Anthem to my Thin Skin



I feel like we are all right now pretty exhausted and spent. I also believe that there are always unseen forces at play and that this election proved to be so completely unusual and unpredictable that transformation is afoot. That’s how it happens, often through upheaval and chaos.

I was inspired last week, via this election, to take a look at how we culturally value this concept of having a “thick skin”, like it’s up there with having a “good heart” or “clear mind”. I’ve found that bullies often like to use that phrase, when being aggressive. That the problem isn’t their behavior, it’s just that their target doesn’t have a thick enough skin to tolerate that which should not be tolerable.

Well, I disagree. I wrote this piece basically while in the tub last week, then leapt out to write it down. Elephant Journal liked it, so they published it last night. I found the timing interesting–as the election results rolled in, this piece rolled out.

I bet some of you can relate. Please let me know what you think.


An Anthem to My Thin Skin

(available to read online at Elephant Journal, click here )

I do not want that thick skin you seem to think I need, to live in this world of your slings and arrows.

I like my thin skin just fine.

It’s the skin I was born in—the skin that’s been burned to the bone lifetimes before you came into my life. Skin that has erupted past the layers of scars into a raw newness of power you can’t even imagine.

You think I’m delicate?

I’m the one behind the lines, absorbing all of this life—transmuting it so you can live in this free world, made freer by my sensitivity.

I am not running for president or chief or God of all Gods. I am running for the position of myself, which I intend to inhabit with all of my skins. My full warrior skin, my under-skin, my transfiguring, mutating skins far too complicated for your calloused mind to penetrate, yet.

I will be 57 years old in four days. I am mistaken for 35 because of my unwrinkled, smooth, vibrant and hard life-overcome, thin skin.

Keep your thick-skinned anthems to yourself while I bathe in rosewater and myrrh and feel my pores open wide to receive all of life. All of it, with the exception of your expectations. Your admonitions on me filter through my open epidermis and back out again, because I will not develop one single bruise for you.

My skin offers you no protection so stop trying. Stop the efforts to reclaim yourself through my vulnerability—it’s not what you think it is.

Me and my tender heart, we have things to do. We have a life to live that is informed, and made manifest through the thinness of my skin. Can’t you see my life force radiating through it? It’s right there before your eyes, calling to you.

Take your slings and arrows to the front lines where they belong. Hurl them toward your own kind and let them find their way back to your wounds that need only their piercing.

Take with you the backbone of my transparency, my blue veins visible, my flesh shallow and deep.

For when you return from the real battles, mine are the arms that will hold you, as you feel all of their pulses—yours and mine– so you can find your way home, in sync with me.