On criticism, then.
It happens, and while it generally happens in a constructive environment, it can sometimes happen amidst the public masses – shouting, pointing, laughing – and you can sometimes find it when you aren’t looking, and then you cry, at first. You go to the grocery for eggs and it follows, the criticism, the words, the sting. You hear it on the morning radio and you swallow it with your vitamin, and it stays in you, and it lives.
This will go on for a few days, and you’ll be softer, and your skin will be thinner, so you must take great care of yourself. You might declare tonight’s dinner a takeout night, or skip writing and go for a walk with your toddler, or treat yourself to an afternoon matinee.
Get off the computer.
Remind yourself that this is the world, that people hurt people, that we all play a part in the predator, the prey, the circle. We have all hurt. We have all been hurt. Sometimes the hurt is intentional, other times it is not. It will leave a scar either way.
Realize that we all have limitations, that this is human nature, that we are bound to offend or criticize, and that we all look much stronger than we are.
Here’s the choice:
We can harden ourselves to the choir and don thicker robes, or we can use our thin skin to feel something different. We can allow ourselves to feel scratched, and we can let it heal in time. We can gain a new perspective. We can agree, or disagree, and we can continue working within our limitations, just as before.
It is what it is. We cannot be all things to all people, and sometimes the choir calls for a song we cannot sing. Sometimes we do not know the words, or sometimes the rhythm feels off, and sometimes we cannot find our own harmony.
We all look much stronger than we are.
We all have a burden too big to carry.
And so, we share.
And we try.
And we keep humming, and we quiet to listen, to hear the refrain.
And we notice this: that underneath, we’re all just blood and bones and souls and voices, doing our best to sing what we know.