, I was reeling in a spell of unworthiness.
Was she right? Many tears and journal entries later, I emerged from the trance that somehow she knew better about what was right for me and my heart.
It took me a long time to figure out there was never anything wrong with me.
Years later, people are still trying to tell me to get a thicker skin. They say this is what good leadership looks like. And I’m happy to say it no longer feels like a punch to the gut. I no longer question if they know better. It definitely stirs up some feelings but now I just quietly walk away.
I don’t want a thicker skin. I like who I am. I like that I enjoy silence and that my heart is open to witness a beautiful flower blooming.
I like that my sensitivity acts as a finely honed navigation system that gives me important information about who to listen to and who to just walk away from.
Anyone who tells you to just get a thicker skin has no idea what a superpower having thin skin can be.
I no longer choose to have people in my life who would say these things to me—whether they are teachers, clients, friends or people I’ve met online—because trying to be anyone else other than myself is a loosing battle.
I have thin skin.
And it is beautiful.